Facade upgrades are underway at the New Law Building Annex. The facade was identified as containing aluminium composite panels (ACP), a combustible material which poses a serious fire risk. ACP was banned in NSW in 2018 after the fatal Grenfell Tower fire in London.
On September 1 2020, the NSW Department of Planning issued a fire safety order to the University, requiring that the facade be removed. This project follows the successful removal of ACP from the Abercrombie Student Accommodation building earlier this year and will precede similar work on the Nepean Clinical School.
“The safety of our students and staff is always our highest priority and we have put interim fire measures in place for every building where we will be replacing the cladding.” A University of Sydney spokesperson told Honi Soit.
The works have already stripped bare much of the New Law Building Annex’s facade, with its metal frame now open to the elements.
Wooden construction fences have been erected to prevent students from entering areas where there might be falling debris and a number of instructional posters have been plastered across them. The project, currently being undertaken by Australian construction company Growthbuilt, will be operational from 7am to 5pm Monday to Saturday, with no work on Sundays. On the site’s “General Safety Rules”, unsafe behaviour such as “bullying” and “pranks” are strictly prohibited. A surprising lack of faith in the students of USyd.
Sadly, Taste Baguette has almost certainly been impacted by the construction, with the very same construction fences obscuring the glass walls of their premises. Signs indicating that the well loved cafe remained open were dotted around, but their size was woefully small.
On inspection from the author of this article, a number of things could be spied through the fence gaps and glass walls. Skip bins currently litter the interior construction site and a cherry picker lays dormant and waiting. Curiously, there was a sign directing employees to a spill kit station. This would suggest the presence of dangerous chemicals, but it is uncertain what those chemicals might be (It should be noted that none of the editors of Honi Soit are familiar with this subject matter).
With the project forecasted to be completed in February 2022, students can surely be excited for the new facade in next year’s academic term.