Australia implements fire safety plan in wake of London’s Grenfell Tower tragedy

The government of New South Wales has implemented a 10-point fire safety plan in the wake of the Grenfell tower conflagration in June.

According to ABC Australia, more than 1,000 buildings have been identified by the NSW government as having potentially dangerous cladding.

The scheme aims to ensure unsafe building products are taken off the shelves, buildings with cladding are identified and that only people with the right skills and experience are able to certify buildings and sign off on fire safety.

The plan includes:

  1. A building product safety scheme that would prevent the use of dangerous products on buildings    
  2. The identification of buildings that might have aluminium or plastic cladding    
  3. Writing to the building managers or owners of those buildings to encourage them to inspect the cladding   
  4. Sending the Fire and Rescue service to all buildings on the list to gather information to prepare for a potential fire    
  5. The creation of a fire safety declaration that would require high-rise residential buildings to inform state and local governments as well as Fire and Rescue of their cladding type
  6. Reforms to toughen the regulation of building certifiers    
  7. Creating an industry-based accreditation scheme to ensure only skilled and experienced people can carry out fire safety inspections    
  8. Establishing a whole-of-government taskforce to coordinate and roll out the reforms    
  9. Instructing all government departments to audit their buildings and determine if they have aluminium cladding, with an initial focus on social housing
  10. Following up with local councils on correspondence they received in 2016 from the NSW Government after Melbourne’s Lacrosse Tower fire.    

Matt Kean, the minister for better regulation, said: "This package will protect consumers from building products that are inherently dangerous or that are being advertised for use in a way that makes them dangerous."

Read more about NSW fire safety here.

Image: Grenfell Tower still burning at 4.43am on 14 June 2017, London (Natalie Oxford/CC 4.0)

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