San to replace portion of building cladding found to be non-compliant

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The Clark Tower at Sydney Adventist Hospital.

Sydney Adventist Hospital is to replace a portion of cladding on one of its buildings, the Clark Tower, as it has been found to be non-compliant.

The cladding panels do not increase the risk of a fire starting but do have a low fire retardant rating.

"The audit results were completely unexpected by Sydney Adventist Hospital as the building had been certified as fully compliant prior to occupation in 2014."

The hospital has adopted additional interim fire safety measures to minimise any risk while remediation works are completed. The likelihood of a fire affecting the external surface of the building has been assessed as very low.

Unlike apartment buildings where, according to media reports, fires can spread from internal to external surfaces via openings such as windows and balconies or from activities on balconies to the external façade, the Clark Tower is a modern building with no balconies or windows that can be opened. In addition, the portion of cladding to be replaced commences well above ground level, at level 6 of the building.

The hospital has been working with the NSW Department of Planning, Industry & Environment, which has responsibility for all matters related to non-compliant cladding on the many hundreds of affected buildings throughout NSW. The NSW Ministry of Health has also been advised.

A detailed audit requested by the Department revealed that one of three cladding materials used on the Clark Tower would need to be replaced. The audit was conducted by independent experts who have also documented the required remediation.

“The audit results were completely unexpected by Sydney Adventist Hospital as the building had been certified as fully compliant prior to occupation in 2014,” said Adventist HealthCare CEO Brett Goods.

“The fact that many hundreds of other building owners including several hospitals are similarly affected was equally surprising.

“As our paramount concern is always the safety of our patients and our staff we have welcomed the opportunity to work with the authorities to plan and expedite the remediation works.

“The remediation works, which include securing supply of the approved replacement material, are due to commence in November 2019.”

The Clark Tower has state-of-the-art fire prevention, detection, containment and fire-fighting equipment. Fire and Rescue NSW has established precautionary rapid-response plans for buildings affected across NSW.

The remediation works will be completed without interruption to the delivery of quality health care.