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“Lacrosse” decision on ACPs

by Andrew Downie

Introduction On 28 February 2019, Woodward J, a judge of the County Court of Victoria and the Vice President of the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal published reasons for decision in the matter of Owners Corporation No 1 of PS613436T v LU Simon Builders Pty Ltd,1 otherwise known as “Lacrosse”.

Lacrosse is the name of a 21-storey building at 673–675 La Trobe Street, Docklands in Victoria. On 24 November 2014, a fire started on the balcony of apartment 805 of the Lacrosse building and rapidly spread up the face of the building to the roof. The fire was found by the judge to have been started by Mr Gubitta, a resident in apartment 805, who attempted to extinguish his cigarette in a plastic food container on a timber topped table on the apartment’s balcony. The face of the building was clad with aluminium composite panels (ACPs), specifically a product known as Alucobest. The judge found that the spread of the fire was caused by Mr Gubitta’s failed attempt at extinguishing his cigarette and the ACPs. The proceeding concerned responsibility for the fire, in particular, the selection and installation of the ACPs.

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