Update on Princess Alexandra Hospital Cladding

The Audit Taskforce has received results from the cladding tested at a University of Queensland laboratory. 

Minister for Housing and Public Works Mick de Brenni said the results confirm information we received which now means a more detailed test on a large section of the façade is necessary.

“We’ve removed around 80 square metres of cladding and sent it to a specialist facility in Victoria,” Mr de Brenni said.

“Meanwhile however preparations are being made for the potential replacement or rectification of cladding at the Princess Alexandra Hospital after results of an initial screening test on a section of cladding indicates the product is combustible.

“We’ve now engaged an independent fire engineer who will oversee the test and provide advice on any remedial work necessary to the building.

“We want to make sure we know how the cladding behaves in situ, when subjected to a real fire scenario.

“The façade testing involves reconstructing a section of the hospital under the supervision of a fire engineer.

“This further testing will make sure that we fully understand how to proceed with rectifying issues involving the PA’s cladding.

“All Queenslanders should have confidence in our high fire safety standards.

“We have some of the highest standards in the world, and a fire service that is second to none,” Mr de Brenni said.

Health Minister Cameron Dick said patient and staff safety at the PA Hospital remained the Government’s paramount consideration.

“The hospital remains safe,” Minister Dick said.

“The extra measures we put in place late last month in consultation with the Queensland Fire and Emergency Service were based on our acting with an abundance of caution in light of the concerns about the cladding.

“There are comprehensive emergency safety measures in place.

“The PA has more than 13,000 fire sprinklers and 6,000 fire detectors which are tested regularly, as well as well-practised fire response procedures.

“Local fire and emergency services work with our hospitals to ensure those plans are robust.

“We will also continue to have an increased security presence patrolling the building and an additional fire appliance at the nearby Annerley fire station until we understand the full nature of any risk that exists.

“The test results do not necessitate additional precautions. We have acted in anticipation of the results that have come back.

“I have been advised by the Queensland Fire and Emergency Service that there is no change to the fire safety and security profile at the PA.

“The Commissioner has assured me that the arrangements we put in place three weeks ago remain appropriate for the level of risk, which I should add the Commissioner advises is very low.

“We have established a high level-working group, chaired by the Director-General of Health, reporting to me on the options for remediation work at the PA.

“We need to take advice from the experts on the best way forward, and we will be guided by the further test results, the fire engineer’s report and other expert advice,” Minister Dick said.

“It may well be the case that we need to remove and replace the cladding, and we have begun contingency planning for that course of action.

“However, it has not been conclusively determined that this is what will happen. The actual remediation works undertaken will be informed by the fire engineer’s report from the next phase of testing that is now underway.

“There are other options, including the installation of fire suppression systems and also treatment of the cladding with a fire retardant.

“We will wait for the expert advice but I want to assure patients and staff at the PA, their families and the community that if the expert assessment identifies that the cladding needs to be removed, it will be,” Mr Dick said.