Damaged SkyCity convention centre ruled out as venue for APEC

4:58 pm on 13 February 2020

SkyCity's chief executive has confirmed its convention centre won't be hosting the APEC summit next year - due to the damage done to its convention centre in October's fire.

Cordons around SkyCity remain as firefighters continue to monitor and investigate the damaged roof area where the blaze erupted.

Fire and water damage at the SkyCity convention centre is so significant it will delay the completion date for some time, Fletcher Construction says. Photo: RNZ / Amy Williams

The government will have to find alternative arrangements for the high-profile event, which involves a year of hosting events starting at the end of this year.

A series of events is planned for APEC culminating in a meeting of world leaders from 8-14 November 2021. About 10,000 people are expected to attend Leaders' Week.

SkyCity chief executive Graeme Stephens said the centre would not be ready in time.

"Realistically we can't host APEC. It's very disappointing as we were looking forward to putting that on for the country and although we are going to miss APEC I think it will be by a matter of months so my expectation is that early 2022 we can hope to be fully open."

Earlier today, Fletcher Construction said it was highly unlikely it would be able to complete the convention centre in time to host the APEC forum.

Significant damage to steel supporting the roof and a long wait for overseas products mean it is unlikely to be finished before 2022, Fletcher Construction chief executive Peter Reidy said.

Reidy has outlined the damage caused by the fire last October and said the company had always aimed to have the complex ready for APEC.

"We threw everything at this challenge and brought in ideas from across the industry. We have met with MFAT and it is clear that the APEC venue must be completed for the highest level of security reviews and clearances by mid-2021.

"The fire and water damage that we have found, and the long-lead product we need to source from overseas, makes completion by that date highly unlikely.

"We, like our client SkyCity, are disappointed that the damage the fire caused has made this challenge so difficult but we are working closely together and with insurers to deliver a world-class venue for New Zealand."

AM on wed 23 October

It took several days for firefighters to extinguish the fire at the SkyCity convention centre in Auckland. Photo: RNZ / Danielle Street

Major construction work on the centre, which was almost finished when the fire broke out in October, will get underway mid-year.

Reidy said the damage was significant.

"The fire has affected secondary steel that supports the roof and holds up key elements of equipment.

"Areas of the facade adjacent to the roof may need to be replaced. If this is the case, it will require a 12 to 14-month work programme by the specialist glass manufacturer who is in the United States."

Crews were still in clean-up mode at the venue and Reidy said preparation for construction was "complex".

"There has been extensive water damage throughout the building which, combined with the summer heat, has created conditions for mould. That requires the replacement of many of the services and fittings that were installed and has restricted normal access to the site."

Smoke from SkyCity convention centre fire in Auckland CBD

Water damage and summer heat have combined to create conditions for mould, Fletcher Construction says. Photo: RNZ / Danielle Street

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