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Fire safety reforms to protect consumers 

4 August 2017

A 10-point safety plan has been put together by the NSW Government in response to London’s Grenfell Tower fire, to prohibit the sale and use of unsafe building products.

The package aims to take unsafe building products off the shelves, identify and notify buildings with cladding and have people with the necessary skills and experience certifying buildings and signing off on fire-safety.

Minister for Better Regulation Matt Kean said: “This package will protect consumers from building products that are inherently dangerous or that are being advertised for use in a way that makes them dangerous.”

Mr Kean added that where a dangerous product has been used, the legislation will allow for rectification orders as well as prosecution for people caught supplying, selling or using them.

What is included in the 10-point plan?

  1. A comprehensive building product safety scheme that would prevent the use of dangerous products on buildings
  2. Identifying buildings that might have aluminium or other cladding
  3. Writing to the building/strata managers or owners of those buildings to encourage them to inspect the cladding and installation of cladding, if it exists
  4. NSW Fire and Rescue visiting all buildings on the list, as part of a fire safety education program. This will allow them to gather information they need to prepare for a potential fire at that building, and provide additional information to building owners
  5. Creating a new fire safety declaration that will require high rise residential buildings to inform state and local governments as well as NSW Fire and Rescue if their building has cladding on it
  6. Expediting reforms to toughen up the regulation of building certifiers
  7. Reforms to create an industry based accreditation, that will ensure only skilled and experienced people can do fire safety inspections
  8. Establishing a whole of government taskforce that will coordinate and roll out the reforms
  9. Instructing all government departments to audit their buildings and determine if they have aluminium cladding, with an initial focus on social housing
  10. Writing to local councils to follow up on correspondence they received from the state government, after Melbourne’s Lacrosse Tower fire, in 2016.

Mr Kean said many of these elements were already underway, including the establishment of the taskforce.