No buildings in Auckland like Grenfell Tower, council says

There are no buildings in Auckland like Grenfell Tower, which burned down in London last year, a member of Auckland Council has confirmed. 

"We can confirm that we have no buildings like Grenfell Tower in Auckland," Ian McCormick, Auckland Council's general manager of building consents told The AM Show on Wednesday. 

Auckland Council said on Tuesday 25 buildings in Auckland have the exterior aluminium composite claddings the same as London's Grenfell Tower, where 72 people were killed when a fire broke out on June 14, 2017. 

In a statement Auckland Council said the over 300 commercial and residential buildings were reviewed and 116 were found to have aluminium composite panels (ACP). Of those 116 buildings 25 were found to use ACP with polyethylene, the same kind as Grenfell Tower.

Waitakere Stadium, some Auckland Hospital buildings, Spark's headquarters on Victoria St, and the University of Auckland's Owen Glenn Building have appeared on the list.

But Mr McCormick says there are no buildings in Auckland that have a single means of escape without sprinklers like Grenfell Tower had. The city also doesn't host any buildings that "keep people in place during fires unless we have a building with a very high level of fire safety," Mr McCormick said. 

Despite some buildings in Auckland having similar cladding material to Grenfell Tower, Mr McCormick says "none of these buildings are dangerous". In some cases, only a small amount of the material has been used in Auckland buildings that's similar Grenfell Tower, he said. 

Asked whether aluminium composite panels should be taken off the market in New Zealand, Mr McCormick said in some cases it can be a suitable product, but if you're thinking of cladding your building with it "you'll have a lot of trouble getting council consent".

"It's still a cladding system that we comply with in the building code for a building that's [less than] 10 metres," he said. 

Mr McCormick said it's important to remember that a lot of cladding system materials can be combustible. Some houses in Auckland are clad in timber that's coated with oil-based paint which is highly flammable.