Common Compliance Issues

Non-compliant locks installed on final exits 

Certain types of locks should not be installed on final exits and doors on escape paths as they could prevent occupants from escaping in the event of emergency. These are examples of locks that should not be installed. 

certain lock types are a compliance issue

Penetrations through fire and smoke separations

Unsealed penetrations through fire and smoke separations allow fire and smoke to spread. 

All penetrations through fire and smoke separations are required to be sealed using approved materials. Evidence of compliance with the NZ Building Code (C/AS2 – 7) for any fire-stopping system is required.

Stored items 

Do not store items in stairwells, escapes paths, locations that obstruct occupants using an exit door, or close to sprinkler heads. Stored items can prevent the sprinkler head from operating effectively in the event of fire. 

unsealed penetrations are a compliance issue
Example of unsealed penetrations

Non-consented access-controlled door systems 

Access-controlled door systems are considered a specified system under the Building Act 2004. Therefore, a Building Consent is required to install, modify, or remove these systems. If you are unsure whether the system you are installing requires a building consent, consult your local Building Consent Authority. 

Paint on sprinkler heads 

When painting around sprinkler heads ensure the correct covers are obtained from a fire company to avoid paint splatter coming into contact with the sprinkler head. 

Paint splatter can affect the operation of the sprinkler head requiring it to be replaced which can be costly if numerous sprinkler heads are affected.

Importance of owner’s inspections and record-keeping 

The Building Act 2004 requires all inspection, maintenance and reporting procedures of the Compliance Schedule have been fully complied with for the previous 12 months for a Building Warrant of Fitness to be issued.

This includes owners’ inspections — just one missed inspection could result in your site not being able to display a BWOF. It is crucial all inspections are carried out and recorded. 

In the event the local Territorial Authority carries out a site audit and finds incomplete records for specified systems listed on the site compliance schedule, a ‘Notice to Fix’ may be issued for the site. This requires action from the owner to avoid an infringement fee. 

Blinds and curtains 

When hanging curtains or blinds on fire exit doors it is important to ensure that fire alarm activation devices, call points, exit signage, and means of opening the door (push bar, handle etc.) are visible at all times to enable occupants a swift exit from the building in case of an emergency. 

Ensure that the curtain or blind fits on the door itself, allows the door hardware to be visible, and does not pose an obstruction, such as a tripping hazard or flammable material. 

Blinds and curtains that have been installed on fire exit doors as part of a lockdown procedure must also be fire resistant and follow the fire safety regulations. 

curtains in front of fire exits are a compliance issue

Using wedges to hold open fire and smoke doors 

Fire and smoke doors that are not interfaced with the fire alarm should be kept shut at all times. This prevents the spread of smoke and fire in the event of a fire. 

Fire and smoke doors have signage installed stating please keep closed, directions need to be followed. 

Further information about building compliance

If you require any further information regarding any of these or other Building Compliance issues, please contact Argest.

Fire Separations – Safe All The Time

ARGEST Building Compliance is a (BWOF) Building Warrant of Fitness agent.

The BWoF (Form12) is based on the collection of forms 12A from all of the service providers for all of the systems listed on your building’s Compliance Schedule.

Some of these systems require regular (monthly, quarterly or bi-annual) checks, and others only a yearly inspection shortly before the re-issue of the BWoF is due.

During the year there may be changes to some of these specified systems that go unnoticed — e.g. new fibre optic cables installed by Chorus may need to go through fire separations.

The importance of getting it right

Fire can destroy any building if the design does not take account of the risk and minimise potential dangers. Below is an example of effective fire separations.

How safe are the occupants in your building right now?

  • Have there been any upgraded or new services installed in the past six months? e.g. Air conditioners, IT or Telecom cables, etc.
  • Does your BWOF compliance schedule include:
    – Fire Separations – SS15/3
    – Smoke Separations – SS15/5
  • Have all the firewalls/ceilings and smoke barriers been inspected for compliant penetration seals?
  • Do you have a ROUTINE MAINTENANCE PLAN in place to cover passive fire inspections?
  • Do you have all the evidence of compliance required for all passive fire penetration seals from your specialist fire-stopping installer, so a Form 12A can be issued for SS15/3 & SS15/5 by them?
  • Do you have a Compliance Assessment Consultant working with your existing IQP’s & service providers to provide the specialist knowledge required to ensure BWOF compliance and insurance requirements surrounding passive fire protection?
Fire separations – safe all the time

What’s wrong with this picture? Your building should be SAFE TO OCCUPY ALL THE TIME, with up-to-date repair records, maintenance reports and inspection logs available to Council.

Argest can assist you to develop/improve a long term scheduled or routine maintenance plan. This will avoid the risks the come with managing your own BWOF compliance requirements, and avoid costly last-minute remediation.

To arrange an initial observation of the passive fire/smoke separations in your building and a brief introduction to passive fire compliance requirements, simply contact the team at ARGEST Technical Services on 09 309 9419.