The agenda for today's Building Ministers Forum (BMF) in Hobart is set to be hijacked by a long list of compliance problems that have hit the construction industry in recent weeks including the Opal Tower disaster in NSW and combustible cladding fuelled fires in Victoria.
It seems to be one debacle after another with every problem highlighting problems related to standards and compliance across the building industry.
Just yesterday the Fire Protection Association of Australia (FPA) called for national action renewing calls for the BMF to establish a new National Construction Code Implementation Taskforce (NCCIT).
FPA general manager of technical services, Matthew Wright, said that at the moment, every time Australians buy an apartment they are playing Russian roulette when it comes to compliance, even if that apartment is brand new.
“To stop that happening, we need the Shergold-Weir recommendations to be implemented consistently across the country,” he said.
“Industry has to be part of the compliance fix, and we’re pushing ahead in a range of areas. But to truly address this issue and deliver the buildings Australians deserve, government needs to be as dedicated to this as we are.”
Speaking on ABC Radio earlier this morning, Federal Industry Minister, Karen Andrews, said she will be calling on each state and territory to provide an update on the combustible cladding audits that were undertaken in the wake of London's Grenfell fire disaster in which 72 people died in 2017.
This includes an update on the implementation of rectification programs.
Andrews said the current situation is far from satisfactory and is indicative of systematic non-compliance in the building industry.
She also referenced the BMF-commissioned Shergold-Weir report, adding that she was keen to see these recommendations put in place.
Just this week there was a fire at the Neo200 building in Spencer Street, Melbourne, with firefighters confirming the building had cladding similar to the materals used at the Grenfell Tower.
Residents in the 36-storey Opal Tower apartment building in Sydney were evacuated on Christmas Eve after the discovery of deep cracks throughout the building.
An interim engineering assessment released this week indicates concrete panels cracked due to their manufacture and assembly deviating from the original design.
Though the building is structurally sound and in no danger of collapse, repairing the faults will be costly, slow and disruptive to residents.