Cladding Chaos

It’s happened – I’ve finally found an event related to construction and engineering insurance that’s worth writing a blog post about! It’s cause for celebration, because it’s not often that this happens. In fact, I can probably count the blogs on one hand. Construction and engineering is a niche area after all, especially for loss adjusting.

The topic, unfortunately, definitely doesn’t warrant the same level of enthusiasm. It’s all about cladding. For those who are unaware, it’s generally used to provide thermal insulation and weather resistance to buildings. It’s also sometimes used as a way of improving the outer appearance of buildings. After the recent Grenfell Tower disaster, Australian authorities have been auditing high-rise buildings to ensure any cladding used is fire-retardant.

Cladding

Image: pexels.com

According to an article from Insurance News, the auditing process has uncovered an offender – Brisbane’s major Princess Alexandra Hospital. The investigation process involved about eighty square meters of cladding being sent to a specialist testing facility in Victoria. The results? The cladding is combustible.

Now, combustible cladding covering any building is a scary thought, but a hospital is particularly alarming. The authorities insist the hospital is safe after following safety standards. But Fire Protection Association Australia CEO Scott Williams believes that the inquiry needs to look past the products and focus on “empowered regulators that are proactive and willing to act to ensure people and products come together to achieve compliant building outcomes.”

The audit will likely continue for some time, and each building that has its combustible cladding removed will make Australia a little bit safer. After all, you can’t put a price on safety.

Words by Skye Jamieson