A number of popular hotels are among more than 100 Wellington buildings covered in cladding similar to that seen in London’s fatal Grenfell Tower fire.
Wellington City Council has released a list of 112 buildings it has found to be clad in aluminium composite panelling (ACP), the material blamed for helping spread the Grenfell tower fire in June 2017 that claimed 72 lives.
Although the Wellington buildings have been deemed low risk, the council said it wanted to be “transparent” with the public about the number of properties with the cladding.
In a statement, it said none of the buildings presented significant concerns in terms of the safety of occupants due to the presence of ACP.
Hotel Sofitel, Bolton Hotel, The Thorndon Hotel, Rydges Hotel, Quest and Novotel are all among the ACP-clad buildings.
A dozen apartment buildings throughout the city are also on the list, including 1-8 Clyde Quay Wharf, Monvie Apartments, Soho Apartments, Fusion Apartments and Revolucion Apartments.
Significant public buildings are among those found to have ACP cladding, including Te Papa Museum, Wellington East Girls College and TSB arena.
The list is the result of a national audit of buildings using aluminium-composite panels, with similar processes taking place all over the world in the wake of the London tragedy.
The type of cladding on 47 Wellington buildings could not be established, including the city’s tallest – The Majestic Centre. The ACP in those that were identified ranged from exterior cladding panels to small-scale exterior signage.
The council’s building compliance manager, Chris Scott, said some 4800 building files across the city were reviewed and buildings that were identified through the process were then visually checked.
“We have found that no building gives us significant concerns in terms of the presence of ACP and the safety of occupants,” he said.
Mr Scott said the audit had taken some months because the council worked closely with building owners, Fire and Emergency New Zealand and fire safety experts to ensure the status of all buildings was fully understood and owners had a chance to provide information to occupants.
“The multi-storey buildings with elements of ACP have generally been built in the past three decades and feature a variety of life safety features that allow occupants time to evacuate the building in the event of fire,” he added.
Despite the assurances, a Te Papa Museum spokesperson confirmed the building’s ACP panels would be removed.