Transcript: Protection from fire (Building Code update webinar)

Last updated: 26 January 2024

Transcript for video explaining the Building Code update 2022 for Protection from Fire.

Slide 1


Text on screen: "Welcome to the Building Code Update webinar – the webinar for Protection from Fire will start shortly."

Slide 2


Devin Glennie on screen welcoming everyone to the Webinar.


Devin Glennie: Kia ora koutou. Good morning everyone. My name is Devin Glennie, and I'm here to talk about our Building Code update for Protection From Fire. I'm part of the team that helps oversee the Building Code here at MBIE as part of the Building System Performance branch. So we have two sessions today, this morning, we're going to talk about Protection From Fire. We're going to have a little break after that, and then back at noon to talk about Plumbing and Drainage. These webinars are being recorded, so they will be available on our website within a few days or so and we've asked people to submit questions when they signed up. So we're going to cover off a few of those questions. You'll be also able to answer or ask questions in the q&a function here in Zoom, the short ones we'll try and answer in text and if there is anything longer, we'll see if we have time to get to those. All right, so let's get started.

Slide 3


Building Code Update slide with photo of Devin Glennie in left corner.


Devin Glennie: The first thing we are going to talk about a little bit is I'm just gonna change my screen sharing here, one second.

Slide 4


Building Code Update phases described by Devin Glennie.


Devin Glennie: All right, we're just gonna give you some background here about our Building Code update phases. So the changes we're talking about today have actually been in development for several years. They started off with some of these commissioning standards several years ago and publishing those standards and then consulting on the changes in the acceptable solutions and verification methods. So that consultation for the Building Code occurred in May 2022. There are over 100 submissions that were received across the different proposals, we then analyze the submissions, considering all the feedback, we announced decisions on these topics in May this year, and then the new documents were all published online last week. So now that new documents have been published, we're entering a implementation and monitoring period, we're going to look at the changes and see how they're landing, and help the sector get up to speed on on those changes. These updates are important to New Zealanders because the public expects our buildings to be safe, durable, warm, dry, healthy, and have a low impact on the environment.

Slide 5


Building Code triangle explained by Devin Glennie.


Devin Glennie: You may have seen this before, but it's the Building Code triangle. It shows the Building Code regulatory framework as a series of tiers. So at the top, it's the Building Act, and below that is the Building Code which sits in regulations, schedule one of the Building Regulations 1992. But most people think about the Building Code as being a whole system. So it's the Building Code regulations along with the verification methods, acceptable solutions, guidance documents and information that sit below it. So when we talk about updates, that could be any one of these tiers in the Building Code. Today, we're going to be primarily focused on the changes to the acceptable solutions, as well as some of the standards that have been cited within those acceptable solutions.

Slide 6


Compliance pathways explained by Devin Glennie.


Devin Glennie: So what ways can people comply with the Building Code? If we're talking about Protection from Fire, there's three general ways that people might look at it. The acceptable solution, C/AS1 generally applies for simple building types. So these people, the users for these documents, could be anyone could be designers, it could be LBPs, it could be fire engineers looking at these simple kinds of structures. When we get to larger buildings, so things that are slightly bigger, could be commercial buildings, but still typically developed kind of at scale, or very similar fashion. We we generally talked about different design teams or designers having some knowledge using those documents, and that's provided in acceptable solution, C/AS2. Where we have more complex buildings, where we have professional engineers involved, architects, and we're trying to do something that maybe doesn't fit the mold of the acceptable solutions. That's where we have our verification methods C/VM2. So like I said, we're primarily going to be focusing on those two acceptable solutions today, and talking about some of the changes that have been updated in them.

Slide 7


Question – When do the changes take effect presented by Devin Glennie


Devin Glennie: So the first question we got when from the webinar signups, one of the popular things is when do these changes take effect? So like I mentioned, the new documents were actually published last week, which means that they can be used the day they are published.

Slide 8


Transition Periods explained by Devin Glennie.


Devin Glennie: However, there is a transition period that allows you to use the previous documents for up for the next year. So at the end of the transition period, older documents can no longer be used. During the transition period, both documents can we used to show compliance with the Building Code. And so these are published on the second of November, and they'll be used until November 1 next year.

Slide 9


Image of Covers of new documents explained by Devin Glennie.


Devin Glennie: All right, so what topics we'll be talking about here today, there are two main topics we're covering. The first proposal relates primarily to Acceptable Solution C/AS1, and the requirements for risk group SH. This covers residential homes and those kinds of simple outbuildings. The second proposal, our topic was on fire safety systems, which affects the standards used and some of their citations within the acceptable solution, C/AS2, C/VM2 as well as F7 Warning Systems.

Slide 10


Image of C/AS1 and F7 documents explained by Devin Glennie.


Devin Glennie: So two of these documents, C/AS1 and F7, they're both published in our new document template. So if you haven't seen this before, it's been used in other parts of Building Code since 2021. Some of the key features of the new document template, I guess, is that C/AS1 has been split from C/VM1. They originally were published together, and now they've been split out into their own separate documents. C/VM1 has been provided with a new introduction, but no, but otherwise, no other changes to its requirements. The cover page of the new documents state the year they were published, as well as their amendment history. So you no longer have to flip to an amendment history section, you can you can look at it on the first page of what what version it is. The second page covers a prefice and a short description of the Building Code and it's the status of the document. Third page is actually a list of the main changes in the version. So you can read a summary of what the changes were within the document itself. And then this was followed by just a section on the key features of the document, how different icons and itallics and hyperlinks are used. Some of the other things that have changed within the text, we have a consistent set of numbering and headings, so that each document has the same kind of flow and which is the heading number, which is a paragraph. It's a single column format. So it's no longer two columns side by side. And there's a standardized set of appendices. So Appendix A lists all the cited standards and references in the document.

