Summary of Findings Fire Review

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  • Stakeholder Engagement Summary of findings Fire Safety Review 2014

    BUILDING SYSTEMS PERFORMANCE BRANCH

  • MINISTRY OF BUSINESS, INNOVATION & EMPLOYMENT 2

    SUMMARY OF FINDINGS

    Introduction The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) is currently undertaking an extensive review of fire safety regulations and practice in New Zealand.

    The purpose of the review is to inform the development of a strategic direction for MBIE's fire safety work, drawing on the views and experiences of practitioners. The review covers the building life-cycle from project inception to demolition, and considers alterations, changes of use and subdivisions. It draws on perspectives from stakeholders at each stage in the building life-cycle. It also draws on research elements to inform MBIE where improvements can be made in fire safety, cost, and practical outcomes.

    To date, MBIE has completed two phases of stakeholder engagement, seeking feedback from across the sector in relation to the issues that have been surfacing over the past two years.

    Phase one involved holding feedback sessions in five locations across New Zealand. Phase two involved a questionnaire that was designed to drill deeper into the key issues raised during phase one.

    This report details feedback received during both phases, detailing the key issues. This information will be used in planning the direction in the Fire Review over the next six months, year, two years and beyond.

    Phase one Stakeholder Feedback Sessions

    MBIE briefing

    Key MBIE staff was briefed in September 2014 of concerns being expressed from the sector about the implementation of the 2012 Fire Safety Building Code changes and to seek feedback on:

    The upcoming fire review stakeholder engagement approach and activities

    Key issues

    Feedback and views expressed during this session has been included in the broader feedback process. The feedback provided had been broadly received as enquiries since the new Code came into effect in July 2013. Key points included:

    Errors within Acceptable Solutions and Verification Method documents

    Performance based Code versus prescriptive elements

    Inconsistencies in approach from fire engineers, designers and BCAs on a national scale

    Concern about availability of fire engineering or fire sector resources nationwide

    Code and associated documents have been open to interpretation, which has led to inconsistencies across many areas

    Sector is vocal, however with disparate views. Varying opinions and issues make it difficult to determine the exact extent of any given issue

    Would like to see better sector coordination and willingness to work with MBIE to address issues

  • MINISTRY OF BUSINESS, INNOVATION & EMPLOYMENT 3

    SUMMARY OF FINDINGS

    External stakeholders

    Stakeholder Engagement sessions were held across five locations including Christchurch, Wellington, Auckland, Dunedin, and Tauranga. More than 250 participants attended all five sessions and provided feedback on five key questions:

    What is working well with the current regulations?

    What is not working?

    What have been the consequences?

    What are the priorities in resolving any issues?

    What Else

    The feedback received at each session was collated and reviewed, and the following graph summarises the most common issues raised at each session. These issues were then used as the priority themes in the phase two questionnaire. The top 12 issues from this phase have also been listed below.

    Phase one high level summary (top 12 issues)

    1. Further guidance needed for alterations to existing buildings as near as is reasonably practicable

    2. Some have expressed concern that changes have increased costs, caused delays and loss of accountability and confidence

    3. Need to clarify building inspection regime and process of Warrant of Fitness and Compliance Schedule

    4. Disconnects between legislations leading to uncertainty of requirements 5. Clarify the role of New Zealand Fire Service and Fire Fighting water requirements 6. Re-address requirement for interior surface finishes and performance levels 7. More guidance and consistent advice needed from MBIE Update commentary and

    guidelines 8. Advice from BCAs varies widely education and training of BCAs, Architects and

    trades on Fire Safety Design 9. Guidance needed on Passive Fire Protection and service penetrations 10. Verification Method should be more flexible and allow innovation 11. Fix errors and inconsistencies in Acceptable Solutions C/ASx 12. Review acceptable solutions for Community Care, Property Rating, Disabled

    Evacuation and Fire Fighting

  • MINISTRY OF BUSINESS, INNOVATION & EMPLOYMENT 4

    SUMMARY OF FINDINGS

  • MINISTRY OF BUSINESS, INNOVATION & EMPLOYMENT 5

    SUMMARY OF FINDINGS

    Phase two - Questionnaire A detailed questionnaire was emailed to stakeholders in October 2014. Approximately 220 stakeholders responded to the various questionnaires. The purpose of the questionnaire was to gather more detail in relation to the key issues raised during phase one of the stakeholder engagement process.

