The Eye of the Fish

June 14, 2018


The ghost of Grenfell has come back to visit us, with the announcement of 18 buildings in Wellington with possible flammable cladding. Similarly, in Auckland, they have announced at the same time that they also have a list of buildings with ACP cladding, including 116 with the same type of core that Grenfell had. Precinct Properties in Auckland had this to say:

“Their reports confirmed a very low level of risk due to the significant levels of fire prevention and safety systems installed, the dual fire escapes available on each floor and the low level of risk for an external source of ignition.”

And that’s a fairly good assessment of the risk. I’m glad we are confident that we have a good, reliable system – as the Eye of the Fish said at the time last year, Grenfell was a disgrace and should never have happened if decent fire protection systems had been put in place. News from the Inquiry into the Grenfell fire going on in the UK at present show that as much as two hours into the fire, the British fire crews were still telling people to stay in their apartments and not try and escape down the solitary fire escape staircase. Incredible. And: stupid.

So: is yours one of the 18 Wellington buildings with potential flammable cladding? So far, WCC aren’t telling us which ones are, but you’re always welcome to discuss things in confidence here on the Fish…

“The council did not identify the buildings requiring further assessment, saying it wanted to give building owners time to respond to letters and advise tenants where necessary.”


14 - 06 - 18

Interesting thing about that photo: what is the one thing that is missing?

Tricky question really, for a photo that has quite a bit missing: there is no glass, no signs of life (ouch), there are definite signs of insulation, definite signs of aluminium window joinery, definite occasional solid panels which are probably plasterboard infield into the back of the cladding – the one thing that is completely missing, is the cladding. As far as I can tell, not a sign of ACP, as it has all burnt away to a crisp. Fairly staggering that these companies are still in business – I would have thought they would be out of business by now.

14 - 06 - 18

Read this

Its damning and while no one died in the Melbourne fir,e the ability of fire to move up the outside of any building is a huge concern….

If the exterior ACP panels are flammable any building that has extensively used them is likely NOT to meet the conditions of the building act and is probably highly unsafe..

If you are aware that any of these buildings are residential I would leave and call the media, because authorities appear unwilling to do anything….

Australian Fire Safety engineer Tony Enright, this week told the ABC’s Four Corners program that a kilogram of polyethelene cladding burnt so explosively it would “release the same amount of energy as a kilogram of petrol

15 - 06 - 18

Thanks greenwelly – yes, I’m off to have a read of this !@#$%% !!

18 - 06 - 18

Is it just me, or are others sickened by the hypocrisy and bullshit on display over Grenfell in the UK at preset, one year on?

Yes, the Brits were fast off the mark in assessing whether other tower buildings also have similar cladding. NZ has recently been doing this as well. In the UK, some buildings are already having the cladding stripped away. All of which is god news, but still doesn’t address the real issue – how to help people get out if there is a fire again.

If I was Minister of Construction in the UK, I would have acted immediately, and proposed two things – firstly that all tower blocks get retrofitted with sprinklers. Secondly, if necessary, that a second escape stair be provided – an external, prefabricated, enclosed stair be attached to each building. One staircase for a 20 storey building is not enough. End of story.

These are the things that need to happen, and fast. No amount of painting buildings green or having candle-light vigils is ever going to bring the victims back. But do something useful, immediately, to make sure it really can’t happen again.