Slide 11


Image of Clause C4 explained by Devin Glennie.


Devin Glennie: Appendix B lists all the defined terms. If you're looking for Building Code regulations, the code clauses themselves, these aren't published in the acceptable solutions, but there is a link on each of the code clause pages that takes you straight to the legislation website where you can see these. So if you go to clause C4, you can click on this button, and it's above where you would click to download an AS or a VM, it's state, it's above that part of the page, and it will take you directly to that link to see that. So if you're looking for those code clauses, you can get that from the website quite easily. The last thing I want to talk about before we get into our Building Code updates is actually about building product information requirements, just highlighting that these come into force on 11th of December this year.

Slide 12


Building Product information Requirements explained by Devin Glennie.


Devin Glennie:  So this provides minimum information for all products manufactured or imported in New Zealand, on or after that date of 11. Through December, we've been working with a lot of the importers, manufacturers and retailers about what this means for them, and now we're gonna be starting talking to people about what it actually means for designers and BCOs. So this minimum information gives you better access to what building the information about the building products and how they will comply with the Building Code. It sets out some minimum requirements such as installation or maintenance, maintenance requirements, descriptions of the product, its intended use. And most importantly, it now requires information about the code clauses that are relevant to a product and how it's expected to contribute to Building Code compliance. We expect this will help support some of those building consent applications because you'll be providing a minimum consistent level of information on those products. And also expecting to know how some of these alternative solutions where the products that are being sold or imported into the country don't comply with the standards that are in the acceptable solution or verification methods but may have been tested in other ways overseas, for instance, and that information can be provided on those information sheets. So that's just a heads up about this. If you want more information, there's a link there at the bottom or building product information requirements. There's a number of resources on that page or linked on that page, including including videos and webinars and about the requirements themselves.

Slide 13


Introduction Slide for Tania Morgun Senior Fire Engineer.


Devin Glennie: Okay, so now we're gonna get into our talk about the first topic which is Protection from Fire for residential homes or C/AS1. I'm gonna bring in Tania Morgan to talk about these requirements. Tania is a Senior Fire Engineer in our Building Engineering team. She holds a Master's degree in fire engineering from University of Canterbury, and she's a Chartered Professional Engineer, chartered member of Engineering New Zealand and a practice area assessor. She has more than 30 years experience in fire engineering, building regulations and consenting. Hi Tania, how are you doing today?

Tania Morgun: Good morning everyone. I'm here to overlook some recent changes to the acceptable solution C/AS1.

Devin Glennie: So, what changes are we making to C/AS1?

Slide 14


On screen Changes to C/AS1 explained by Tani Morgun.


Tania Morgun: The main changes are relevant to improvement of life safety in residential homes. We revised part two, the minimum requirements for the fire alarm installation of type one system which is now interconnected smoke detectors complying with New Zealand Standard 4514, which been updated in 2021. We also revised part three, we qualified what escape route comprised of, and requirements. We clarified that final exit may be beyond the exit door of the building. There were some minor changes to Part Seven, mostly this to align with changes made in C/AS2 in 2020. We updated some standards to new versions and align appendixes with C/AS2, all these changes will have absolutely marginal impact of the construction cost.

Devin Glennie: So did we change the scope of risk group SH and what the buildings apply for apply to in C/AS1?

Slide 15


Scope of risk group SH explained by Tania Morgun.


Tania Morgun: No, the scope of risk group SH will remain the same. In consultation document last year, we proposed to expand the scope by including more types of multi unit dwellings. This unfortunately elevated risks, fire risks, and trigger additional fire safety features. While we receive a generally support for intent for the proposals to expand the scope and increase a level of life safety. However, there are concerns that additional requirements would result in significant increase of construction cost and the document is becoming too complex. As there was limited agreement on proposed fire safety features the scope of document will have to, unfortunately, remain as is, and this is basically limited to simple building types. Our intent is that C/AS1 cover a low rise residential dwellings where people sleep and provide affordable and simple solutions to comply with the requirements of the Building Code.

Devin Glennie:  Alright, so you mentioned improvements to life safety, and you mentioned the interconnected smoke alarm, the type one. Saskia is going to be talking about that a little bit later. But what about those other improvements to life safety those in part three, what, what changes did we make there?

Slide 16


Improvements to life safety explained by Tania Morgun.


Tania Morgun: Okay, in part three, we updated section means of escape. Previous version of C/AS1 contained only some minimal provisions for means of escape and focus on the length of escape routes. There were several items which been unclear - what we've done, we have added more clarity on the requirements for the escape routes, we explain what escape routes comprised of, how to measure escape routes, the requirements for height, width, doors, locks and more clarity on the external escape routes and location of final exit. These all details will provide more clarity and enable more consistent designs and BCA interpretation of requirements, hopefully.

Devin Glennie:  So let's talk a little bit more about those external safe paths. Where might this apply?

Slide 17


External Safe Paths explained by Tania Morgun showing attached units.


Tania Morgun: The external safe path is required where there is only one direction of escape to final exit. As this is a very common situation for densified construction, typically it would be for multi unit dwellings or where there would be multiple buildings on site. External escape routes have to be designed so that occupants can reach a final exit that is low likelihood of injuries. Occupants should not be exposed to radiation during escape or any falling debris. The final exit is a location where occupants can disperse or egress is provided at least in two direction. Final exit is typically a street or open space.

Devin Glennie: So what are the options to protect the external safe paths, what's been developed for C/AS1?

