Fire at Neo200 Spencer Street, Melbourne reignites apartment cladding concerns

Fire at Neo200 Spencer Street, Melbourne reignites apartment cladding concerns
Fire at Neo200 Spencer Street, Melbourne reignites apartment cladding concerns

A fire broke out in the Neo 200 building on Spencer Street at around 5am today.

The fire is believed to have started on the balcony of the 22nd floor, and then spread to the 29th.

Fire crews were first alerted at 5:43am and the incident was upgraded in severity after they thought the building to have combustible cladding.

The ABC reported 15 fire trucks, two ladder-platform trucks and 60 firefighters were used to extinguish the fire, which was brought under control at 6:49am.

The MFB suggested that the 41 storey, 371 residence tower had some cladding similar to the deadly Grenfell Tower in London which killed 72 when it caught ablaze in 2017.

The residents will need to find alternate accomodation after the Melbourne City Council's building surveyor issued an emergency order that states the building cannot be occupied for 48 hours.

A council inspection of the building has found the fire affected "essential safety measures" including the sprinkler system and fire alarms.

A Victorian Government audit after the Grenfell Tower disaster found flammable cladding posed a fire risk on 1,400 buildings around Melbourne.

Fire at Neo200 Spencer Street, Melbourne reignites apartment cladding concerns

The Neo200 apartment complex was found to be "fully compliant" with cladding standards in 2017, according to a 2017 tweet from the developer, Becton.

"While most of the building is not clad at all, where any cladding is used it is compliant with VBA [Victorian Building Authority] standards," Neo200 tweeted.

Premier Daniel Andrews said he would wait for an investigation into the fire before making comment on the role flammable cladding played in fuelling the blaze.

"On the issue of Spencer Street, let's get the facts," he told ABC Radio Melbourne.

The Age reported pieces of the building could be seen falling from the building on the corner of Spencer and Little Bourke streets.


Fire at Neo200 Spencer Street, Melbourne reignites apartment cladding concerns


(Source: twitter user @bekahjaynex)

This isn't the first time LU Simon who built the Neo 200 have been involved in a building fire.

The Lacrosse building, another built by them was devastated by fire in 2014.

MFB fire chief Dan Stephens said “My understanding is that the building is cladded with ACM — aluminium composite material, so the sort of cladding that was on the Grenfell Tower.”

Only roughly 150 people did evacuate the building, meaning many residents stayed behind leaving them at serious risk.

MFB Assistant Chief Fire Officer Trent Curtin said "It’s my understanding that occupants have taken some plastic and wrapped it around the smoke alarm so as to stop it from activating in case of cooking or other products of combustion in an apartment."

In 2017 they tweeted about the cladding being compliant with VBA standards.

Click to enlarge.

Fire at Neo200 Spencer Street, Melbourne reignites apartment cladding concerns

There are currently eight apartments available for rent in the 200 Spencer Street building, with rental prices ranging from $495 per week to $1,039 per week for one and two bedroom apartments.

One parking space is available for rent in the building at $60 per week

There were 13 sales in the building last year with prices ranging from $650,000 for 3406/200 Spencer Street at the peak. 

Down to the cheapest apartment sold last year 1012/200 Spencer Street, which went for $392,500.

The most recent $610,000 sale on the 28th floor had seen the two bedroom previously sell at $560,000 in 2010 and an initial $579,000 sale in 2008.

A tenth floor one bedroom unit sold late last year for $410,000, had sold on completion in 2008 for 283,000, and twice at 350,000 during the interim in 2010 and 2014.

There are currently three apartments currently listed for sale in the Neo 200 building.

1. 39/200 Spencer Street 

2. 4104/200 Spencer Street, Penthouse

3. 1810/200 Spencer Street

Neo200 is 41 storey building with 371 residential apartments, ground floor retail tenancies and entrances to both Spencer and Little Bourke Streets.

Designed by Hayball Architects, the building is distinguished by its yellow podium lights presenting to Spencer and Little Bourke Streets and its distinctive golden curvilinear foyer.

The building’s construction was completed in 2007 by LU Simon builders and was awarded the 2008 Master Builder Association’s – Excellence in Construction Award.

There was a small fire on New Year's Eve in 2015.

Jonathan Chancellor

Jonathan Chancellor

Jonathan Chancellor is one of Australia's most respected property journalists, having been at the top of the game since the early 1980s. Jonathan co-founded the property industry website Property Observer and has written for national and international publications.

Apartment Cladding Spencer Street

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