Most recently, Grenfell Tower, a 24-storey apartment block in London, UK, was completely gutted following a fire that is believed to have spread from the fourth floor to the upper storeys over the course of just a few hours due to the type of cladding used on its exterior. So far, 30 people have been confirmed to have died in the fire, with a further 49 missing, presumed dead.
Speaking to the Weekend Australian, Chris Dyce, New South Wales president of the Australian Society of Building Consultants, explained that the tragic incident in London highlighted the dangers associated with certain types of cladding and that property developers in the country should avoid using plastic-based aluminium composite cladding on their buildings.
This form of cladding is often favoured due to its energy efficiency, cost-effectiveness and aesthetics, but it is not necessarily compliant with fire and safety regulations.
Although it is not yet confirmed what type of cladding was used on Grenfell Tower, the incident is set to have a knock-on effect on the property renovation industry around the world, which Mr Dyce warned could have an impact on house prices in Australia.
"This is going to extend beyond an issue of personal safety and affect the whole property market," Mr Dyce stated.
"For example, to scaffold a 24-storey tower, take off the panels and reclad it, you are talking serious money."
He added that he believes as many as 2,700 buildings in Sydney alone may have been clad with flammable materials, so urgent action is needed in order to reassure residents of their safety, which may include further renovation work. What's more, up to half of new apartment buildings in Melbourne constructed over the past ten years do not comply with safe cladding rules.