Manningham is among several Melbourne councils who have been asked to identify apartment buildings with flammable cladding, particularly those less than 25 metres (up to 8 storeys) high where there is no legal requirement to install a sprinkler system. This follows inspections previously conducted by the VBA, which investigated 170 buildings in Melbourne for non-compliant cladding where 51% of those assessed were found to be non-compliant  Councils are to investigate the presence of aluminium cladding in apartment buildings, the same product that caused the Lacrosse apartment building to catch fire in 2014 and the recent London fire where at least eighty residents had perished in the inferno. 

Whole Building  Crumbling    Click to enlarge

The Combustible cladding on the Lacrosse high-rise apartment building will have to be removed from the building at the apartment owners expense after it was found that the cladding posed a “significant and unacceptable” risk to hundreds of residents. In January this year the Building Appeals Board again ordered the owners to remove the flammable cladding. It dismissed a bid by LU Simon Builders to keep the cladding and instead install more sprinklers, saying the equipment might fail  with “catastrophic” results. “The risk posed by the current cladding is so serious that it is necessary to have a building order which requires the owners to remedy the situation,” it found. This means the owners of the Lacrosse apartments could be left with an $8.6 million 


cladding replacement bill, on top of $6.5 million already spent to fix damage from a fire that tore up the 21-storey building in November 2014. The 328 apartment owners now have until July 2018 to remove the cladding.  A building appeals board spokesman said the determination was to allow “sufficient time for the Owners Corporation to engage builders” but the cladding removal should be commenced “at the earliest opportunity in 2017” which does not appear to have happened.   lacrosse-building-faq

More than 5,000 buildings in Victoria ‘may contain non-compliant cladding’

 Cladding removal Tram Road Doncaster

We are now told that the responsibility for the costs of cladding removal to comply with occupancy permits could rest with the owners of the apartments which is outrageous. What makes it all the more complicated is that owners who are mostly overseas investors who were looking for a safe place to invest some of their savings!! According to the ABC Four Corners program some of the so called experts/consultants are approving these dangerous building products despite their own misgivings for fear of not receiving repeat work.

Grenfell Fire Aftermath                      Click to Enlarge

Buildings with flammable cladding may be denied insurance as owners face ‘steep costs’

Everyone has someone else to point the finger at. The product of deregulation and self accreditation, this process of abrogation of responsibility where no one is responsible”.  

Apartment owners caught in blame game over cladding

To watch Four Corners Program click on link below and scroll down to COMBUSTIBLE 

Combustible – Four Corners  


  1. Anonyme says:

    The idea that non compliant highly flammable cladding can be off set by additional sprinklers was rejected by the Building Appeals Board. How could you set up sprinklers on the outside of a building where the fuel source is located? One square metre of this cladding is the same thing as having a tank containing 5 litres of petrol.

  2. Esme Jane says:

    It will cost each Lacrosse apartment owner somewhere between $26-$28,000 to have the cladding removed and presumably replaced. They will have to pay the penalty for the unsafe building material, which was approved by the authorities, that they knew nothing about when they purchased off the plan.
    There are several buildings in Manningham with this flammable cladding..are they to be removed or do we wait for another fire….or what?

  3. United says:

    The CFMEU and it’s members have been campaigning to ensure compliance with Australian Standards for imported products, just like Australian manufacturers must do. As for solutions the union and it’s members have a potential solution. 1. Establish and Agency or Commission charged with conformity, compliance assurance for imports. 2. Ensuring all pertinent Australian standards related to building and construction projects and materials are enforced on Australian projects. 3. Overhauling and strengthening the penalty regime for falsely and misleading claiming a product conforms to the requirements of Australian standards.

    • Ollie says:

      The measures you are suggesting should be in place now and for some unknown reason they are not. The union could do its own investigation and if the cladding is non compliant simply black ban the job. That would fix the problem immediately.

  4. Stuart Naismith says:

    Why stuff around with this dangerous cladding…instead of pussy footing around …ban it altogether!

    The developers of the Lacrosse Apartment building had appealed in January 2017, against the order to remove the flammable cladding, offering instead to install extra sprinklers to offset the danger, was dismissed by the Building Appeals Board who said the equipment might fail with “catastrophic” results…how true!

    Yet the VBA in their February 2016 review states:
    “It is important to note that “non-compliant” does not necessarily mean the building is unsafe to occupy. A number of safety features in buildings protect occupants from fire. If a building has external wall cladding that does not comply with the BCA, it may still be considered safe to occupy because of the presence of these other safety features, which may include automatic fire sprinkler systems and construction of internal walls to prevent the spread of fire and smoke within the building”.

