Auckland Council says this city has "less than 100 buildings" clad with aluminium composite panels - a building material used on the Grenfell Tower block which burnt down last week in London.

In the wake of the fire Building and Construction Minister Nick Smith asked the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment "to contact councils and check whether any high-rise buildings have been constructed with these materials".

Ian McCormick, Auckland Council's building control general manager, said even though Auckland had buildings with aluminium composite panels (ACP), they were not necessarily dangerous.

"Following a survey and documentation review, we identified a number of buildings around the Auckland region that interested us and have found less than 100 that use ACP panels. This is across a range of building types and in some cases it is used as a small design feature, rather than cladding an entire building. This work is still ongoing," McCormick said.


The council had already taken action after Melbourne's Docklands fire two years ago, he said, and was not just reacting to the London fire and MBIE's call, he said.

Investigations were not complete and full findings might not be out for some months.

"In the wake of the Victorian State enquiry into the Lacrosse Apartments' fire in Melbourne, Auckland Council continues to re-examine its approach towards aluminium composite panels," McCormick said.

"To date we have found no evidence of inappropriate use of these products.
The events in London will continue to inform our work." he said.

Sean Marshall, managing director of building consultants Prendos in Auckland, said some high-rises in the city's CBD were clad in ACP and he was worried about "product substitution" where non-compliant panels might have been used.

"Aluminium composite panels are available in New Zealand and if you walk around Auckland CBD you can see many examples. This is not to say that they are non-compliant. We do not know," Marshall said.

Smith said rules were tightened seven months ago.

"New Zealand is less exposed to the risks of fire as a result of combustible claddings on high-rise buildings due to these products being restricted earlier this year," he said last week.


"The Government amended Building Code provisions in January this year to restrict the use of combustible cladding systems in buildings following fires in Melbourne and Dubai. I am advised that these systems are not prevalent in New Zealand.

"New Zealand's style of housing is shifting, with more people living in high-rise apartments that carry greater risks from fire hazards. Our building regulations need to keep pace with this change in living styles and ensure that New Zealand never experiences what occurred at the Grenfell Tower in London," Smith said.

"The Government is further tightening the fire safety requirements for high-rise buildings with proposals put out for consultation in May," he said.

"These proposals clarify the responsibilities between structural and fire engineers, tighten the verification methods for claddings and fire-fighting provisions such as water supply and location of fire hydrants in the building and improve the process for the development of alternative solutions."