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NZ insurers to look again at cladding risk

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New Zealand insurers will reassess risks after Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch authorities released updates from flammable cladding audits.

Auckland Council says it has almost completed its investigation has found 116 buildings in the region with aluminium composite panels (ACP). In some cases the cladding has a combustible core, while in others it is fire resistant.

The council says where ACP is present, safety is often maintained by features such as sprinkler systems.

“We haven’t identified any building that would be considered dangerous due to ACP cladding,” GM Building Consents Ian McCormick said.

“We are confident there are no Grenfell-type buildings in Auckland.”

Wellington City Council says 113 buildings with ACP have been identified, but only 18 required a fire engineer’s assessment, and none were found to be unsafe.

Christchurch City Council found 29 buildings with flammable cladding, but only seven were potentially non-compliant.

Insurance Council of New Zealand CEO Tim Grafton told he welcomes the fact Auckland has identified all affected buildings and “put the list out into the public domain. It is a good first step.

“Insurers now have the opportunity to see whether they are on risk, and carry out assessments.

“I can’t say what each insurer will do, but the reason councils are investigating this [cladding] after Grenfell [last year’s deadly tower fire in London] is because it does pose a risk. No doubt each insurer will take a prudent view.”