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COVID-19 makes high-rise high-density living a dangerous anachronism

In Melbourne last Saturday nine public housing towers with 3,000 residents were shut down for at least five days, due to a large cluster of identified cases of COVID-19 within their walls. Since then, of course, the whole of Melbourne has been locked down for about six weeks. And this is a Melbourne burgeoning with high-rises. It seems a lifetime ago, but it is only about five months since the cruise ship, Diamond Princess, with identified cases of COVID-19 was unable to disembark in Yokohama, Japan. Her hapless passengers were confined to their cabins, in an attempt to prevent the spread of the virus aboard the ship and on land. Predictably however, the virus spread through the ship and by early March there were six casualties.

Fire, cladding & high-rise in Melbourne Australia - Nerrida Pohl interview

Australia's construction industry is corrupt, but protected by government. This has left building consumers in a terrible situation. A current scandal is that they are being forced to pay billions for builders' mistakes in a situation where no building over 3 stories is insured. This video is of an interview with Nerrida Pohl about the dangers of inflammable cladding on skyscrapers, using her own building as an example. The location affords views of similar problems on surrounding skyscrapers in South Yarra. It also illustrates the irony of having one's view built out, even when one lives in a skyscraper, as massive population growth an deregulation accelerate infilling and raise heights. Nerrida was a speaker at the Victorian Building Action Group AGM this year.

Thinking of buying an apartment in Australia?

Did you know that you cannot insure buildings over three stories high in Australia? On Sunday 16 June apartment owners and renters were locked out of a 122 unit apartment tower called Mascot Towers, in Sydney. Due to serious structural weaknesses, residents were rendered treeless like so many koalas, and with little more assistance. In Melbourne on Sunday 23 June, residents and shop owners in a 237 apartment building known as "Liberty Tower" were told to leave because the flooding had cut power throughout the building and damaged the lift. Apparently the water rose to 1.5m in some parts of the basement.

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