Less than 12 hours after we wound up the Q&A session at Sydney’s Mecca event on building façade fire safety, there was news of another residential skyscraper fire this time at the Sulafa Tower in the densely populated Marina district of Dubai. Once again facades are thought to be to blame for the fire and witnesses reported seeing: “pieces of the façade falling off and tumbling below”.
Melbourne’s residential apartment block fire at the Lacrosse building in 2014 proved that residential block fires are not just a third world problem. Since then changes to our National Code for Construction with regards to facades has required architects and builders to review past, current and future projects to ensure they are compliant. In some cases, this has required buildings to be re-cladded with non-combustible façade panels such as Vitracore G2 that comply to BCA Standard AS1530.1.
Wednesday night’s audience were provided with an understanding of how to conform to the new regulations for wall & cladding systems as well as the processes required to prove compliancy as explained by two of Australia’s leading experts: Jonathan Barnett of Red Fire Engineers and Ben Hughes-Brown of Certmark. They have been touring the country since Lacrosse to bring industry professionals up to speed on these changes.