Tania Morgun: Oh there is three options and hopefully our Figure and description in paragraph would help you to visualize what the options are. One of the options is external safe path should be separated from a building, minimum of one meter from any adjacent buildings or fire cells. The second option is fire rated construction. In densified situation it's maybe not possible to separate external escape paths, so we asking for full length from the ground to the roof fire rated construction which is adjacent to external safe path wall. We also have options if nothing of this would be possible, for whatever reason, providing fire sprinkler system in fire cell adjacent to the external safe path.

Devin Glennie: So if we're talking about the first option of separating by distance, we also have to account for the width of the external safe path, that's right?

Tania Morgun: Figure should show that you're basically asking a one meter separation distance to the external safe path and also re-larifies that external safe path should be minimum of one meter. It's actually aligned with C/AS2, so no new requirements.

Devin Glennie: All right, and if you're trying to protect people, why are we fire rating the entire external wall? Why don't we just fire right up to the height of a person? Why do we have to fire rate the the height above that?

Tania Morgun: Good question - it's been asked at last seminar, so I will try to elaborate a little bit. Fire engineers probably all know, but I'm not sure what the audience is today. During the fires there is some event which might happen - it's called flashover. And during this fire flashover may happen very, very fast. For typical, average household it's maybe even less than five minutes, and in event of flashover the result is that all windows break and fire flames and debris is actually coming out of the windows. So, in densified construction occupants have early warning system by interconnected wireless smoke alarm, but standard New Zealand standards 4514 does not require interconnection with adjacent units. So, by the time when neighboring buildings would know about a fire and try to escape, even if safe path is provided, debris might fall from non fire rated windows, so this was a reason is that basically people have to be protected, not only from flames and radiation during the fire escape, but only from but also from debris that might fall on occupants or firefighters from the above. Therefore, the wall adjacent to escape route external walls should be fire rated all the way up to the roof.

Devin Glennie: All right. So you briefly talked about some of the other changes we made in the document. Do you just want to recap some of those?

Slide 18


Other changes in the document explained by Tania Morgun.


Tania Morgun: There was limited changes to the rest of the document at this time. We just aligned appendices and we aligned appendices with C/AS2. There was minor changes to part five which will basically align appendices and table so they're basically aligned and status quo for Part Five still remained. There was some minor changes for Part Seven once again, we just aligning changes made to C/AS2 in 2020, and there was some wording in the appendices change, and we cited the newest version of standards in appendix A, updating some definitions in appendix B and providing absolutely the same appendices, aligning them with C/AS2 for Fire Safety Systems and Fire Testing. And we had a question submitted before the webinar - has the requirement for structural stability, so structural fire spill stability been changed in C/AS1. At this stage, there was no more clarity in C/AS1 and no additional requirements have been added to part two. Generally structural stability is covered in New Zealand Building Code, Clause B1, which requires account shall be taken of all physical conditions, including the effect affect the stability of building and building elements, and this would include stability in fire event.

Devin Glennie: And another question we had, does C/AS1 require a fire rating between a residential unit and an adjacent flat?

Tania Morgun: As I mentioned, it's no changes to part five and paragraph, old paragraph 5.1.2. provide requirements for the notional boundary. Where there is a separate household unit on the property the notional bar boundary should apply between those units. And if required one or both of household, you need to meet a fire rating basically if it's less than one meter to notional boundary. For outbuildings these, which are not household units, a notional boundary would not need to apply on the same property, but if it's separate property, garages, or outbuildings, the requirements of part five would require fire rating. Attached shared garages require a fire separation from each household unit or other property as defined in the scope of the document.

Devin Glennie: All right, we had some other questions here about existing buildings. Do these changes apply retroactively to existing residential buildings?

Slide 19


Do these changes apply retroactively to existing residential buildings asked by Devin Glennie.


Tania Morgun: No, the requirements do not apply retrospectively unless there is alterations to the building or change of use. This would be covered under section 112 and section 115 of Building Act. Landlords should keep in mind these requirements for Residential Tenancy Act and the requirements for alarm and so on. However, there have not been changes now to this act as a result of the changes in C/AS1, not up to date.

Slide 20


Fire Safety Introduction slide with photo of Saskia Holditch.


Devin Glennie: All right, well, thank you, Tania. We're now going to bring in Saskia to talk a little bit more about the fire safety systems. So she's going to come in here. There we go. Saskia is a Senior Fire Engineer with experience in both industry and government in the Caribbean and Ontario and here in New Zealand. She's been part of our Building Performance Engineering team for the last four years or over four years. She was a past committee member for several of the New Zealand Fire Safety System standards as well as the International Society of Fire Protection Engineering’s committee on performance based design. Welcome, Saskia.

Saskia Holditch: Thanks, Devon, and great to be here.

Slide 21


Images of Standards documents for fire detection and sprinklers.


Devin Glennie: All right, the fire safety systems. We'll start off with the standards. Can you tell us what what what changed in the standards or what standards changed?

Saskia Holditch: We've had updates to the alarm standard 4512. And with the smoke alarm standard 4514, the sprinkler one was updated in 2020 - 4541, and then the Australian standard for ventilation has been updated as well. So with this acceptable solution update, we've included all the new versions, new citations of the standards. So a lot of, sorry, (Devin - keep going, yep) a lot of people are using, especially the New Zealand, standards already so they're probably familiar with the changes. In the fire alarm one, for instance, now includes wireless options has, not relevant to the acceptable solution, but more robust requirements for documentation of the systems. The visual alerting devices, specifications have been expanded, and there is the technology updates that have happened throughout the years have been included in there. The interconnected smoke alarms for houses also now allows for interconnectivity, sorry, wireless interconnectivity, and the standard itself has been updated with more relevant text. Some duplication has been removed, and also now allows for battery powered alarms, which didn't before, as long as they're, long life 10 year batteries. The sprinkler standard, there's been the water supply for tall buildings has been cut down a bit, no risk, the risk hasn't increased, but the requirements have been lessened a bit, so it's more cost effective. There's allowance for hydrant and sprinkler on the same system, and if you look at each standard in the in the forward, you can see all the changes that have occurred in each of the standards.

