The Grenfell Fire

The Grenfell Tower fire in the UK has sent a shudder through Australia’s property industry.

The speed of the fire, its deadly consequence and the realisation that the loss of so many lives was avoidable is all so difficult to fathom.

It is simply incomprehensible that a building of such size did not have a sprinkler system, adequate emergency lighting or a building-wide fire alarm. It’s a situation that would quite rightly not be countenanced by Australian regulators.

We already have high building standards in Australia, but if there are lessons to learn from the UK then we should learn them.

Fire behaviour has a level of predictability. The interaction of heat, fuel and oxygen is the equation which determines the capacity of a fire to spread. Australia has high standards to retard the spread, as well as to warn all of the occupants of a building.

Nevertheless, as our cities get denser and our apartment buildings get higher, we must stay vigilant if we are to ensure that public safety and confidence in our fire safety standards remains high.

One area where we are working with government is non-compliant products. It’s in everyone’s interest to be sure that the materials specified for a project are what is delivered.

Where sensible improvements can be made to improve the flow and availability of information on compliance with building codes, the industry will back them in.