Two Auckland high-rise buildings found to have combustible cladding as checks continue following London tragedy

The Auckland Council has found two high rise buildings which have combustible cladding of a type which may be similar to the material implicated in London's Grenfell Tower fire.

Auckland City Council says the buildings are being re-cladded but not for fire-related reasons Source: 1 NEWS

The council is, for the moment, refusing to disclose which buildings these are, but say both are going to be re-clad.

They say they will notify the public which buildings they are after residents of the buildings and body corporate have been made aware.

In a press conference this afternoon, Auckland Council Building Control general manager Ian McCormick said "aluminium composite panels are a little bit difficult to identify initially, but we now have a list of 21 buildings, of which two of these were identified as being at risk."

Mr McCormick says the council are satisfied that the 21 buildings identified as having aluminum composite panels (ACP) similar to those found on the Grenfell Tower in London, meet fire safety standards and comply with building code.

The difference between the buildings in Auckland and the Grenfell Tower he said, is the active and passive systems, including sprinkler and smoke detection systems.

"New Zealand has one of the best fire safety regulatory systems in the world, more sprinkler systems than any other country in the world, we should be very proud of our fire safety records in high rise buildings."

With that in mind Mr McCormick says there is no immediate risk to any high rise buildings in Auckland from ACP cladding, although he did warn better fire safety regarding the blocking of fire exits was still a concern. With many buildings propping open fire doors and blocking exterior exits with parked cars.

The move to examine the buildings by the Auckland Council comes after eleven high rise buildings in London have failed fire safety tests

London, Prime Minister Theresa May's office said 600 buildings in the country have "similar cladding" to that of Grenfell Tower in North Kensington, which was destroyed by the June 14 blaze.

The Department for Communities and Local Government later said that figure refers to buildings with all types of cladding and that not all of them necessarily have cladding made from the same aluminum composite material as Grenfell Tower. Landlords are being asked to check what the cladding on their buildings is made from.

The tests are being urgently conducted as authorities try to determine whether cladding contributed to the rapid spread of the Grenfell Tower blaze, which engulfed the 24-storey building in less than an hour. They still haven't said where and how the fire started.