Art & Entertainment | Book Reviews | Education | Entertainment Video | Health | Lifestyle | Sport | Sport Video | Search


Fire Protection Shortcomings Give Concern


Fire Protection Shortcomings Give Concern

12 September 2008

Doubt has been raised about the effectiveness of passive fire protection in buildings in New Zealand, particularly multi-storey buildings, in a report presented to the annual Fire NZ conference of the Fire Protection Association today.

Presenting to the conference, the chairman of the Association Kevin Kennedy said that effective passive fire protection relies on well-sealed penetrations in fire-rated barriers that stop or delay the advance of smoke and fire. Breaches to these barriers by building services such as cabling and piping compromise their effectiveness.

Mr Kennedy’s comments arose from a pilot survey of 11 buildings throughout the country representing a mixture of commercial and institutional buildings.  More than half of the sample was found to have problems with passive fire protection.

The most common problem and the one which poses the greatest threat is penetrations made for reticulated services in fire-resistant barriers which are not sealed. This problem was often compounded in older buildings by the alterations and additions of subsequent tenants, although problems of this nature were even evident in newer buildings.

“Our view is that this emphasises the lack of understanding of the role of passive fire protection amongst designers, contractors, inspectors and even building owners and managers.”

“Passive fire protection is one of a number of defences against the threat of fire.  It is designed to delay the advance of fire to allow people to clear a building safely.  Many buildings have sprinklers and other systems, so passive protection is just one set of measures, but it is important.”

“However, there is a trend towards greater reliance on passive fire protection which only heightens the importance of this issue.”

“Buildings with these types of issues are not compliant with the Building Code. This whole matter needs putting right to ensure that we retain the very impressive fire safety record we have in our commercial building stock.  Resolving this issue is going to involve a programme of remediation over the next few years to ensure buildings meet the required standard,” says Kevin Kennedy.

The reporting of the pilot survey has just been completed and was funded by BRANZ from the Building Research Levy.  The Fire Protection Association, together with BRANZ, has been involved in bringing together relevant parties to review the situation and work with the fire safety community to collectively find solutions..



© Scoop Media

Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

Review: A Rose By Any Other Name Would Smell As Sweet

The Royal New Zealand Ballet has accepted the challenge of this heart-touching tragedy and largely succeeded. More>>


NZ's First Male IAAF Gold: Tom Walsh's Historic Shot Put Victory

Although feeling very sore but with a great feeling Tom Walsh took his place as number one on the victory dais to receive his much deserved gold medal. More>>


Scoop Review Of Books: Q&A: Hard To Find Books

"Unfortunately we are in crisis and this friendly dinosaur faces extinction… Our only hope is to try and raise funds to buy the building and restore it to its glory, either fully funded or with a viable deposit." More>>

Kid Lit: Lost Mansfield Story Discovered At Wellington Library

Previously undiscovered letters and a story written by a young Katherine Mansfield were recently unearthed in Wellington City Library’s archives by a local author researching a book about the famous writer. More>>



  • Wellington
  • Christchurch
  • Auckland