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“We need them to say, ‘There are these issues and unless you fix them we won’t insure you’. If the insurance industry wakes up and all of a sudden starts cancelling policies, then I think we will fix it.”

“If a building is built to comply with the code it is safe, it will stand up. “There are hundreds and thousands of buildings out there performing exactly as they are intended to perform. “We have very low rates of deaths and injuries in comparison with the rest of the world.” However, he says there are lessons to be learned from the Lacrosse blaze. “I don’t want to sound arrogant or complacent. There are a number of things we should do. We need to check the provisions within the code to make sure there is sufficient clarity. “Over the next four years we are also incrementally quantifying performance requirements that only have a narrative – those that describe the outcome but don’t give a numerical target.” The role of the insurance industry could be crucial, with the expert source saying insurers “must step up to the plate”. “We need them to say, ‘There are these issues and unless you fix them we won’t insure you,’” the source says. “If the insurance industry 42

A world of trouble It is not just Australia where flammable cladding is a burning issue. There have been a series of high-rise fires across the world attributed to the cladding materials, going back almost a decade. In 2007 the 41-storey Water Club tower in Atlantic City, United States, caught fire while under construction. An internal blaze on the third floor “spread vertically and rapidly” to the top of the building, which had an aluminium/polyethylene composite panel facade. Three years later the Wooshin Golden Suites, a 42storey residential building in South korea, was gutted after fire raced from the fourth floor to the top. Again, the fire spread through an aluminium composite panel facade. In 2012 the United Arab Emirates suffered three serious apartment block fires. A fire on the roof of Dubai’s 34-storey Tamweel Tower, spread down the exterior of the building’s composite panel facade. And the Saif Belhasa Building in Dubai was also hit

insuranceNEWS

– fire racing to the top of the 13-storey block after starting on the fourth floor. A blaze at the Al Tayer Tower in Sharjah was started by a discarded cigarette on a first-storey balcony that “contained cardboard boxes and plastics”, before racing up the metal composite cladding to the top of the 40storey building. Sound familiar? That same year seven people died in the Mermoz Tower in Roubaix, France (below), after fire spread to the top of the building in just a few minutes. The building had – surprise, surprise – an aluminium/polyethylene composite panel facade. And the reports keep coming in.

August/September 2015

In February this year Dubai’s Torch Tower (below) lived up to its name when a blaze spread – thanks to a composite panel facade – from the 52nd floor to the top of the 79-storey residential building.

Profile for Insurance News (the magazine)

AUG/SEP 2015 - Insurance News (the magazine)  

Why did Warren Buffett, a visionary investor with a famous instinct for business advantage, do a “hands-off” deal with IAG that he admits h...

AUG/SEP 2015 - Insurance News (the magazine)  

Why did Warren Buffett, a visionary investor with a famous instinct for business advantage, do a “hands-off” deal with IAG that he admits h...