Auckland's Sky City 24 hours a day!

We take a look back in to one of the biggest projects in New Zealand and how the PROMAT range of passive fire products were instrumental in the construction! This article was written at the time of build, so some claims may now be out of date.

Sky City and the 328 metre Sky Tower is, in the words of the main contractor, a ‘hyper, fast-track project’.

The site covers 1.26 hectares in the heart of Auckland City. Sky City will be New Zealand’s non-stop 24 hours a day entertainment centre.

When fully completed it will contain high profile Harrah’s casino: over 2,700 carparks in six levels of underground parking and two adjacent parking buildings; an inner-city bus terminal; five restaurants; three bars; a 700 seat theatre; 270 m2 of retail shops; convention areas; special function rooms; state of the art telecommunications facilities and a 344 room hotel (New Zealand’s second largest).

The actual presentation board created for this project

Promat Passive Fire Protection

Fourteen separate Promat product systems provide 24 hour passive fire protection for this prestigious world class project.

Progressive Building Systems is the Promat distributor in New Zealand. Director, Bob Campton, is emphatic that Promat passive fire protection has been specified and installed in so much of the Sky City complex for three key reasons.

“First, the specifier’s knew and trusted the Promat name and reputation for proven performance and meeting stringent international safety standards that has been built up over 30 years.”

“Second, individual Promat products were frequently able to provide innovative, practical and cost effective solutions for a building complex that has provided diverse and interesting challenges for passive fire protection.”

“Third, we have been on-site continuously since March 1995. We were there when the specifiers and contractors really needed us.”

The Casino opened February 1996, the hotel, theatre and conference facilities will open by mid 1996 and Sky Tower is scheduled for completion in mid 1997.

The fourteen Promat applications specified for Sky City are:

Structural Steel

  • Where columns were built into walls, space constraints demanded a thin solution for fire claddings. Promatect provided the most cost-efficient system.
  • Where fire claddings were visible, the physical properties of Promatect provided for an excellent architectural finish.
  • The weather resistant properties of Promatect provided the solution for steelwork that required fire rating and was exposed to elements for up to 2 months.
  • Promat intumescent paint allowed timber framing to be fixed directly to webs of structural steel members.


  • The fire integrity of protected egress routes breached by kitchen exhaust ducts before entering the vertical riser shafts was maintained by the construction of a Promatect ceiling where space considerations and ceiling heights precluded all other fire separation solutions.
  • Promatect ceilings provided a ‘thin board’ solution incorporating space considerations; cost effectiveness; impact resistance during construction and for subsequent regular servicing.


  • Promatect isolated all stairway pressurisation and kitchen extract ducts that shared common risers with other mechanical services.
  • Impact resistance, space considerations, speed and ease of installation were all influential factors in the choice of Promatect.

Self-Supporting Fire Rated Ducts

New Promatect S high density fibre cement board plus local technical support provided innovative solutions. Sky Tower has to cope with temperature variations of up to 30 degrees celcius depending on ambient conditions plus provision for lateral and seismic movements.

Promatect S stair pressurisation ducts ensure that smoke and fire cannot enter stairwell, a crucial safety factor, which would allow people to escape to a safe refuge zone. Promatect S provides high impact resistance and water protection if sprinkler saturation occurs.


  • When the pre-cast panels were bolted to the floor slabs and columns of the hotel, variable construction joints from 5mm to 250mm were formed and a potential ‘path’ was created for fire both vertically between floors and horizontally between rooms. Firestops had to accommodate structural movement and be easy to install.
  • Promat provided three systems:
    • Promaseal fire rated mastic for very small gaps (below 15mm)
    • Promaseal compression strips (15mm – 100mm)
    • Promatect H Board (100mm – 250mm)
  • Promat’s wide product range enabled the contractor to deal on site day to day with one company.

Solid Partitions

  • A shaft wall had to be constructed in an area of difficult access – with no room for conventional wall studs and lining boards.
  • Lighter specification Promatect L board selected as it was easy to work with and install.

Cable Ducts

Differing design parameters determined that two unique Promat solutions were necessary.

  • Promatect enclosed cable trays provided a thin, light economical solution where high voltage electrical cables breached the integrity of the protected egress route and introduced a fire load within the safe path.
  • In the interpretative centre located in the Sky Tower, Promat provided a tested worldwide solution to protect the integrity of: Fire alarm system, Telecommunications, Fibre optics, H.V. cables [Promatect duct DIN standard 4102, Part 12].
  • As the ducting is exposed to full view, Promatect was chosen to provide an architectural feature and comprehensive protection where all cables are in a specifically constructed, multi celled duct.

Penetration Seals

  • Nine electrical sub stations generated multi cable entries and exits through fire rated floors and walls. Promaseal was selected as some were highly visible in public areas and required a high standard of finish on the fire stop.
  • In addition, cable exits from the eight main electrical risers mostly involved very difficult access and so an easily installed system such as Promaseal was called for.

“Many different uses and functionality separate areas are in close proximity and all require individual fire rating to the highest standard to meet the performance requirements – ‘Spread of Fire’ – of the New Zealand Building Code. Promat was able to provide the project with a wide range of internationally proven solutions and work closely with individual contractors on site to accommodate very demanding construction timetables.” - Richard Brand, Head of Fire Engineering for Beca Carter Hollings Ferner Design Managers & Engineers

Sky City Limited Project Partners

Project Managers: Terra Firma Group

Head Contractor: Fletchers Construction

Design Managers and Engineers: Beca Carter Hollings & Ferner

Architects-Interior Designers: Craig Craig Moller

Cost Managers: Rider Hunt Holmes Cook