Devin Glennie: Yeah, great. So can you tell me just where are these standards are cited in the acceptable solutions and verification methods? So which documents cite them.

Saskia Holditch: So they're cited in C/AS1. C/AS2 is the main document where the requirements are for when you need to install all of these, so C/AS2 buildings outside of single family dwellings, smaller dwelling units, when you need an alarm system, you look in C/AS2, part two in there, same for the sprinkler 4541, interconnected smoke alarms, you would look into C/AS1 because that's more for houses, standalone units, and the smoke control AS/1668 is also C/AS2. C/VM2 also has some citations for the alarm and the sprinkler, and that's also been updated to the current, the latest edition.

Slide 22


NZS4514 Interconnect smoke alarms for houses explained by Saskia Holditch.


Devin Glennie: Yeah, so we briefly talked about some of these changes, but can you tell me just a little bit more about the interconnected smoke alarms? When we ask people before the webinar, they said this is what they were most interested in. So what are the main changes in 4514 for interconnected smoke alarms?

Saskia Holditch: So, the old the older version had, they needed to be wired in and they needed to be connected with wires and now you can have the batteries, long life batteries, and they can be wirelessly interconnected. So that means you don't have to necessarily get an electrician in there every time you want to update your system or install one of these systems. You can you know get them at the local hardware store and just put them on the ceiling yourself. The testing requirement is simplified. There was something there that the owner had to do a smoke test with their alarms and that was removed. And yeah, the document the, the language and the explanations are aimed towards the homeowner, not necessarily fire engineers. So that's been more explicit, and if you, there's some diagrams in there of locations where they should be installed, some example floor plans, and also some advice on, in certain trouble areas where you might expect more nuisance alarms, which type of smoke alarm to install.

Devin Glennie: So where are the smoke alarms used? Like what types of buildings, where you use an interconnected smoke alarm?

Saskia Holditch: This is aimed for houses, so the single family dwelling, the townhouses, not apartments in larger buildings generally are covered under the fire alarm for that building. This is for the single family residences. Yeah, the other, what we've changed as well so the alarm standard has changed and with that we've changed F7/AS1 where the requirements for domestic smoke alarms used to sit for the installation, and now we just point, goes, point straight to the standard to use that for in design and installation of that system. So that means that instead of just inside bedrooms or just outside the bedrooms now you have to put smoke alarms throughout your whole house including living rooms etc., and that means that if the fire occurs further from your bedroom, there'll be earlier detection and early warning, because you'll be alerted straightaway because the alarms are interconnected.

Slide 23


Question asked by Devin Glennie - are there cost effective options for interconnecting smoke alarms?


Devin Glennie: So we had another question before the webinar, which was, are there cost effective options for interconnecting smoke alarms?

Saskia Holditch: Well, the the fact that the we are right now, we are allowing battery operated smoke alarms and wireless interconnected smoke alarms means you don't have to hire an electrician to do that installation. So for new construction might not be an issue, but if you're doing a renovation and an upgrade to your home and your smoke alarm system, that means you can just go out to the hardware store and put them up yourself. The cost is not that much more for the interconnected ones, and as as the market grows and overseas, they're also becoming more and more common. We don't expect the prices to to go up, rather go down.

Devin Glennie: Yeah, and I can attest about that, they there are cost affordable options. Behind me, I put on my ceiling, there's an interconnected smoke alarm, which I installed a few years ago in my own home. It was just done by myself, wirelessly connected and just required a stepladder a couple screws.

Slide 24


Question being asked by Devin Glennie.


Devin Glennie: So another question we had, does these changes to interconnected smoke alarms, does it make it mandatory for all houses retroactively in November 2024?

Saskia Holditch: No, we don't do a retroactive requirements with the Building Code updates for fire. So it's only when any work triggers a consent. So either it's new construction, a new home or a renovation to your house that would require a consent and that then the council may ask that you upgrade your smoke alarm system as well.

Devin Glennie: Some of the installation locations are covered in the standard. If they're required throughout a house will you get a lot of false alarms?

Slide 25


Installation locations of smoke alarms presented by Saskia Holditch.


Saskia Holditch: So these are the diagrams that you can find in in the standard, and you can see there's for instance, if you look at the garage, which is a bad place to put a smoke alarm, because any car exhaust or even dust what then that you might have there might set off the alarm. So recommendation is to put a heat detector or heat alarm in the garage instead of a smoke alarm. You can look at different types: photoelectric, multisensor, and see in certain problem areas like outside the bathroom, if there's a lot of steam coming out of the shower, those might trigger the alarm. So you might want a different type of alarm there. Bear in mind, like smoke alarms are getting smarter and smarter. As everyone's trying to the manufacturers are also making them smarter to cut down on the nuisance alarms so in a couple of years, who knows, they might be thing of the past.

Devin Glennie: All right. So we're gonna move on a little bit, talk about the other standard fire alarm systems 4512. What were the main changes? You briefly mentioned them but what were some of main changes of that standard?

Slide 26


NZS4512 details explained by Saskia Holditch.


