As Director of Building Control, over the last few months I have conducted a Statewide audit of commercial/public use buildings where Aluminium Composite Panel (ACP) has been used.
This audit responded to both the Lacrosse Building fire in Victoria and the recent tragedy that occurred as a result of the Grenfell Building Fire in England.
43 buildings were identified for assessment, and of those, 24 proceeded to a more detailed audit.
As a result of the audit process, I have concluded that 23 of those buildings been cleared, as:
• the amount of ACP was limited and would not aid the spread of fire;
• the ACP was used in conjunction with other fire safety features, such that the risk of fire spreading would be limited; or
• the use of the ACP was considered in developing a holistic fire safety system for the building.
The remaining building has been assessed as being of ongoing concern, and I have reached the conclusion that the type of ACP used, which has a polyethylene core (ACP PE), is non-compliant and requires rectification in the medium to long term.
The building of ongoing concern is the main building of the Launceston General Hospital, and specifically the cladding which has been applied as part of building work carried out over several years up until 2012.
I would like to emphasise that there is no immediate safety risk to patients or the public, given:
• the current state of the cladding, seals and joins;
• the installed fire safety aspects of the hospital;
• the fact that as a hospital the fire response is well understood and well practised; and
• that there is a high level response allocated to the Hospital by the Tasmanian Fire Service together with the risk mitigation strategies implemented by the Hospital.
Yesterday I shared my draft findings in relation to the Launceston General Hospital with the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and DHHS is now working to ensure the long term safety of the building by developing a plan to replace the ACP PE at the Hospital.
I would like to acknowledge the high level of cooperation of DHHS with all aspects of the audit, and the positive response to addressing the findings of the audit.
I am now finalising the audit report.
Dale Webster, Director of Building Control