Queensland stands up Audit Taskforce to conduct targeted investigations of buildings

The Palaszczuk Government has established an Audit Taskforce to conduct a targeted audit with a primary focus on buildings constructed between 1994 to 2004 using aluminium composite cladding, after a potentially non-conforming cladding product was found on the Princess Alexandra Hospital at Buranda.

Minister for Housing and Public Works Mick de Brenni said officers from Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES), Housing and Public Works (HPW), and the Queensland Building and Construction Commission (QBCC) inspected the hospital yesterday to take samples for testing.

“This week information was provided to me regarding the possibility of non-fire retardant cladding on a building at the PA Hospital,” Mr de Brenni said.

“Yesterday officers from the QBCC, QFES and HPW took samples of the cladding for testing. At this stage the status of the product is unknown and further samples are being removed for testing.

“Our advice is that the risk of any incident would be low and we have taken action to increase security around the building while the testing continues.”

QFES Commissioner Katarina Carroll assured Queenslanders that public buildings such as hospitals maintained strict fire safety standards.

“The PA Hospital has state of the art fire facilities with sprinklers, fire alarms and evacuation systems. These systems have been inspected by QFES officers and they are compliant,” Ms Carroll said.

“In addition to these systems, staff also receive training in what to do in the event of a fire. QFES is the fire safety advisor to the PA Hospital and other government buildings.

“In order to ensure the safety of the occupants and staff at the PA Hospital, additional measures have been put in place including around the clock monitoring and an elevated QFES response to any incident at the hospital.”

Minister for Health and Ambulance Services Cameron Dick said Queensland Health would work closely with the QBCC and the QFES to monitor the situation at the Princess Alexandra Hospital.

“We are taking every reasonable precaution, including additional security patrols at the hospital, until the results of further testing are known,” he said.

“Our priority as always is the safety of our patients, staff and visitors first and foremost, and then that of our buildings, equipment and property assets.

“People have every reason to be reassured that we are well equipped and well prepared to deal with the situation.

“Depending on the outcome of the testing, we will be guided by expert advice on what further action, if any, may be required.

“In the meantime, it is business as usual for the hospital,” Minister Dick said.

Audit Taskforce

Mr de Brenni said that the Audit Taskforce would begin examining buildings built from 1994 – 2004, focussing firstly on hospitals and aged care facilities, accommodation buildings, high occupancy public and private buildings and high rise office buildings.

“Queensland has a strong and robust system of fire safety and certification for our built environment, which has been successful in discovering and rectifying recent cases on non-conforming products.

“The Audit Taskforce will begin by examining buildings constructed when use of these products was relatively new.

“Fifteen officers from across QFES and QBCC will be assigned to the Taskforce, led by a senior officer from HPW.”

Information can be provided to the Audit Taskforce by contacting the QBCC on 139 333 or via the enquiries area on the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services website at www.qfes.qld.gov.au.