By Luke Voogt
Fears of flammable cladding in Simonds Stadium’s eastern stand have led the ground’s trust to launch an investigation this week.
The Indy recently received a tip-off from an industry source that the stand contained flammable cladding, which could put crowds at risk in the 6000-capacity building.
But the company that built the stand prior to its 2005 opening, Kane Constructions, refused to comment on the matter despite multiple Indy inquiries.
A spokesperson declined to reveal if the company had any knowledge of composite aluminium cladding or panels with a polyethylene (PE) core in the eastern stand.
“We will not be making a comment on this,” they told the Indy.
“This conversation is over.”
Authorities and Kardinia Park Stadium Trust, which owns the ground, this week declined to rule out that the stand contained flammable cladding.
But a trust spokesperson confirmed the organisation was conducting an investigation into the stand.
The tip-off came after ABC recently revealed that Australian suppliers knowingly sold highly-flammable aluminium composite cladding with a PE core.
This occurred more than a decade before similar cladding caused the deadly Grenfell tower fire in London which killed 80 people this year.
Planning and fire experts recently told ABC there may be more than 5000 buildings in Victoria containing similar cladding.
Fire engineer Tony Enright said ambiguous standards and poor enforcement had often led to a conflicts of interest between safety and economy.
“We have, if you will, a builder, a certifier and a fire engineer who are incentivised to reduce cost.
“The builder, because it’s going straight on to their bottom line; the certifier because they want repeat work from the builder; the fire engineer because they want repeat work from the certifier and the builder.”
The trust was investigating the stand with City Hall “who were (at the time) responsible for the stadium” and engineers that worked on the eastern stand, its spokesperson said.
The investigation would “determine whether or not aluminium-composite cladding or panels with a PE core were used in its construction,” they added.
A City Hall spokesperson referred the Indy to the Victorian Building Authority (VBA) for information on Simonds Stadium.
A VBA spokesperson said the authority had prioritised inspecting high-rise residential buildings in Melbourne due to safety concerns.
“To date, the VBA has not audited the use of cladding on Simonds Stadium or any other building in Geelong,” the spokesperson said.
“The VBA is currently working with the City of Port Phillip to audit another 63 buildings in that municipality.”
The trust recently participated in a state survey addressing combustible and non-combustible building materials across all government facilities built within the last 20 years, its spokesperson said.
“The Trust can confirm that all stands within the venue have been built in accordance with appropriate buildings code and Australian standards at the time of build.”