  5. Carmen says:

    Our apartment building in Doncaster has Alucobond cladding which we are told is safe. But from what I have read it may not be. How do we find out whether it is compliant?.

    • Resteasy says:

      Retraction. You need to make further inquiries on this brand because according to four corners it does market the flammable (PE) cladding. Had the authorities moved on this material seven years ago when it was detected it could have been nipped in the bud. One school of thought is that our authorities turned a blind eye when local demand was negative, and they did not want to rock the boat.

  6. cardigan 202 says:

    I am not sure whether the the Manningham Council report would be made public until after the task force had assessed it but that is where I would start. You would surely have a right to know the name of the surveyor who should provide the information you require.

  7. Noholme says:

    Deregulation and self accreditation was a great idea to save double handling, to streamline the process and reduce costs but the catch was that it was reliant on the integrity of the experts unfortunately it has not worked due to the actions of a corrupt few.

  8. HDL says:

    Misery. It was not enough to produce the Ponzi apartments scheme to entrap overseas investors, we had to make them flammable as well ….well done Manningham!

  9. H Shillinglaw says:

    The flammable cladding scandal could well be the beginning of a shakeout in the high-rise sector that could lead to the revaluation of apartments across Australia as owners and banks realise the property they own, or hold as security, do not comply with the building code. The dilemma for lending authorities is whether to reduce their lending ratio or introduce a tougher lending criteria in terms of borrower equity, because either way it would not be in their best interests if these sorts of measures contributed to a sharp fall in apartment values. Another issue will be the attitude of insurance companies.

  10. Leeral says:

    The consultants/experts who endorsed this material should be held accountable for the cost of removal and the installation of approved cladding. We have to get these people out of the building industry.

  11. Ray and Denise says:

    Where is this all going?
    Apartment owners will quite rightly refuse to pay for the rectification of a non compliant cladding approved by the authorities. You can hardly litigate against the developers for following procedure, many of whom have set themselves up in way that would make litigation fruitless anyway.
    The authorities will not be held accountable so in the end it will be the taxpayer who will have to pay

  12. Auburn Apartment Owner says:

    A construction union wrote to the state government in 2015 about the use of unsafe cladding and were told the state government had not received complaints! How could they say that when the cladding on the Lacrosse apartment building caught fire in 2014. Government and Councils knew about the flammable cladding seven years ago but did not warn the public. Now they want to force, members of the public who own apartments in the Lacrosse building, who purchased off the plan in good faith, to pay to have the dodgy cladding removed and replaced.

  13. Lethal says:

    The four corners report does not mention the possibility of terrorism by arson.. A fanatic could easily set the the cladding alight in several places by way of a special device which would provide them enough time to leave the area. In the event it will be our experts who would be complicit by their inaction.

  14. Whispering Grass says:

    This could be the scandal of the century. Imagine how you would feel if your home was encased in thousands of gallons of petrol. That is equivalent to the situation facing many of the high rise apartment owners who are now told that the cladding on the outside of their building has made their home a potential death trap.

  15. Tomkin says:

    This despicable attempt by officials to have Lacrosse apartment owners pay for the replacement of noncompliant cladding will blow up in their faces when the matter goes before VCAT. It could result in a number of experts facing charges under the crimes act.
    The approval of this non compliant cladding could not have occurred without there being widespread cronyism, collusion and conflicts of interest in the industry.

  16. Tempura says:

    Why should the owners of the apartments have to pay for the replacement of this dangerous cladding which was approved by these so called experts? The motive is to keep the owners quiet, if they refuse to pay then they are the ones who are preventing the removal …. an easy way out for the consultants.
    The banks are not going to throw good money after bad by extending mortgages to cover the cost on what is now a very poor security. Once VCAT exempts the owners from having to pay then we will hear a lot more from their Body Corporates.

  17. Florida Mansions says:

    When regulations are well documented and can foresee problems, such as your Lacrosse building fire, people will see a lack of incidents, and then assume that the rules could be too severe might also be a sign that they have got it exactly right.

  18. Firebrand says:

    According to Edge Architectural Glazing, L U Simon, the builders who built the Lacrosse building in Docklands, have also built the Panorama Apartment building at 101 Tram Road, corner of Doncaster Road.
    I have asked two Manningham councillors in regard to whether the cladding used at the Panorama was the same as what was used on the Lacrosse building at Docklands, neither were able or wanted to help.

  19. Reg says:

    Mebourne City Council could be held responsible.

  20. Ward says:

    The bureaucrats and the experts have a problem because the owners and the builders are not going to pay for the removal of the dodgy flammable cladding they had approved. It has to be replaced so guess who will eventually have to pay?

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