Saskia Holditch: So the visual alerting devices which means, very simply, a flashing light or some kind of visual alert that the fire alarm is going off. It's for deaf and people who are hard of hearing. So they already existed in the alarm for noisy environments, the specifications have been expanded to make them apply to throughout the building, not just for noisy environments, plant rooms and such. Wireless detection technologies now allow network systems, duct smoke detection. So all these sections in the alarm standard have been expanded. The committee looked at new industry technology, what was available out there and made sure the standard is up to date with current technology so we can keep up here in New Zealand. There are some seismic constraints for system components added and the maximum zone areas, so that's the how you program your system. Manual call points, everyone's familiar with those, at the exits. The, numero- quantities, the distances, the walking distance between them manual call points have been expanded a bit, location requirements have been revised. Yeah, some testing requirements have been made easier to comply with, the type five, the where apartment units and sleeping areas have a specific alarm type system that has been updated, again, keeping with the latest trends and developments and their features where smoke detectors can be substituted for heat detectors. So this is in commercial buildings, not just in houses, we also have false alarms there, dusty environments, manufacturing plants, etc. You're allowed to put, if the acceptable solution says you have to have smoke coverage, you're allowed to replace the number of smoke detectors with heat detectors. But that's up to 25%. It is not expected that that's going to be at have a big impact on the nuisance alarms with fire alarms in commercial buildings.

Slide 27


NZS4541 explained by Saskia Holditch.


Devin Glennie: All right, we'll move on to the fire sprinkler system standard 4541. What were some of the changes there?

Saskia Holditch: So these are just the main changes, the standard itself is a couple of 100 pages long, and try to condense it to one slide for this webinar. But yeah, the, all the New Zealand standards as they are getting updated, there's new section numbering instead of, I think it was three numbers for clause, and now it's the 1.01, etc. Like I mentioned, buildings over 45 meters high now have to comply with a more robust water supplies instead of at 25 meters. So for buildings between 25 and 45 meters high, the requirements have become a bit less stringent. It's more cost effective, and there is not no, no increase of risk or that the sprinkler will fail for these buildings. The seismic restraints for the pipe work have been updated and yeah, there's been some changes with car stackers, high piled storage and warehouse tracking with with some research, that they've been doing in the States, to make sure that we're aligned as well with with the latest research and the latest findings.

Devin Glennie: All right, what about the modifications to the standard? So it's as it's currently cited in C/AS2, it's got some modifications, what happened to those modifications?

Saskia Holditch: So the alarm standard has been cited without modification. The sprinkler standard, because there's some content in there that that cannot be consented, and that's the only reason why we've modified it - not because we don't agree with the content, and, for instance, that fire separations are part of the sprinkler system, whereas we have a whole acceptable solution explaining exactly what the fire separations are. So those were modified to say if you're using the standard to comply with this acceptable solution, then skip this part. It's basically no further changes than there were before. Just the numbers have been changed because the section numbers have changed in the sprinkler standard.

Devin Glennie: All right, um, another question that we had before the webinar, so it's not covered in these changes. We had a question about residential fire sprinkler systems. So once that may apply for a single house a domestic setting. Is this kind of work covered under the schedule one exemptions in the Building Act, or would it require a registered plumber to install a sprinkler system for residential home?

Saskia Holditch: So the 4517 sprinklers, which is basically it's it's part of your plumbing, which a commercial sprinkler is not, but 4517 allows for single family dwellings to use their domestic water supply to install a sprinkler system for life safety. Awesome feature if you are able to get it in your house, I would certainly recommend it. But because it's part of your plumbing system, you would have to get a plumber or a sprinkler fitter to install it for you.

Devin Glennie: All right. We'll move on to the fourth standard here, the AS/1668.1. What are some of the main changes in this standard?

Slide 28


AS 1668.1 explained by Saskia Holditch.


Saskia Holditch: Yeah, so that's been the older one has been updated a while ago, so we have to, we've just updated our documents as well to reflect that, because most people are using the newer version. There's updates to isolation switches, the signal transmission, how the systems interface, and also requirements on the documentation for each system. One change that did occur in this standard, it's no longer a joint standard, so any mention of our New Zealand alarm standard has been removed, and we cannot, the Australian alarm standard and New Zealand alarm standard are totally different, you cannot comply with both of them, so we've had to go through the document to say wherever it says, and I'm oversimplifying, but where it says that to comply with the Australian alarm standard, we need to make sure that you're complying with the New Zealand version, and we also made sure that, with that, there weren't any gaps in the information, so that smoke detector coverage is still compliant with the New Zealand standard.

Devin Glennie: Yeah, and so that kind of information, that's covered the modifications, which is on the appendix to C/AS2 about the standard.

Saskia Holditch: Yes

Devin Glennie: So we've talked about the standards. We'll move on here just to talk about some of the other changes to the proposal. Some of the other changes made as part of this topic here and C/AS2 - what are those other changes.

Slide 29


C/AS2 Table 2.2 explained by Saskia Holditch.


Saskia Holditch: So because we've updated the citation for the standards, we took the opportunity to look at part two, where the standards are, are mentioned, and just did a kind of clean up, if you will, we looked at some requirements that have been in our acceptable solution for a number of years, but with changing technology and the way we live nowadays, like the there was a requirement for a landline for the, for the fire alarm system to have a landline in your building, we've removed that because everyone nowadays has cell phones, and some other changes like that. We've also looked at the tables like you see here, and table 2.2 is a combination of all what used to be table 2.2.a through d. Put them all together, there was a lot of duplicate footnotes, that we've now only need one footnote, and it's just all on one page, easier to see.

Devin Glennie: Yeah, and at the same time we revised table 2.3. Can you tell me about that?

Slide 30


C/AS2 Table 2.3 and C/AS2 Figure 2.1 explained by Saskia Holditch.


