Fletcher welcomes FENZ report

Fire and Emergency New Zealand has confirmed that the fire at the SkyCity New Zealand International Convention Centre in Auckland in October last year was accidental.

Fletcher Construction chief executive Peter Reidy has welcomed Fire and Emergency New Zealand’s (FENZ’s) report into the October 2019 New Zealand International Convention Centre (NZICC) fire, which classified it as an accidental fire.

“We are grateful for the detailed review undertaken by FENZ and the findings in the report. There was a lot of speculation in the days following the fire but, as we said at the time, investigations require a methodical and systematic process to determine the cause,” Reidy says.

“Our own investigators have come to a similar conclusion to FENZ, that the source of the fire was the inadvertent ignition of the cardboard centre of a roll of waterproofing membrane.

“We are pleased that the origin and cause of the fire has been determined, and that FENZ confirms that the fire was accidental.

“It should be noted that this is an extremely common product with a common application process across the industry.

“The subcontractors working on the roof of the NZICC had 40 years’ experience between them, were employed by one of the two largest specialist roofing membrane installers in Auckland, and the firm was approved by the product manufacturer.

“As with all major construction firms, we rely on subcontractors for specialist works when dealing with a project of this size and complexity.

“We were pleased with our safety processes on the day, including the safe evacuation of 550 workers in less than 30 minutes from the site.

“While the FENZ investigation has been underway, we have undertaken a thorough review of torch-on roofing membrane processes across our sites, and run facilitated workshops with frontline workers.

“FENZ’s report is a valuable contribution to be considered by the industry as a whole, as part of our continuous safety focus.

“We want to again thank Fire and Emergency New Zealand and St John for their work at the site, and in the days and weeks following the fire,” Reidy says.

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