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London's fatal fire prompts checks in NZ

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 15/06/2017

The government is checking with councils to make sure no high-rise buildings have the sort of combustible cladding suspected of rapidly spreading the fatal fire in London.

The Grenfell Tower inferno cost 12 lives and the toll is expected to rise.

According to reports, cladding on the building burned furiously and could have been responsible for the blaze spreading quickly.

Building and Construction Minister Nick Smith says the Building Code was amended in January to restrict the use of combustible cladding in buildings following fires in Melbourne and Dubai.

"I am advised that these systems are not prevalent in New Zealand," he said on Thursday.

"I have asked the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment to contact councils and check whether any high-rise buildings have been constructed with these materials prior to the amendments earlier this year."

Dr Smith said New Zealand's style of housing was changing, with more people living in high-rise apartments that carried greater fire risk.

"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," he said.

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