Saskia Holditch: Yeah, so that was revised. The main change here is that some of the combinations, you have to pick a column and pick a row and where the two meet, that's your fire safety system requirement, and if you switch the column and the row, then you came up, in some cases came up with a different number. So we just made sure that that aligned both ways. And, sorry, figure 2.1, what used to be a paragraph about how to use the table and combine the risk groups, fire safety system requirements in one building. It's informative, so not really suitable for a paragraph, so we've made it a figure. So the information is still there. The content hasn't changed. It's just an informative figure, these are the steps.

Devin Glennie: Yeah, and just lastly, we briefly mentioned that the standards are cited in C/VM2. Can you just cover off what what changed and C/VM2 as part of this update last week.

Saskia Holditch: Literally just two years and the reference standards, list of reference standards. We've just changed the the year, edition of the standard, we haven't done anything to the content of C/VM2.

Devin Glennie: Yeah, that was just to get those up to date, so if you're using a sprinkler standard you're using the same one in C/VM2 as C/AS2 and the same with the fire alarm standard as well.

Saskia Holditch: Yes.

Slide 31 - Questions and Answers


Thank you slide with presenter in top right corner.


Devin Glennie: All right. Well, that wraps up our presentation. We have a number of questions here, so I'll bring you both back on and I'm going to start going through the questions. I'm going to try and pull out the ones for C/AS1 first, Tania, if I can. Let's see here.

Tania Morgun: I was trying to answer as I was listening to Saskia.

Devin Glennie: All right. There's one here about the external safe paths. Are these requirements applicable to a single unit that contains multiple households?

Tania Morgun: Building Act require us to protect household units, and as a property. I'm not quite clear about this questions my understanding is it's basically several household units on one property.

Devin Glennie: Yeah, I think it's where you have multiple household units in one building.

Tania Morgun: In one building, okay, so we would require a fire separation between separate households, if it's in the same building, and this basically would applicable to external safe path because different household, separate households have to be protected.

Devin Glennie: We have another one here we've covered but well, maybe we'll answer it again. Do the changes to the acceptable solutions - do they only relate to new builds or are they also used for alterations or extensions to buildings?

Tania Morgun: Oh, well, new version and old version always can be used for alterations or change of use for buildings. But you cannot mix these two versions, no edition one requirements partially and partially requirements from version two. But when you select what version you're using, you have to follow it in full and this will be only applicable if you do any alterations or change of use for any building.

Devin Glennie: What's.... I'm still scrolling through here, maybe we'll switch to some of the fire alarm questions. Saskia as well. The wireless interconnected smoke alarms. Are they connected via Wi Fi to each other? Or is there another type of signal?

Saskia Holditch: They use radio signals so you don't have to have Wi Fi in your home, you don't have to worry if the internet drops out, they will still work.

Devin Glennie: And another question, are all these standards free?

Saskia Holditch: Yes, they are. I'm not sure if we can share the link somehow. But if you go to the standards New Zealand website, the alarm and the smoke alarm standard are free. The sprinkler standard, unfortunately due to copyright issues, there is still a charge for that, but it's, it's reduced a lot from what the, what they used to charge for it. The Australian Standards unfortunately, you have to deal with Standards Australian and pay their fees, but New Zealand standards that we cite are mostly free except for sprinklers.

Devin Glennie: Yeah, and you can read about the sponsored standards on the Standards New Zealand website, if you just look for what sponsored, what standards are sponsored. There's about 120 that we sponsor access to so you can download those for free. Like Saskia mentioned that includes both the fire alarm and interconnected smoke alarm standards. Another question here was about the modifications to the standard. So there previously they had modifications. Do you just want to repeat again, which standards are used with modifications and the acceptable solutions and which ones are cited just as is?

Saskia Holditch: Yeah, so both sprinkler standards 4541 and 4515, they have some modifications to them. It doesn't really change the design of your sprinkler it just says what it can and cannot include for consenting purposes. The alarm standard didn't require such modifications and the Australian standard because it's cites an Australia alarm standard that's had to be modified so we comply with the New Zealand alarm requirements, and that's all in the appendix in C/AS2.

Devin Glennie: Another question, again, I think you've covered this but will the wireless interconnected smoke alarms will they still function if the power is cut?

Saskia Holditch: You should have battery backup or they're running solely on battery power, and again, they're connected with radio frequency, so as long as your alarms have power from batteries, your the interconnectivity will also work.

Devin Glennie: Yeah. If there's a type one system in a building, is it required to be listed on a compliance schedule?

Saskia Holditch: MBIE has issued some guidance to that effect, which is on the website. Inside a household unit? No, those are exempt from compliance schedules you don't need to. But the recommendation from MBIE is if you have a, I don't know, a dentist office with the security system with some smoke alarms attached to it, then technically, yes, they should be on a compliance schedule.

Devin Glennie: Do the interactive smoke alarms require regular inspection and maintenance, either on a frequency like annually, is there some sort of additional cost there for owners to get them maintained?

Saskia Holditch: The owner can do all of that themselves. There are requirements for inspection and maintenance, it's in 4514, which is freely available, it is in the back there like the test that you have to do, it's pushing a button, make sure it works. that's a very simplified version of that, but the owner cannot do everything themselves.

Devin Glennie: Just a clarification of 4512. You mentioned that it has requirements for VADs. Are VADs is required throughout a building in accordance with the standard?

Saskia Holditch: No, they are not the alarm standard is updated so the specifications are improved. But the requirements for VADs would come from the designer of the building depending on the requirements. Right now C/AS2 has no such requirements, but if the fire engineer, the owner wants some installed, and that's what drives them.

