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Council Urges Proper Installation

Expanded polystyrene cladding products are safe for use in house and building construction when they are installed by professional builders, according to the Auckland City Council.

Councillor Juliet Yates, Chairperson of Auckland City Council’s City and Development Committee, was responding to an error made in a council report to the Smart City Governance Committee which stated that expanded polystyrene products had a low ignition level of 95 degrees C.

“The true level of ignition for expanded polystyrene products is 320 degrees C and above,” said Cr Yates.

She said her advisers had told her that there was rarely any difficulty with expanded polystyrene products when installed by professional builders.

“Sound construction methods are essential. New materials and technical advances should be used where they bring high-quality standards and attractive city living.”

Councillor Yates said that errors were unfortunate and she hoped that similar errors would not be made in reports to her committee.

“Manufacturers of these products had a right to be concerned about the error made and the misinformation that was spread because of it.

“However, I have also been told that handymen at home are ill advised to attempt the job themselves.

“This practice can be dangerous,” she said.

Councillor Yates said the public needed to be aware of other building issues that related to buildings that leaked and gathered moisture.

“Fears by Panmure residents and residents generally must be allayed. The consequences of faulty installation will be suffered for years.”

She said the council closely monitored bad installation practices and would issue stop-work notices where such practices were identified.

Issues relating to leaking and moisture retention were complex and not only related to untreated timber but also to problems with faulty claddings, windows and flashings.

Auckland City Council was concerned with buildings meeting the requirements of the Building Code and had implemented a number of initiatives, she said.

Councillor Yates outlined the following Auckland City Council initiatives:

- The council’s Auckland City Environments were members of a New Zealand industry-wide group studying weathertightness issues and how to improve them.

- New inspection checklists and requirements relating to inspections for weathertightness had been implemented.

- New producer statements relating to contractors had been designed so that industry-wide standards were met.

- Extra training and information had been given to Auckland City Council staff relating to these issues.

- Building consents now required a standard statement regarding the provision of the maintenance of specific plaster finishes used in the building industry.


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