The court of law has laid a verdict which says that the Lacrosse Tower builder ‘LU Simon’ is not accountable for the use of flammable cladding that led to a fire in the Melbourne apartment building in 2014.
While the Victorian Civil and Administrative court earlier ordered the builder to pay apartment owners $5.75 million for the damages due to the fire accident, architect Elenberg Fraser, building surveyor Gardner Group and fire engineer Thomas Nicolas have been ordered to compensate the builder by paying an additional amount of $6.8 million for replacing the cladding.
Although the builder might have installed flammable cladding as against the Australian Building Code, yet it didn’t fail to take proper care in the construction of the mentioned Lacrosse Tower, says judge Ted Woodward.
As per the verdict given by the judge, Gardner Group is liable to pay 33% of the damages claimed, Elenberg Fraser 25 %, and Thomas Nicolas 39%. Jean-Francois Gubitta, whose cigarette caused the fire, will be accountable for 3% liability with no obligation laid on him.
However, it is next week when the Final orders will be handed out, post which the judgement can be appealed within a window of six-week period.
“This is a landmark decision with significant ramifications right across the building and construction sector,” says national president of the Australian Institute of Architects (AIA), Clare Cousins.
The centre has made the message very clear that ‘everyone is responsible’ to ensure safety.
Just like any industry, the building design and construction industry is continuously evolving and revolutionizing, both with respect to the processes as well as the materials used. And thus, it is the responsibility of all – the regulators, building practitioners as well as architects to keep pace with these changes.
“That’s why we have been calling for the registration and regulation of other building practitioners in the same way architects have been for decades. We will be carefully reviewing the implications of the VCAT decision for the architectural profession,” he says.