Skyscrapers, Fire and the City: Building Regulation in Late Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Century Sydney

13 Pages Posted: 5 Nov 2011  

Alex Roberts

The University of Sydney Law School

Pat O'Malley

The University of Sydney Law School

Abstract

In the late 19th and early 20th century, advances in building technology and design coupled with rising urban land values meant that high rise buildings became an attractive proposition in the CBD. In Sydney, however, inadequate building regulation and poor enforcement even of these standards played a major role in limiting the height of buildings. Firefighters, architects and fire insurers all argued that it was too dangerous to allow buildings to exceed the reach of current fire fighting technologies, especially in light of the paucity of fire prevention and building material regulation. For such reasons, Sydney became a city that spread outward rather then upward.

Keywords: Fire, Insurance, Building regulations, Prevention, Risk

JEL Classification: K10, K30, K32

Suggested Citation

Roberts, Alex and O'Malley, Pat, Skyscrapers, Fire and the City: Building Regulation in Late Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Century Sydney. Sydney Law School Research Paper No. 11/83. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1954213

Alex Roberts

The University of Sydney Law School ( email )

New Law Building, F10
The University of Sydney
Sydney, NSW 2006
Australia

Pat O'Malley (Contact Author)

The University of Sydney Law School ( email )

New Law Building, F10
The University of Sydney
Sydney, NSW 2006
Australia

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