Devin Glennie: There was another question, you talked about the sponsored standards. Is there anything we can do about this? That's information from the Australian standards. Can we get sponsorship? Are those, or is that, or what does our sponsorship cover, at least?

Saskia Holditch: Our sponsorship covers the New Zealand standards, and then basically those we cite in our Building Code documents. So the Australian standards, any sponsorship of that would be hugely complicated and probably very expensive as well, like, I can't really speak to that. But I, right now the New Zealand standards and like you said, Devin, there's how many of them? So pretty big job.

Devin Glennie: Yeah, and some of it's limited by copyright issues as well, we are unable to provide access to for free. Right. Someone just asked a basic question about the presentation. Is it going to be available online?

Yes, we will have the presentation online, the new AS and VMs are already live, you can go download those today, this presentation is going to be recorded and posted online. Another question here about standards, the hydrant standard 451- , 4510. It was updated in 2022. Why was it not included in the previous consultation? Or is this part of this update?

Saskia Holditch: When we published the public consultation document, it hadn't been published yet. We cannot ask people's opinion on a standard that at that point just it wasn't available yet. Because it was, I think it was published six months after we proposed these changes, so that's why it kind of missed the boat on that. So it's definitely still on the radar to be updated with a future Building Code update.

Devin Glennie: Yeah, and we try to consult regularly on those updates to make sure that if there are changes in standards, we are capturing them when we can. We are still working through a little bit of a backlog here, but that's why we've created our update kind of process and phases, to make sure those things start recurring regularly to give people some predictability about when these will be coming out. A few more questions about C/AS1 Tania, I'm going to try and find a few of them that are related. There was one about the means of escape and the minimum width that's specified. Why was the minimum width specified as per D1/AS1 as opposed to NZS/4121?

Tania Morgun: We align width and height of escape routes with C/AS1. Oh, sorry, C/AS2 and the requirements is less strict than D1 and they are less strict than 4121. So theoretically designer may add additional requirements for the escpae route, if necessary, to counter for accessibility, but otherwise, we will having comments from public, why are we asking for a more strict requirements for escape routes than C/AS2? So after considering public feedback, we actually aligned them exactly with C/AS2, so no changes.

Devin Glennie: There's a question about the external escape route. So the one meter width under C/AS1, paragraph 3353. Does this area have to be clear if it's forming part of the escape route, does it have to be clear? Is there, can there be clotheslines or landscaping in that meter width?

Tania Morgun: Well, landscaping on escape routes not quite complying with these requirements, it should be absolutely clear. We don't have exit way as such requirements in C/AS1 because we only assuming it's going to be external safe path outside, but maybe we should be more clear on this but no definite- definitely no landscaping for escape paths.

Devin Glennie: Another question about the escape path, this one related to the path length measured down the length of stairs or across intermediate floors? So in C/AS1 are you required to do a multiplier like 1.2 times the length of the stairs?

Tania Morgun: Well, there is definit- different definition of how you travel basically, and measure this travel distances in C/VM2, and C/AS2, and C/VM2 you're applying actual travel distances, and it's covered by a speed of travel for vertical or horizontal travel. C/AS2 is very, very conservative document it does not include any allowance for speed of travel in different vertical or horizontal orientations. So C/AS2 including multipliers. C/AS1 took an approach that we can actually use for simplicity, simple travel distances without multipliers. We are covering life safety - it's more about provision of early detection, wired wireless smoke detection, but we decided to keep those affordable and simple solution. As it's our intent, we decided a simple way without using multipliers in C/AS1.

Devin Glennie: Yeah, and the difference in C/AS1 is that the stair travel might be quite limited. You might be one or two storeys. So the difference between adding a multiplier or not, it doesn't really affect the overall travel distance measured.

Tania Morgun: Overall, it's short travel distances, it's early warning, and people are familiar with escape routes, because it's household unit and it's all completely independent escape route, so a lot of, basically, margins are for safety.

Devin Glennie: Another question about the scope of C/AS1. In the consultation document, we had proposed requirements that would allow for self employed businesses within that use. Can you tell me what happened to that portion of the proposal?

Tania Morgun: Oh, well, we proposed last year, extensively, to change the scope of C/AS1. That was inclusion of various type of multi unit dwellings up to three storeys. We also try to clarify users which are permitted in this group, SH1 one, sorry, SH, and we try to include accommodations, various accommodation and also a business activity. At that time it was, if you remember, a lot of COVID lock downs and council was asking us to clarify what businesses are permitted or not permitted in residential houses because a lot of people have to provide for families and start working from home and apply for some changes for, say, residential houses. Unfortunately, we've got a huge pushback and feedback. A lot of people was agree and a lot of people being disagree. We're basically in positions that it's almost absolutely we accept feedback just about 50/50. So we decided to withdraw all these proposals at this time, and our scope remaining in the status quo. We're still considering how we will reflect all this feedback, and what is way forward from now.

Devin Glennie: Somebody else has asked about the scope of C/AS1. Does it cover simple low occupancy buildings, such as holiday park cabins, is that within the scope of risk group SH?

Tania Morgun: Cabins okay, it's absolutely different classified use. Because, if you look at, my understanding with cabins, it's something because there was a question if you have a camping ground, it's not typically this group - a SH one. It's very simple buildings, but they have to be designed under C/AS2 or a verification method. It's not residential building. It's somewhere where accommodation is provided. If it's your land, and you have like a tiny house before you build your main one, it's what we covered by SH group. But if it's a cabin within camping ground, or I don't know what else can be like this, multi-household and it's actually run as a business operation. It's not risk group - a SH one.

