Australia's New South Wales to inspect towers with cladding after London's Grenfell Tower fire

A general view shows the Grenfell Tower, which was destroyed in a fatal fire, in London on July 15, 2017.
A general view shows the Grenfell Tower, which was destroyed in a fatal fire, in London on July 15, 2017.PHOTO: REUTERS

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Australia's New South Wales (NSW) government will inspect more than 1,000 residential and commercial towers that may have potentially unsafe cladding and introduce new fire safety reforms to avoid a deadly inferno such as the Grenfell Tower fire in London.

The government conducted an audit sample of more than 170,000 buildings built since the 1980s and found that 1,011 of them had cladding that may be potentially unsafe and need further inspection, NSW Minister for Innovation and Better Regulation Matt Kean said on Friday.

Keen was unable to say if any of the cladding was the same as that made by Arconic Inc that was used on the Grenfell Tower. The fire there killed at least 80 people, though the full death toll may not be known until next year.

The NSW state government will use the findings from the audit to introduce fire safety reforms, Kean said on Friday (July 28).

"Our priority is to put consumers first and keep them as safe as possible in their homes," Kean said. "We'll be hitting every aspect of the supply chain."

The government reforms include identifying buildings with aluminium or other cladding, inspections by firefighters of those buildings, and requiring high rise residential buildings to inform governments of the presence of cladding. The reforms would also create accreditation for fire safety inspections and make determinations if social housing has cladding.

The minister also said the government would introduce legislation to prosecute those found guilty of supplying, installing or selling unsafe cladding.

The proposed reforms also include fair trading powers to remove unsafe building products from the marketplace, a spokeswoman for the minister said.