Saturday, February 16, 2019

Cladding fire at Neo 200

As you can see in these photos, Neo 200 apartments aren't too bad. You only want to see so many photos but others of the residents' amenities are easy to find.








These are just my thoughts, with some knowledge of our own building's fire system.

There is flammable cladding on the exterior of the building. After the cladding Lacrosse fire at our own Docklands and the Grenfell Tower fire in London, many Victorian buildings were checked and many had flammable cladding. They were risk rated, and Neo 200 was given a medium risk rating. We are not allowed to know which buildings as there is a risk of arson attack.

Soon after the fire I heard one resident say she did not hear any fire alarm. Fire alarms so far as I know are confined to a few floors near where the alarm was triggered. This might need to be rethought in the light of cladding fires. Every floor above a fire should get a fire alarm in the case of flammable cladding.

Australia's building fire alarm and fire suppression standards are excellent. You can read about our own building's fire system here, which I wrote after the Grenfell Tower fire.

This Friday residents were supposed to able to return to their apartments in the Neo 200 building after two weeks. Not so, said City of Melbourne. Sunday at the earliest now. Ten apartments are not inhabitable and won't be perhaps for up to a year.

But what I read today disturbed me greatly. Our newspaper The Age suggested that Neo 200's smoke alarm system was degraded and had not been properly maintained.

If true, how can this be? High rise buildings surely need to have contracted fire prevention maintenance by professional companies. I have seen our buildings checklist when the fire system maintenance company visits. How could Neo 200's smoke alarm system be degraded and poorly maintained? I feel a loss of faith and trust in Australia as a whole and how things work here.

If you live in a high rise building, go the full pressure to find out about the safety of your building.

28 comments:

  1. How I wish that the 'elimation of red tape' and lack of proper scrutiny didn't put so many lives at risk.

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    1. EC, all in the name of prosperity and to keep our country moving. As I've said in the past, maybe we should all be a bit poorer, or the rich should pay more tax.

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  2. I think when politicians speak of eliminating red tape this really means deregulation and buildings are going up now without proper building standards. These include safety, environmental and disability access codes. Apart from that these tower blocks are usually fugly.

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    1. Chez, you are absolutely correct. Things are happening here that used to happen in third world countries, such as with the cracked apartment building in Sydney, where the specified size of steel was ignored and smaller steel was used. Yes, they often aren't attractive and our own building outside is no oil painting either.

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  3. Not only are developers greedy and insensitive capitalist bastards. Now you note that fire prevention maintenance is not up to standard as far as the professional companies are reporting, and are not being reported by the responsible state government departments!

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    1. Hels, truly disturbing. I really can't imagine how it goes wrong. The private fire service company that checks our building issues a list of what needs to be done, and is is subsequently checked. It should pretty well be an automatic process.

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  4. This is very frightening. We all saw footage of Grenfell Tower; even that tragedy doesn't seem to have wakened some people's consciences. I suppose it is like so many other situations - money is the biggest consideration, not people's lives.

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    1. Jenny, quite so. Money is at the end of the trail. That is why strong regulation and monitoring is required in these life threatening situations.

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  5. I'm even more determined now to never, ever live in a highrise apartment block. Two stories or less is enough for me.

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    1. River, yes, and from a second storey, you can always jump and perhaps break your leg, but survive.

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    2. The people upstairs have the awnings on downstairs windows and over the lobby entrances to jump onto if they need, then just slide on down to the ground, pretty safe really and once a year inspectors come around and check that everyone's smoke alarm is working.

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  6. Not sure how they rate residents here in my state of Idaho. But we have issue of affordably housing.
    Looks like nice place

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    1. Dora, the use of cheap and flammable cladding does make places more affordable, but risks people's lives.

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  7. Why clad in the first place? If a building was built to look 'attractive' externally, there'd be no need.

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    1. Cro, it will not surprise you to know it is cost and profit. Finishing off masonry to look nice costs.

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    2. But has to work out cheaper than rebuilding and payouts from insurance companies.

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  8. The ABC in Sydney has the same cladding, and is about to go into 18 months of renovations.

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    1. Jesus. One building down and so many still vulnerable.

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  9. Absolutely Andrew, you can be sure if it was moi, I would want to see details, many details 😀

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    1. Grace, I am wise because I know about high rise living. Not everyone does.

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  10. It is a disgrace. I don't understand why someone would produce flammable cladding. How does that make sense? Which building would want flammable cladding? Doing my underground posts I am now in the Grenfell area and am constantly reminded of the fire. The building has not been demolished but is completely wrapped in white plastic.

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    1. Marie, maybe it costs more to make non flammable cladding? Otherwise I like you am puzzled. That out countries allowed it to be imported is a disgrace. Apartment owners here are refusing to pay for remediation, as is the state government. It may well fall to our federal government to pay. You have a lot more local government owned buildings, where your local governments will have to pay.

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  11. I ditto the words of of Fun60...and others...what has happened and what will likely happen again is disgraceful, and very disturbing.

    So much that is going on at present is giving me the you-know-whats!

    Have a good week, Andrew. :)

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    1. Lee, I just hope it doesn't take a multiple death fire to get developers and or governments to stump up.

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  12. Oh my goodness! This is terrifying! Jack keeps saying I should go into a condo after he has died, but I am not so sure. Thinking a condo that is not attached might be best. I lived in an apartment complex with husband #1. One night there was a terrible fire in the building across from ours. I sat with Mandy on my dresser watching the building burn. It was a terrifyingly long night for us both. I think she was about 6 years old then.

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    1. Maribeth, I have much confidence that you will do exactly what you want to after Jack dies, condo or not.

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  13. Very terrifying, if you ask me. I lived on simply a six story building, on the 5th floor and we had no real fire safety. The elevator was the only way many disabled people could get up and or down and it was broken half the time. It was a big joke there. There were stairs, for the able, but no sprinklers. There was one fire while I was there, but thankfully extremely small, from a stove left on. Even so, firemen had to lug hoses up the stairs and damage from water was extensive to put out the smallest of fires.

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    1. Strayer, as are terribly obvious in New York, did your building have external stair fire escapes? I would think so. Not great for disabled people, but it is an easy place for their rescue.

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