But the news shows that the combustible cladding crisis in Australia is not confined to residential and commercial buildings and that the burden of replacing the potentially hazardous material is widespread. The three tendered packages for buildings at the eight schools have a total value of 11 million US dollars and work is scheduled to take place on different dates this year and next.
Melbourne Girls’ College ranked ninth in age comparison and University High ranked twelfth in median VCE scores last year. Both are included in two of three combustible siding construction kits advertised by the Victorian School Building Authority.
Publicly available tender documents indicate that other schools have been identified for redevelopment, including Port Phillip Specialist School, Wodonga Senior Secondary College, Officer Secondary College, Maribyrnong Secondary College, Hazel Glen College, and Hartwell Primary.
The Victoria Education Department declined to identify the five other schools slated for panel replacement – two more packages have yet to be launched – but said they had recently completed Richmond High and South Melbourne vertical schools Primary not included.
Victorian schools appear to be more affected by flammable cladding than those in other eastern states. The NSW government said none of their schools had a panel that needed to be replaced.
“The NSW Department of Education conducted a review of all NSW public schools last year and found that no schools had non-conforming cladding and that all school buildings were in compliance with Australian Building Acts,” said an Education Department spokesman.
Queensland said its non-compliant construction product testing task force found only one state school with siding to replace.
“At Ascot State School, a D-block building was identified with a small amount of aluminum composite panel (ACP) cladding on its upper east facade,” said the Department of Housing and Public Works.
“During the Easter break, work was done to remove the flammable cladding.”
When it was last updated in October, the Victorian Cladding Task Force said that 384 of 4,700 government-owned or inhabited buildings checked had potentially combustible linings, with 21 rated as high risk. This is separate from the 681 privately owned buildings across the state that have been found to have flammable cladding.
The NSW Cladding Task Force has identified 34 government buildings as affected by combustible cladding.
“Measures are currently underway, some of which have already been completed, to deal with the risk posed by cladding the buildings,” said a spokeswoman for the task force.
Public owners of Alucobond-clad buildings can join Australia’s first class action lawsuit against the suppliers of the combustible product, but must actively choose the class – as opposed to private building owners who are automatically included.
The spokesman said Victoria’s education department had not joined the course and had “no intention at this point” to attend.
The NSW Disguise Task Force was unable to comment on the class action lawsuit on behalf of the broader government, the spokeswoman said.