Changing Fire Evacuation Regulations

There are new regulations governing Fire Evacuation which are likely to have an effect in some way for commercial building owners and their representatives.

Last July the New Zealand Fire Service (NZFS) restructured. As part of that change they rebranded to become Fire Emergency New Zealand (FENZ) and now work under new legislation being the Fire Emergency Act 2017. Part of that change required the Fire Safety and Evacuation of Building Regulations 2006 to be amended.  These changes are due to come into effect on 1 July 2018.

How does this affect you as a building owner?

Relevant buildings will still be required to have an approved Evacuation Scheme in place and conduct regular trial evacuations. This includes:

  • The gathering together, for any purpose, of 100 or more persons.
  • Providing employment facilities for 10 or more persons.
  • Providing accommodation for more than 5 persons (other than in 3 or fewer household units).
  • Storing or processing hazardous substances in quantities exceeding the minimum amounts prescribed in Schedule 2 of the Fire Safety and Evacuation of Buildings Regulations 2006.
  • Providing early childhood facilities (other than in a household unit).
  • Providing nursing, medical, or geriatric care (other than in a household unit).
  • Providing specialised care for people with disabilities (other than in a household unit).
  • Providing accommodation for persons under lawful detention (not being persons subject to home detention).

In addition to the existing requirements it seems certain that there will be more emphasis around how we evacuate persons safely from a building, how we cater for persons who are unable to self-evacuate, and clarity around the responsibilities of building owners.

As part of these changes FENZ have been granted additional powers including the ability to revoke evacuation schemes and impose significant fines.

We are committed to working with our clients and building owners to ensure occupiers are well supported, the building meets all of the legislative evacuation requirements and to provide advice for risk reduction and false alarm calls.

If you need any advice or have a query on the matter feel free to contact one of our Evacuation Consultants for a chat.