The opposition Green Party has warned that some buildings in Lusaka such as the Energy Regulation Board Headquarters, National Prosecutions Authority and the refurbished Society House are potential fire hazards.
Green Party President Peter Sinkamba has since advised the National Council for Construction to investigate the Aluminium Composite Rainscreen Cladding which he said is being used in constructing such structures.
“As the Green Party, we believe Zambia lacks capability to quench such fires. So, the best way out is to take precautionary measures now instead of waiting for a fire disaster to occur. The Zambia Construction Council should move in to test the susceptibility of the cladding to fires and possibly ban use of such materials, if found risky,” he said.
“We believe that with poor firefighting capabilities in all cities across the country, it is high time that the National Construction Council rethinks use of aluminium composite rainscreen cladding which is used in part to improve the appearance of the buildings.”
Mr Sinkamba said the Ministry of Justice, National Prosecution Authority, Energy Regulation Board Head Office, the refurbished Society House, are among several buildings in Lusaka and elsewhere in the country where aluminium composite rainscreen cladding has been used to improve the appearance of building.
“The Grenfell Tower fire disaster, which swept through a 24-storey, 67m high tower block flats in North Kensington, west London, and resulted in at least 79 fatalities and over 70 injuries On 14 June, 2017, must be an eye opener for Zambian construction authorities,” he warned.
He said external cladding was cited as a possible cause of the rapid spread of the Grenfell Tower fire adding that experts said the gap between the cladding and the insulation worked like a chimney to spread the fire.
“The cladding could be seen burning and melting, causing additional speculation that it was not made of fire-resistant material. The cladding went up in flames like matches,” he said.