Reform still needed to ensure building safety

The Australian Institute of Architects’ Victorian Chapter is calling for a heightened focus on reform in the wake of the Spencer Street apartment building fire overnight.

Chapter President Amy Muir said building quality and safety must be a priority for the government.

‘It is extremely fortunate that last night’s fire at the Neo200 apartment block did not result in any serious injury or loss of life, and for this we are thankful,’ Ms Muir said.

‘As investigations continue into the cause of the fire and whether non-conforming building products played a role, this incident serves to highlight once again the pre-eminent importance of quality and safety in our built environment.

‘Last year we saw both the Shergold-Weir report, Building Confidence, and the Senate Economics References Committee inquiry into non-conforming building products put forward recommendations for reform.

‘While the Victorian Government has put in place some changes since Lacrosse, much more remains to be done if the community is to have confidence that the building and construction industry is properly regulated and compliance is appropriately enforced.

‘With state, territory and Commonwealth building ministers meeting on Friday, this most recent incident should provide greater impetus for more urgent action.

‘We will continue to campaign for reform to ensure that the government prioritises the quality and safety of our built environment.

‘Likewise, we will continue to push for meaningful change to the building procurement process to ensure that cost alone is not the sole consideration, rather long-term safety and quality are counted as key determinants in the decision making process.

‘It is imperative that we are building cities for people – not for short term gain but rather to provide sustainable and quality living environments for our growing population.’