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NZ buildings ‘could face cladding risk’

High-rise buildings in New Zealand could be exposed to the flammable cladding risk that has been highlighted in Australia and worldwide, the Insurance Council of New Zealand says.

CEO Tim Grafton told insuranceNEWS.com.au he “wouldn’t be surprised” if there are buildings across the country that pose a risk.

London’s Grenfell Tower fire in June, which killed at least 80 people, has led to an unprecedented international outcry about aluminium composite panels (ACP), which can contain a flammable core.

A fire at Melbourne’s Docklands in 2014 spread rapidly due to this form of cladding, although nobody was hurt, and just last week Dubai’s Torch Tower ignited for the second time.

Audits are being carried out across Australia, and Mr Grafton believes similar action may be required in New Zealand.

“More questions need to be asked,” he said. “There is no reason to think New Zealand would be immune.”

Auckland City Council has already identified 200 buildings that may feature ACP, but says those checked so far are not high risk.

“We have made good progress working through the list and have not identified any building that either raises immediate life safety concerns or that we would consider to be high risk,” the council’s GM Building Control Ian McCormick told insuranceNEWS.com.au.

“All of the high-rise buildings of any significance that we have identified contain sprinkler systems, as well as other fire safety features and are not considered to be an immediate safety concern for the occupants.”

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