News Non-Life23 Aug 2018

New Zealand:Many commercial buildings fail to meet fire safety standards - ICNZ

| 23 Aug 2018

Many commercial properties are putting lives and property at risk because they do not meet fire safety standards, the Insurance Council of New Zealand warns.

The finger is being pointed at the construction industry for the deficient work that is not meeting the standards in the New Zealand Building Code, according to a report on the news website,

ICNZ insurance manager John Lucas said members' inspections and risk surveys were uncovering non-compliant passive fire construction work and it was being found more in new buildings than old ones.

Passive fire protection was about preventing or slowing the spread of fire and smoke from one area to another and gave the occupants of a building time to get out safely.

The non-compliant work included unprotected penetrations through fire walls and floors, missing smoke dampers in heating and ventilation systems, and fire and smoke control doors that did not seal correctly.

Sprinkler systems were not the problem; that part of construction was being done well, Mr Lucas said.

But part of the problem was that there were many facets to passive fire construction and anyone could do it, like builders, plumbers, electricians and data cable installers, but they did not get specific training in it.

"As a construction industry we are not doing a very good job and it's a concern."

Leaky buildings brought the deficient work to light when claddings were removed.?

Mr Lucas said, "My discussions with various experts in the fire protection industry and with building consent authority managers confirmed that New Zealand has a potential systemic passive fire non-compliance problem.

"This is worrying as so many people live and work in high rise and multi-unit buildings these days."


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