Alternative solutions for fire safety design

An alternative solution is all or part of a building design that demonstrates compliance with the Building Code, but differs partially or completely from the relevant Acceptable Solutions or Verification Methods.

Acceptable Solutions and Verification Methods are published by MBIE. If followed, they must be accepted by a building consent authority (BCA) as complying with the relevant Building Code provisions.

For many building projects, especially complex ones, the generic requirements of the Acceptable Solutions and Verification Methods documents often do not fit. These types of projects will need to follow an alternative solution for fire safety design. 

The New Zealand Building Code is performance based and allows for innovation and uniqueness in design. Departures from the Acceptable Solutions and Verification Methods can result in the best outcome for a building project. It is not a necessary part of the process to justify why an alternative solution is being proposed.

The process of proposing an alternative solution, identifying the assessment methodology and acceptance criteria, documenting the solution and navigating through the approvals process can be complex. To assist in minimising the complexity of design and approval, the Fire Engineering Brief (FEB) process is recommended. This process will help key stakeholders to agree on the fire design assessment methods and acceptance criteria, plus the building consent review process (BCA or independent peer review).

Where the Building Code sits describes the building regulatory system.

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This information is published by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s Chief Executive. It is a general guide only and, if used, does not relieve any person of the obligation to consider any matter to which the information relates according to the circumstances of the particular case. Expert advice may be required in specific circumstances. Where this information relates to assisting people: