Amended regulations to increase evacuation requirements for building owners, adding to risk exposure
Last July the New Zealand Fire Service restructured. As part of that change they rebranded to become Fire and Emergency New Zealand (FENZ) and now work under new legislation being the Fire and Emergency New Zealand 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 could the changes in regulations affect you?
In addition to the existing fire evacuation requirements it is likely 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 owners.
Most buildings will still be required to have an approved Evacuation Scheme in place and conduct regular trial evacuations. This includes buildings with the following descriptions:
- 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).
While FENZ will continue to work with building owners to reduce risk via education, they have also been granted additional powers including ability to revoke evacuation schemes and impose significant fines.