    The main respondents to the questionnaire were from the Fire Engineering field and Building Control.

    Of the key issues we heard about during the phase one feedback sessions, weve focused on analysing the statistics for the top rating themes that respondents provided feedback on in the questionnaires. It is important to note that this is not MBIEs view of the issues facing the fire sector.

    The below graph shows how many participants answered each questionnaire.

    Further follow up engagement was also undertaken with parts of the industry where the response rates were low (ie architects and designers).

  • MINISTRY OF BUSINESS, INNOVATION & EMPLOYMENT 6

    SUMMARY OF FINDINGS

  • MINISTRY OF BUSINESS, INNOVATION & EMPLOYMENT 7

    SUMMARY OF FINDINGS

    Phase two: statistical analysis

    The following table outlines consolidated comments from the top answered questionnaires (based on graph above).

    Forum Headline Issue clarification Question Statistics High level comments Comment Summary

    Acceptable Solution Issues

    This questionnaire was enquiring about accuracy, completeness and the new layout of the Acceptable Solutions C/As1-7 and whether people found it easy to use

    Acceptable solutions C/AS1 to C/AS 7 meet the performance requirements of the Building Code

    49% of respondents did not answer the question

    29% strongly agree or agree

    12% neutral

    8% disagreed or strongly disagreed

    Need better consideration of those with disabilities when designing to acceptable solutions

    Current acceptable solutions have increased costs for building owners without increasing safety or providing value for money

    Issues within consent process and demonstrating compliance

    Councils dont understand the documents

    Spending more time justifying designs

    Lack of sector wide training on how to use or develop acceptable solutions

    Inconsistent with objectives of the Building Code

    Errors within the document

    C/AS1-7 have significantly changed and the seven (7) documents are inconsistent, disconnected and contain errors

    Process has increased costs with no foreseen benefit

    Errors have caused confusion, delays and uncertainty

    Having multiple documents is difficult to use

    C/AS1 6 is easy to use 49% of respondents did not answer the question

    28% strongly agree or agree

    11% neutral

    11% disagreed or strongly disagreed

    Amalgamate into a single document

    Open to interpretation, resulting in issues with the consenting process

    Badly written clauses and inconsistencies with explanations

    Create a user group where participants actually use the documents and have real time/ real life examples

    Create an online calculator

    The format of C/AS 7 is easy to use 50% of respondents did not answer the question

    22% strongly agree or agree

    16% neutral

    9.5% disagreed or strongly disagreed

    Amalgamate into a single document

    Make C/AS7 a stand-alone document

    Vehicle parking should be removed

    Create an online calculator

    No consistency in how the documents are laid out

    Open to interpretation, resulting in issues with the consenting process

    Rate impacts of errors in C/ASx on your organisation

    51% of respondents did not answer the question

    Additional checking required

    Open to interpretation

  • MINISTRY OF BUSINESS, INNOVATION & EMPLOYMENT 8

    SUMMARY OF FINDINGS

    Forum Headline Issue clarification Question Statistics High level comments Comment Summary

    18% had a high impact

    10.5% had a medium impact

    13% had a low impact

    Causing confusion and unnecessary rework

    Forcing high levels of fire safety into designs where there is no added value or necessity for it

    Too many amendments for the sector to get their head around

    Too complex, consider simplifying

    Need to reconsider definitions

    Inconsistencies and contradicting information in documents

    Liability risk and increased costs to the client due to delays

    Rate impact of an MBIE interpretations committee needed to interpret C/ASx requirements

    58% of respondents did not answer the question

    18% had a high impact

    11% had a medium impact

    6% had a low impact

    Could cause m