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Claim: ’Third World’ materials used to build high-rise towers in Melbourne’s CBD

Jonathan Barnett, who worked on the US 9/11 terrorist attack investigation, said the lives of thousands of people could be at risk.

“I’m concerned by a lot of things,” said Mr Barnett, who is technical director for Red Fire Engineers.

“I’m currently doing an investigation into a building signed off by building surveyors that clearly doesn’t meet the Australian Building Code — and there are dozens of these buildings.

“This is a Third World problem and that is a sad comment about some of our buildings — we’re using some Third World materials in some of our new construction.”

Some of the apartment balconies destroyed in the Docklands fire.

Some of the apartment balconies destroyed in the Docklands fire.

UNSAFE BUILDING MATERIALS BEHIND DOCKLANDS FIRE

It comes as the Metropolitan Fire Brigade investigates a Docklands inferno, which had flames shoot up 20m on the building’s facade.

Mr Barnett, who has worked in the industry for 38 years, said if the material met the code then the fire would not have spread so rapidly.

The construction company, L U Simon Builders, refused to return calls for a second day.

The Herald Sun understands a product imported from China known as Alucobest — a cheaper brand of building panel not listed on the Government’s National Construction Code website — was used on the La Trobe St building. L U Simon had recently completed multimillion-dollar projects across the city.

The Fire Protection Association also voiced its concern saying it was likely other CBD buildings had taken shortcuts to save money.

Mr Barnett said Melbourne was lucky it had relatively few fires. “We haven’t had significant fire that’s killed people,” he said. “We got lucky. What happens during the next fire?”

The Docklands apartment inferno forced 300 city dwellers to evacuate to Etihad Stadium in November.

The MFB is still probing the incident, which caused about $5 million worth of damage.

MFB spokesman David Jarwood said: “The CSIRO is to do the testing of the materials used as exterior cladding. Until the results of that are known we can’t determine if there has been noncompliance.”

Source: http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/victoria/claim-third-world-materials-used-to-build-high-rise-towers-in-melbournes-cbd/story-fni0fit3-1227277284770


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