BRISBANE strata managers could be sleepwalking into a Grenfell type disaster unless experts take a close look at cladding on local buildings.
That was the warning from Lannock CEO Paul Morton as he gets ready to meet with the strata industry to talk about the potential for problems.
His company deals with financing strata loans and in the last few months he has warned strata owners across Australia of the dangers of a “she’ll be right attitude” on cladding risks.
Since the devastating Grenfell Tower fire claimed 71 lives in London last year which was believed to have been spread by the building’s exterior cladding, questions have been asked about if Australian buildings could be at risk.
The problem according to Mr Morton was that determining the type of cladding on a building was often much more complicated than checking up on some paperwork.
“Because of building companies going out of business and because of fraud you cannot rely on being able to find the documents you need,” Mr Morton said.
“The only real way of determining the type of cladding (on a building) is to do an invasive test.”
Not everyone in the strata industry was getting on the front foot, something he put down to the immediate financial cost.
But he warned that ignoring the problem was not only dangerous, but would also be costly if insures hike premiums due to the uncertainty over the type of cladding on a building.
“There is no point of view in getting angry at insurers increasing premiums, you need to prove you are innocent,” he said.
In many cases he said that scientifically testing a building’s cladding in a lab could be the only way to determine if a building’s exterior was not a significant fire risk.
“Clearly high rises are going to be a big problem but fire safety in general affects all strata buildings,” he said.
Lannock Strata Finance is hosting a public forum in Brisbane this afternoon with other strata industry leaders to discuss the fire safety problem this afternoon.
Panellists include president Strata Community Australia (QLD) Simon Barnard, associate fire engineer at Omnii Andrew Brennan and Jason Carlson from Grace Lawyers.
It goes from 5.30pm to 7.30pm at Rydges South Bank Brisbane at 9 Glenelg St in South Brisbane.