Devin Glennie: Yeah, and some of that may determine, maybe depending on how many people are there. There are provisions in C/AS1 that limitsthe accommodation and how many people are in that accommodation . So fewer than six people. So yeah, it's definitely something it's it still would have to be addressed on a case by case buildi- basis based on the building and its use. I saw a few more questions here about the standards again, Saskia, there was one that asked again, about I'll just repeat what we said about the sprinkler standard. It is not sponsored for free. The sprinkler standard, you do have to pay for access and there's there's a couple issues there will be around copywriting and the material that we can get around.

Saskia Holditch: Yeah, so it's partially sponsored where the price has reduced from I think $400, what, before we sponsored the standards to about $100 something so we have cut the price down, but not to zero unfortunately.

Devin Glennie: There's other questions here. I think I saw two of the same question about table 2.3. A couple of people have picked up that that some of the requirements for sleeping combined with other occupancies used to say type four, and now they say type five, do you just want to clarify the definition of type five as it's used in the new acceptable solution and why this change?

Saskia Holditch: Yeah, so a type four is a fire alarm system with smoke detection throughout the building and manual call points. A type five is a type four plus enhanced sleeping area coverage, which means that you can have local smoke alarm, smoke detector with a hush feature as long as there's heat detection in the room. So, obviously, the type five part of the alarm is for the sleeping areas only and the rest of the building is still type 4, so nothing really changes. It's just the wording of it. The entire building is covered by smoke detectors, just the sleeping areas are allowed to have those special features.

Devin Glennie: Again another question about interconnected smoke alarms. This was said to be the most interesting topic before people signed up, I can see now. The minimum battery life requirements, so what's the minimum battery life required within?

Saskia Holditch: Yeah, so it's a 10 year battery is supposed to be in there.

Devin Glennie: And same thing does that apply for the heat alarms under the standard? Can they be provided with a 10 year battery or do they have to be hardwired?

Saskia Holditch: That's up to you if you want to hardwire them go for it or if you want the battery operated one, we, the standard allows for both options and it's up to the homeowner to decide whether he wants to wire them in or use batteries, but if you use batteries, they should be the long life kind.

Devin Glennie: Yep. Another person asked if the standards are currently on the New Zealand Standards website? Yes, they are. They were published last year, the fire alarm standards they are available on Standards New Zealand's website. AS/1668, where can people get that one?

Saskia Holditch: That would be SAI Global, I believe is the website for that or Australian Standards website.

Devin Glennie: Somebody has asked Tania, again, about the external escape routes or external safe paths actually. Does the total escape route length apply, if it's within the allowable dead end open path, including the external part?

Tania Morgun: In travel distances, we allow up to safe path and safe path itself. But they're not having requirements for safe path from memory.

Devin Glennie: I think they're asking about the external safe paths. So once you're outside your house, do you still have to measure of travel distances to a final exit?

Tania Morgun: You, say, so figure out the length and we show that it's have to be measured until you reach the safe path, and safe path can be quite a distance, we understand that in some configurations you might have several buildings on site. So theoretically, we don't have a limitation of C/AS2 for lengths of safe path until you reach street or open space.

Devin Glennie: A question about the C/VM1 update. So it currently cites the 2001 version of 2918, the standard there. Was the updating it to the newest version that or the latest version, the 2018 version considered as part of this update?

Saskia Holditch: It was considered but we spoke to the Home Heating Association, and it's not, the standard doesn't work well for New Zealand. I can say that, currently. AS/2918 was it? It's a joint standard. It's currently under revision. We're on the committee, so hopefully, next year, there will be a newer one, there's more New Zealand input into that version, and hopefully what comes out will be something that can be cited and C/VM1 will be updated.

Devin Glennie: Somebody has asked about the firefighting requirements of I just want to iterate we didn't change the fire fighting requirements in C/AS1, that was kind of out of scope, and if you look at the Building Code provisions themselves and regulations, a lot of the typical housing that you'd find C/AS1 are excluded from those requirements. So that's part of the reason why it's out of scope. Another question about the F7 warning systems update, Saskia, has it been updated with new smoke alarm requirements?

Saskia Holditch: So, F7/AS1 has been gutted out. Gutted, we've taken the information the requirements for fire alarms and sprinklers and put them in C/AS2, and the requirements for domestic smoke alarms. We've removed that and C/AS1 and C/AS2 now go straight, refer straight to NZS/4514. So if you look at the current F7/AS1 you won't find any information there directly, but you'll be referred to C/AS1 or C/AS2 as applicable.

Devin Glennie: Someone else was asked about sleep outs, some buildings up to 30 meters squared. Do they require interconnected smoke alarms?

Saskia Holditch: Sleep out anywhere where people are sleeping, you should have smoke alarms, smoke detection, some form of smoke detection, smaller units like sleep outs, etc. you can get the smoke alarm and larger buildings, you'll have to have properly installed fire alarm system.

Devin Glennie: All right, I'm seeing a lot of questions here. Some of them we're unable to answer. They are request for guidance or things that are kinda outside what we can cover today. I'm not seeing new questions coming in, so I think we might wrap it up there, we will be recording all these questions we'll take a look at the ones might be able to answer after the webinar. If there's any more additional clarifications, we can send those out, or at least post them online. But I want to thank everybody for attending today and submitting your questions. Like I said, we haven't lost sight of these, it's just that some we can't, they're a little bit more detailed than what we can answer here in today's webinar. I want to thank Saskia and Tanya for attending and everyone who signed up. For now we're going to take a little bit of a break, and if you want to come back in another hour, we'll be here talking about our plumbing and drainage updates. Thank you everyone. We'll see you later.

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