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Flammable cladding found at old people’s home

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Combustible building cladding has been discovered on an aged care facility in Melbourne.

The Victorian Building Association (VBA) is carrying out an audit of 170 buildings after a major fire at the Lacrosse apartments in the city’s Docklands in November.

The blaze spread rapidly, in part due to the use of a non-compliant cladding that was imported from China and not tested to Australian standards.

Now the audit has found combustible cladding at the Royal Freemasons property in Prahran.

The VBA has referred the issue to the Municipal Building Surveyor, who has determined the building is safe to occupy.

A City of Melbourne spokesman told the surveyor came to this conclusion because the building has a sprinkler system, while other essential safety measures are being maintained.

He says the cladding is present in residential areas, but the potential for a fire to start is minimal “due to the environment and location of the cladding”.

However, Fire Protection Association Australia CEO Scott Williams told he is uncomfortable with the assertion the building is safe.

“We are concerned about combustible cladding on any building,” he said. “Once you start adding vulnerable sectors of the community, there is a higher level of risk.

“We are deeply concerned with the language being used and we fear it could lead to complacency.”

Mr Williams notes the Lacrosse building has also been declared safe to occupy, despite the significant fire that occurred.