13 high-rise buildings in Auckland are covered in flammable aluminium panelling, but Auckland Council does not foresee any “immediate safety concerns” for the tenants.

After the Grenfell Tower fire in London in 2017, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) requested all councils to identify buildings covered by the same flammable aluminum cladding panels in their respective regions.

Wellington found 103 buildings with aluminium composite panels (ACPs), but did not identify any unsafe buildings.

Figures presented by Auckland Council suggest that the high-rise building boom has compromised fire-safety standards because many do not comply with the Building Code.

Amongst 215 buildings in the city, 13 were clad in polyethylene-filled (PE) aluminium panels which are similar to those on Grenfell Tower; they increased the speed at which the fire was spread.

The 13 buildings are all high-rises that are over 25 metres tall. Whilst the council has not named them specifically, there is a mix of residential and commercial buildings.

Ian McCormick, general manager for building consents at Auckland Council said: “All buildings have been assessed by both our fire engineer and the fire engineer we commissioned to support us.”

“Having considered all these factors we are satisfied that there are no immediate safety concerns for the occupants.”

“In each case as part of our review we considered the performance of the cladding product holistically as part of the overall cladding system.”

“In many cases the use of ACP was limited and associated with building features that served to reduce any potential risk, such as sprinkler systems. In each case we have communicated this with building owners or the body corporate.”

A few of the buildings assessed “may not comply with the current building code”, McCormick said.

The council said that the MBIE will be offering additional guidance to the industry regarding fire compliance of cladding systems.

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