18 Nov 2017

Revealed: Five Auckland high-rises found to have combustible cladding

1:38 pm on 18 November 2017

Five high-rise buildings in Auckland have been identified as having combustible aluminium composite panels but there is no "immediate concern for occupants' safety, Auckland Council says.

Cladding made from aluminium composite panels with a polyethylene core were suspected to be behind the rapid spread of the Grenfell Tower fire that killed 71 people in June.

Ratepayers will be uneasy about the council's hefty valuations

Five high-rise buildings in Auckland have been identified as having combustible aluminium composite panels. File photo Photo: Pixabay

The council says a dedicated team has identified 209 potential high-rise buildings as having the material, and has so far checked 75 percent of them.

"We have finished the assessment of 157 of those buildings, and have not identified any building that would be considered dangerous due to ACP cladding or warrant immediate corrective action," Auckland Council Building Consents General Manager Ian McCormick said.

The council found 105 buildings did not use the cladding, while 24 buildings used a less combustible type.

In 23 cases the council could not determine what kind of material was used, but found that those building had fire safety features installed in them, such as sprinklers and pressurised stairwells, to minimise any risk.

"While some of the assessed buildings may not comply with the current Building Code, Auckland Council considers that a combination of fire prevention measures, fire safety systems, the extent of ACP coverage, and a lack of unprotected openings do not cause immediate concern for occupants' safety," Mr McCormick said.

Wellington City Council identified 60 buildings that used aluminium composite cladding but it was still investigating whether those panels were flammable or fireproof.

Christchurch City Council said seven non-residential buildings identified as having the cladding were being reviewed.

Five months on from the Grenfell fire, New Zealand authorities were still waiting for a report back on whether aluminium composite panels had been properly tested and certified in this country.

RNZ News understood about 40 cladding systems certified by CodeMark were being looked at by the Joint Accreditation System of Australia and New Zealand (JAS-ANZ).

This was in addition to the checks that major metro councils in this country were doing.

JAS-ANZ had already done a preliminary report for the Australian Building Codes Board, but a report judging the fire safety of cladding systems up against the New Zealand Building Code was not ready yet.

"There is no timeframe to receive the report, as it's an important audit that needs to be conducted thoroughly," the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment said.

A CodeMark certification means a product or design must be approved by a local council when it is signing off buildings.

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