Strata Fire Safety – Lessons from Melbourne’s Lacrosse Apartments

Fire safety is not something that can be ignored, be it a business or a residential property. A fire can be devastating, especially if fire safety rules are not taken into consideration. This is something that the Melbourne’s Lacrosse apartment complex residents and owners had to learn. The complex recently caught on fire. It was determined that the reason for the spread of the fire was due to illegal cladding that was installed on the exterior of the building.

The Lacrosse Apartment Fire

The fire occurred within Melbourne’s Dockland district in November. It started due to a discarded cigarette butt and the cladding material, which was illegal. The Building Authority found out that the cladding material that was used was Alucobest. This material is produced cheaply in China and failed to comply with the combustibility requirements in Australia.

The fire started on the sixth floor, but it crawled up the building like a snake. It reached the 21st floor. More than 500 residents had to leave their belongings behind and run for their lives. Everyone was evacuated in time, but the damage was done.

As a result of the fire the property value dropped. The Lacrosse apartment owners were facing more than $2 million in damage.

The government also concluded that it was up to the residents to replace the cladding. This will bring the building up to code. It should be noted that replacing the cladding will cost $20 million, meaning $40,000 per home.

It is clear that there is a problem with some of the living complexes in Australia that must be addressed. Fire safety compliance is as much an investment in one’s property as it is a measure that could save lives.

There are many steps that companies like Australian Strata Managements will have to take to ensure fire safety compliance to prevent tragic and expensive occurrences. It is not enough to consider possible emergencies. It is important to act and have an emergency plan set in place.

A Fire and Evacuation Plan and Evacuation Diagram needs to be done in accordance with Australian Standards AS3745 to ensure maximum safety.

Strata Fire Safety Compliance

The following are just some of the tasks that need to be implemented in a particular building or complex to ensure that it is up to code:


There should be a Copy of Certificate at the notice board or in the lobby. This certificate cannot be older than 12 months. It is there to notify those who visit the complex or live in it that the building is compliant.

Equipment Testing Fire safety

There should be an updated red document box on site. This red document box must have the testing documents for all fire safety equipment within the property. It is there to help testers and maintenance personnel ensure that the equipment is working properly. Someone in the building should have a key to the box. Some buildings keep these documents in a meter box, which is acceptable.

Evacuation Diagram

There should be an updated evacuation diagram in several areas of the building. The diagram is meant to inform all those in the property how to properly evacuate the property. There should be clear instructions to the nearest exits to help those within the building get away from a blaze as quickly as possible.

Of course, these are just a few of the building Strata Fire Safety changes that need to be implemented to make sure that a property is compliant. The price to pay for being ill-prepared is much too great, which makes being compliant a crucial goal.