Guide to firefighting operations

FENZ have updated their guide to firefighting operations. The SFPE NZ Chapter are planning to run a webinar with FENZ in April to discuss the update.

The web page is here

it reads:

The Fire and Emergency New Zealand’s Firefighting Operations guide provides help to ensure building designs comply with the New Zealand Building Code C5 – Access and safety for firefighting operations; Clause C5.6.

The guide aims to inform relevant parties how Fire and Emergency New Zealand is likely to undertake firefighting and rescue operations in buildings.

The guide is for:

building designers
officers of Building Consent Authorities (BCAs) and Territorial Authorities (TAs)
building facilities professionals
evacuation specialists
anyone else with an interest in designing safety strategies in buildings.
How the guide is presented
The guide will be presented for consultation on a chapter-by-chapter basis.

From the release date, the chapters will have a three-month review period. A final reminder email will be sent, about one-week prior, relating to the close of period. The feedback will be reviewed and the documents updated as appropriate. The draft version of each chapter will remain on this page for reference, until the review period has ended and all guides are replaced with the final documents.

Feedback is welcomed internally and externally, our key stakeholders are

designers, architects
the wider engineering community
Building Consent Authorities (BCA)/ Territorial Authorities (TA)
Society of Fire Protection Engineers (SFPE)
Institution of Fire Engineers (IFE)
Fire Protection Association New Zealand (FPANZ)
Building Officials Institute of New Zealand (BOINZ)
Ministry of Business Innovation and Enterprise (MBIE)
Notification will be relayed, via focus groups, once chapters are available on our site, along with a link to the documents and an email address for sending any feedback.

F5-01 GD Introduction to FFO in buildings - [PDF, 783KB]

F5-03 FFO on radio communications - [PDF, 405KB]

F5-12 GD FFO on construction sites - [PDF, 503KB]

F5-13 GD FFO on multi-tiered vehicle stacking buildings - [PDF, 431KB]

Feedback and further information
Please provide feedback to the following email address along with requesting further information:

1 Like

Hi Geoff,

Is this the mandatory consultation process under Section 73 of the FENZ Act 2017, or is it and independent process, unrelated to FF water supply and Section 73?



Hi Gillian

I think you should ask FENZ that question, it is not for me to comment. I have simply posted the website links for the information of SFPE NZ Chapter members.

Jeff (with a J!)

As an initial comment, it appears that FENZ are requiring in these documents more than the Building Act requires. Surely this would be contrary to Section 18 and 47(2) of the Building Act.
eg Pressurised stairwells and smoke exhaust systems in vehicle stacking buildings! Noting that C/AS7 and C/VM2 are deemed to comply solutions under the Building Act and do not require these features.

Perhaps FENZ need to go back to MBIE and amend the compliance documents to meet their requirements prior to enforcing these documents (subject to appropriate consultation process and cost benefit analysis of course).

Thanks Jeff (with a J). Interesting stuff!

Gillian if you check page 2 you will note that the guide is voluntary and is a companion to the mandatory building code and does not replace any part of it. If it is used in this manner it will be helpful to all parties.
Section 73 in Subpart 3 of Part 2 of the FENZ Act refers to a specific code of practice for firefighting water, which I would think will be an official update to PAS 4509:2008 and separate to the Guide but maybe cross-referenced. Another wait and see!

I think it is saying that the features listed will generally be best/good practise to allow FENZ to Attack a fire in such a car park

The language is normative and not informative- a Point I’ll make when I respond to the request

I would question why they would ask for both detection via an alarm system and protection via sprinkler system?

Other than that, what they are asking for, on face value, seems reasonable.

Gillian makes a point regarding cost bs benefit.

Again some thing that needs to be considered, including the risks and consequences involved in not providing protection for firefighters, if the recommended protective measures are not provided

Good luck all

This is interesting. Another “informative, but lets try to make it normative in its wording CoP” additional requirement to the Code and Building Act?..but then again the FENZ can now “advise” or even demand things, because they have written that into their own legislation - and they cannot be sued for bad advice or going above the Building Act (or any other legislation…all “care no responsibility”…section 161 FENZ Act.

Although I am ex fire service (and fire safety) and everyone knows my roles here in NZ, this seems to be a further compliance slide into “do as we say”, not lets do what the Building Act says. As CPEng we can not ask for more than the Building Act - it is not allowed by our Code (because we would be breaching the Building Act itself).

So looking forward - FENZ release whatever they want, we will be pushed to comply via their “education” of the BCO and the use of the FENZ EU Memo, we (CPEng) break the Law, we will defend our position, the client gets frustrated and a Determination is then brought (which may, or not, be helpful!).

It is fast becoming a similar situation which existed before the 1991 Act came in…and the fire service were dropped out of building compliance (under that Act)

just saying…

Two additional documents have been released by FENZ:

Please provide feedback to the following email address along with requesting further information:

1 Like

The Emergency Vehicle Access part of this guide (Dec 2021) recommends a turnaround area 25m diameter at the end of any carriageways used as a hardstanding. Regardless of the legal standing of this guidance, as responsible engineers we want to make sure firefighting operations can be conducted safely.

A 25m turnaround area simply isn’t feasible for a lot of developments (new and existing), and is counter to the current push for urban densification. For some of the developments I work on it would be larger than the site. What do you folks do in those scenarios to ensure FENZ can safely address the fire? Rely on them reversing down the carriageway? Have you had issues with Council or DRU/FEB processes insisting on turnaround areas?

When I have contacted FENZ directly they have been reluctant to support developments that don’t include a turnaround.

Section 4.2 at link below: