The flammable material cladding the Grenfell Tower could be Australia's new 'asbestos problem'

Fire still burns and smoke rises from the Grenfell Tower in London. Photo: Leon Neal/Getty Images.

The Grenfell Tower fire in London, which killed at least 17 people after the residential building caught alight, is now at the centre of a fire safety inquiry.

Despite experts in the UK repeatedly warning the British government about the building’s fire resistance, there has been no review into the issue.

Part of their concerns were to do with a flammable aluminium cladding with a polyethylene core which made up part of the structure.

This particular building material is also widespread in Australia, used in “thousands” of high-rise apartments and other buildings, Stephen Kip, an adjunct professor at Victoria University told The Guardian.

The material is also the same product which is blamed for fuelling tower fires in the United Arab Emirates, South Korea, the United States, and a fire in the Lacrosse building in Melbourne’s Docklands in 2014.

The highly flammable cladding has only been approved for use in Australia for interior use or in low-rise buildings, yet according to Kip it could affect tens of thousands of buildings — a scenario which he sees as similar to asbestos in its spread, cost and effort to remove.

The Guardian has more here.

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