Isabella Ross

To the dismay of locals who recently entered into the apartment property market, cases of combustible cladding have been reported throughout the North Shore and its surrounds. The story broke recently that over 1400 buildings across the Sydney basin have been identified by Local Government Areas (LGA) to potentially contain combustible cladding. The LGA found that 30 buildings in Ku-ring-gai, 60 buildings in Willoughby, 10 buildings in Hornsby, 17 buildings in Ryde and 18 buildings in Mosman were at risk. Neighbouring council areas Lane Cove and Hunters Hill declined to disclose their figures.

Sydney Observer reached out to two local councils to see if combatting this particular issue is on the agenda for its councillors. A spokesperson from Willoughby City Council noted that a proactive investigation had taken place, and that the buildings were identified in collaboration with Fire and Rescue NSW and the Department of Planning and Environment.

“Following the investigation, eight buildings have been issued orders for cladding removal and replacement. The state government is investigating state-owned properties within the local government area such as hospitals and train stations.”

A similar sentiment was echoed by Ku-ring-gai Council’s spokesperson, stating that an audit was part of a “coherent and robust regulatory regime.”

“As a result, the government has written to building owners whom they consider may need to take some investigative action on their external wall cladding. These building owners have also been required to register their buildings with the NSW Government. Ku-ring-gai Council has adopted a standard condition of approval placed on appropriate development consents that specifically highlights the need for external walls of buildings and their attachments to comply with the National Construction Code.”

The wall cladding of concern is made from aluminium composite panels. The concern with aluminium panels is that the material has a higher susceptibility for rapid vertical spread of fire along multi-level complexes.


High-Rise Fire Safety Tips:

  • Make sure BBQs and heaters on balconies are at least a metre away from all objects. Turn off when not in use.
  • Never prop open fire doors or leave anything in fire stairs.
  • Know where the fire exits, fire stairs and firefighting equipment are located.
  • Make and practice an escape plan with your family. Decide on a safe meeting place outside and away from the building.
  • Extinguish cigarettes properly in a deep ashtray.