Cladding hysteria

The peak body representing Australia’s insulated building panel industry says the hysteria surrounding building cladding needs to stop so solutions can be found for the real causes of fires in high-rise buildings.

The Insulated Panel Council Australasia (IPCA) says we can start by examining all products that go into building construction.

“The national discussion on preventing building fires should not be limited to cladding alone,” said IPCA chief executive officer Ron Lawson.

“There are many products and materials that are used in building construction, yet recent media attention has been focused solely on cladding.”

He said it is too easy to paint cladding as the villain.

“It’s convenient to make sweeping generalisations that external cladding spreads flames on building exteriors so therefore it must be to blame.

“Cladding does not cause fires. London’s Grenfell blaze in June was caused by an electrical fault, while cigarette butts being thrown into a potted plant caused the Torch Tower fire in Dubai in August.”

Mr Lawson said every product that goes into building construction, interior and exterior, should be examined and that’s where experts can factor in.

He said specialists could determine materials that are suitable for buildings and those that are not, and their findings could be written into updated building codes.