Call for council review of high-rise fire safety for new buildings

Review: A Wollongong councillor has called for a review of fire risk in new buildings after the Grenfell Tower disaster. Picture: Robert Peet.
Review: A Wollongong councillor has called for a review of fire risk in new buildings after the Grenfell Tower disaster. Picture: Robert Peet.

London’s Grenfell Tower fire disaster has prompted Wollongong councillor Jill Merrin to call for a review into the fire safety of newly built multi-storey buildings.

In a notice of motion to next week’s council meeting, Cr Merrin will urge her colleagues to support an investigation report into “all relevant buildings in Wollongong”.

The London public housing tower was destroyed in a horrific fire last month, which now has a death toll of more than 80 people and has been blamed on multiple fire safety failings.

Primary among these was the type of aluminium composite cladding used to renovate the tower, which was not fire safe and allowed flames to quickly plume up the 24-storey building before firefighters could contain the blaze.

The same type of material has been used widely in Australia, authorities say, and in 2014, a fire ripped through a 23-storey Melbourne building, which turned out to be covered in non-compliant external cladding.

Cr Merrin hopes to urge Wollongong council to review the types of cladding material used on buildings across the city, and look into various levels of fire risk at different apartment blocks.

She also said the council should review the fire safety measures in place for different buildings and how they comply.

“Wollongong has experienced a large number of multi-storey developments in recent years,” she said, in her motion. “We need to investigate and address the fire risk of buldings as a matter of urgency, to ensure the safety of our residents.”

Cr Merrin said the council should look at regulatory measures for “all old and new multi-storey buildings”.