Building surveyor suspended over flammable cladding on apartments
The complex’s cladding was so flammable residents were told to remove trees from the garden. (ABC News: James Oaten)
A building surveyor who approved some of Melbourne’s most dangerously clad apartments has had his licence suspended, after authorities found combustible materials on five multi-storey buildings.
- The building surveyor has 28 days to show why his registration should not be suspended indefinitely
- A Frankston apartment complex approved by the surveyor involved is wrapped in a highly combustible form of polystyrene
- The surveyor, Kamran Basiri, told the ABC he would appeal against the decision and denied he breached the law
The Victorian Building Authority (VBA) said the suspension was on “public interest grounds” and the building surveyor now had 28 days to respond to the notice.
“The VBA’s action will ensure this building surveyor cannot continue to sign off on non-compliant building work and jeopardise the safety of Victorians,” the VBA’s Mark Rossiter said in a statement.
The ABC has learned the building surveyor is Kamran Basiri from KZB Building Surveyors.
Mr Basiri signed off on an apartment complex in Frankston that is due to be one of Victoria’s first 15 apartments to undergo emergency rectification works after it was found with highly combustible polystyrene on the external walls.
At one stage, residents were told to remove any woodchip mulch and trees due to fears any fire in the garden could quickly engulf the block.
Residents in the complex are also dealing with a litany of other problems, including balcony collapses and water leaking.
Mould and even mushrooms have grown inside apartments, which residents blamed on poor drainage and constantly leaking pipes.
Separately, residents had complained that poor plumbing inside led to mushrooms growing out of the carpet. (ABC News: Supplied)
Resident Craig Fitch said apartment owners had been complaining to the VBA for years.
“It’s about time the Victorian Building Authority did something,” he said.
“They’ve been sitting on this for a long time.
“If the VBA were doing their job these guys wouldn’t be in the industry when our [apartment] was built.”
The ABC is aware of two apartments in Dandenong that Mr Basiri also signed off on.
The VBA’s disciplinary sanctions database shows Mr Basiri has in recent years been ordered to pay almost $60,000 in fines due to breaches of building regulations.
A highly combustible form of polystyrene was used to clad the Frankston building’s exterior. (ABC News: James Oaten)
Surveyor denies wrongdoing
Mr Basiri declined to give an interview but told the ABC he would “absolutely” be appealing against the decision and denied he had breached the state’s building laws.
“I don’t wish to participate in any news,” he said.
The Australian Institute of Building Surveyors said it welcomed disciplinary action against any building practitioner found in breach of the law.
The institute’s national vice-president, Wayne Liddy, said it appeared the VBA was undergoing a cultural change.
“We have been critical of the regulator in the past for a lack of responsiveness to poor-performing practitioners,” Mr Liddy said.
“We are enlightened to see the actions under the current regime. There’s a newfound optimism in the industry about a changing culture.”
The builder behind the Frankston project, Emad Farag, had his licence suspended in March after the Frankston apartments became the subject of “significant regulatory action” by the VBA.
At the time, Mr Farag told the ABC he planned to fight the suspension and blamed subcontractors for defects.