Following a deadly residential tower fire in London, Australian authorities have been told an audit of high-rise buildings with cladding is needed to ensure the material is fire-retardant.

While investigators say it is too early to determine the cause of the blaze in which at least 12 people died, residents have blamed new aluminium composite cladding – installed to make the building more energy efficient – for aiding the fire’s rapid spread.

“We need to have an audit of all high-rise buildings which have cladding to ensure that it’s fire-retardant, meets Australian standards or, if it’s not, it needs to be removed,” independent senator Nick Xenophon told Sky News on Thursday.

A Senate committee has been investigating the use of non-conforming building materials and is due to finalise a report by October.

Charred cladding remains after London’s Grenfell Tower block was destroyed by fire on Wednesday.Credit:AP

▪ Wood, metal, brick, vinyl, composite materials that can include aluminium, wood, blends of cement and recycled polystyrene, wheat/rice straw fibres.

▪ There is potential for fire to spread quickly upwards in a building if inappropriate products are used.

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▪ The panels consist of two aluminium faces and a core material such as polyethylene, a mineral-based material, or a combination of both.

▪ They may look similar on the outside, but their core materials may differ and affect their fire resistance.

▪ Panels with a higher proportion mineral core are considered to withstand fire better, but can still be considered combustible.

▪ The National Construction Code (NCC) requires buildings to have elements such as non▪combustible external walls to stop fire spreading.

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