Illawarra hospitals' cladding systems under review

Wollongong Hospital's external cladding will be examined as part of a statewide audit of all public hospitals and health facilities. Picture: Adam McLean

Wollongong Hospital's external cladding will be examined as part of a statewide audit of all public hospitals and health facilities. Picture: Adam McLean

Wollongong Hospital’s facade will be inspected for potentially combustible cladding as part of a statewide review.

It’s part of an urgent audit of public hospitals and health facilities across NSW which began several weeks ago, and which has already uncovered potential issues at at least one hospital.

NSW health authorities reported on Sunday that an independent consultant had confirmed the cladding at Queanbeyan Hospital may be Alucobond PE, a potentially combustible form of aluminium cladding.

Combustible panels have been blamed for the fire that enveloped the Grenfell Tower in London in June, killing more than 80 people; and the blaze that raced up the Lacrosse building in Melbourne in 2014.

In June, a Health Infrastructure spokeswoman told the Mercury that the materials used for Wollongong Hospital’s redevelopment were Alpolic FR and Kingspan KS 1000MR, both fitted with an internal fire rated gyprock wall.

‘’Health Infrastructure can confirm that all cladding used on site as part of the Wollongong Hospital Illawarra Elective Surgical Services … redevelopment has been certified compliant to the Building Code of Australia,’’ she said.

This week an Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District spokeswoman confirmed that a review of external cladding systems was underway in all its buildings, as part of NSW Health’s review.

‘’Further, in accordance with the Building Code of Australia and Australian Standards, an independent fire audit is conducted on all local health district hospitals every four years,’’ she said. 

‘’This review is conducted against the building fire safety requirements and includes any renovations, additions or upgrading works.’’

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