Not only high rises clad in combustible cladding
For quite sometime I have been raising concerns at the use of extruded polystyrene paneling in homes and low rise residential units and flats. As an example here is a post from 2013.
I therefore read with interest an article from ABC news stating that there are hundreds of Australian homes covered in combustible cladding. My guess? The true number is in the thousands.
The key points from the article are:
- Removing the cladding is expensive, but there is no national funding scheme
- No loans have been granted so far through Victoria’s scheme, the only one of its type in the country
The process appears to be that a letter from the State Government turns up in the mail. It says your building is covered in high-risk combustible cladding and it needs to be removed immediately. That is the start of your nightmare. Of course, you would have a worse nightmare if your home caught fire.
The article rightly states that on top of the shock of learning your home is a serious potential risk to your life, you also face a fine of almost $400,000 if the cladding is not removed within three months.
In the example given, it explains that the owners in one building band together and seek out quotes to get the cladding removed and replaced. The quotes come back well in excess of $1 million, split between 18 unit owners, or in excess of $55,555 per owner.
Distraught, you look to finance options, but are wary of alerting your bank, for fear they will re-evaluate your home and change the terms of your loan.
Even the most drastic solution — selling up — is not realistically possible until the cladding is removed.
This material should never have been allowed. It is not only susceptible to fire but fails badly during a hail storm and without any building code to address the issue is prone to water leaks at the joins, particularly on internal corners.
All this seems so unfair. The purchases of the homes and units probably had no idea of the risk when they brought the property. It is the same with the flood issue.
So many families and small businesses are just being set up to fail. Of course like flood, it will be the insurers fault, I can see it coming that insurers will be made the scapegoat.