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Recent Changes to Fire Legislation



Amendments to Regulations

The
Fire Safety and Evacuation of Buildings Regulations 2006 revoke and replace the Fire Safety and Evacuation of Buildings Regulations 1992.

Part 1 prescribes standards of fire safety, including evacuation procedures, for buildings of the type described in Schedule 1.

Part 2 prescribes the matters to be included in an evacuation scheme for a building for which its owner is required to provide and maintain an evacuation scheme under section 21B of the Act. This Part also prescribes:
  • the minimum amounts of hazardous substances for the purposes of section 21A(1)(d) of the Act; and
  • the minimum standards for automatic sprinkler systems for the purposes of section 21B of the Act; and
  • process requirements and forms in relation to applications for approval by the National Commander of evacuation schemes under section 21C of the Act; and
  • forms for matters relating to sections 21A to 21I of the Act.

Amendments to Acts

Amendments to the
Fire Service Act 1975 and the Forest and Rural Fires Act 1977 are now in force. The amendments are as follows:


Fire Service Act 1975
  • Establishment of New Zealand Fire Service
Section 3(1A) of the principal Act is repealed.
  • Functions and powers of Commission as National Rural Fire Authority
Section 14A(2)(e) of the principal Act is repealed.

Section 14A(2)(j) of the principal Act is amended by omitting the words
"for the purpose of approval of rural fire plans prepared by Fire Authorities".

Section 14A(2) of the principal Act is amended by adding the following
paragraphs:

"(k) to set, in consultation with Fire Authorities, minimum standards for
Fire Authorities in relation to the following matters:
        "(i) the training, equipping, and clothing of Fire Officers (as defined in
        section 2 of the Forest and Rural Fires Act 1977) and any other persons
        required by a Fire Authority to attend a fire:

        "(ii) achieving timely responses to fires:

        "(iii) fire weather observation:

        "(iv) assessing fire hazards:
"(l) to audit Fire Authorities' compliance with the standards set under
paragraph (k):

"(m) to monitor and evaluate the performance of Fire Authorities under the
Forest and Rural Fires Act 1977."

  • New section 14AB inserted
The principal Act is amended by inserting, after section 14A, the following
section:

"14AB Duty to consult Fire Authority before finalising performance
evaluation

In performing its function under section 14A(2)(m), the National Rural Fire
Authority must, before finalising an evaluation of a Fire Authority's
performance, consult with the Fire Authority by giving it --

"(a) a copy of the draft evaluation; and

"(b) a reasonable opportunity to make --
    "(i) written submissions on the draft evaluation; and
    "(ii) oral submissions on the draft evaluation through a representative."
  • Responsibilities of National Rural Fire Officer
Section 17X(1)(d) of the principal Act is amended by omitting the words "which
shall, among other things, approve, for the purpose of claims on the Rural
Fire Fighting Fund, the fire plans of each Fire Authority (which plans shall
be in accordance with the Rural Fire Management Code of Practice)".

  • Functions of Commission in relation to the promotion of fire safety
Section 21 of the principal Act is amended by renumbering subsection (5)
(inserted by section 149 of the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act
1996) as subsection (4A).

  • New sections 21A to 21I substituted
The principal Act is amended by repealing section 21A, and substituting
the following sections:
  • Relevant building defined for purposes of sections 21B to 21G
"(1) In sections 21B to 21G, relevant building means a building or part of
a building used for 1 or more of the following purposes:
    "(a) the gathering together, for any purpose, of 100 or more persons:

    "(b) providing employment facilities for 10 or more persons:

    "(c) providing accommodation for more than 5 persons (other than in 3 or
    fewer household units):

    "(d) storing or processing hazardous substances in quantities exceeding
    the prescribed minimum amounts:

    "(e) providing early childhood facilities (other than in a household
    unit):

    "(f) providing nursing, medical, or geriatric care (other than in a
    household unit):

    "(g) providing specialised care for people with disabilities (other than
    in a household unit):

    "(h) providing accommodation for persons under lawful detention (not being
    persons subject to home detention).

"(2) However, in sections 21B to 21G, relevant building does not include --
    "(a) a Crown building, or class of Crown building, that is specified by
    the Minister by notice in the Gazette; or

    "(b) premises of the mission (as defined in the First Schedule of the
    Diplomatic Privileges and Immunities Act 1968).
  • Owner must provide and maintain evacuation scheme for relevant building
"(1) The owner of a relevant building must provide and maintain an
evacuation scheme that is designed to enable evacuation from the scene of a
fire safely and within a reasonable time, --
    "(a) if the building has an automatic sprinkler system, to a place of
    safety inside or outside the building; and

    "(b) in every other case, to a place of safety outside the building.

"(2) However, the owner of a relevant building is not required to provide
and maintain an evacuation scheme for the building if --
    "(a) the building is used for a purpose specified in section 21A(1)(b) or
    (c); and

    "(b) the building has an automatic sprinkler system.
"(3) Subsection (2) is subject to section 21E.

"(4) In this section, --

"automatic sprinkler system means an automatic sprinkler system that
satisfies the minimum standard required by regulations made under
section 92(2)(nd)

“evacuation scheme means an evacuation scheme that complies with
regulations made under section 92(2)(nc)

“owner, in relation to a building for which a unit plan within the
meaning of section 2 of the Unit Titles Act 1972 has been deposited, means the
body corporate.
  • Owner must apply to National Commander for approval of evacuation scheme
"(1) The owner of a relevant building must apply to the National Commander
for approval of the evacuation scheme provided for the building under section
21B.

"(2) The application must be in writing in the prescribed form.

"(3) The National Commander must notify the owner of the building in
writing of the outcome of the application.

"(4) If the application is rejected, the owner of the building must
reapply to the National Commander for approval of an amended evacuation scheme,
as if the application for approval was an application under subsection (1).
  • National Commander may exempt from requirements
"(1) The National Commander may exempt an owner of a relevant building
from complying with the requirements of section 21B.

"(2) The National Commander must not exempt the owner under this section
unless satisfied that there are structures and systems in place for the
building that will ensure that, if there is a fire within the building, people
may safely evacuate from it.
  • Owner must notify National Commander if section 21B(2) applies to relevant building
"(1) The owner of a relevant building to which section 21B(2) applies must
notify the National Commander that the building does not require an evacuation
scheme.

"(2) The notification must be in writing in the prescribed form.
  • Powers of entry of National Commander
"(1) The National Commander may enter a relevant building for the purposes
of ascertaining whether, or to what extent, the owner of the building is
complying with the requirements of section 21B.

"(2) The National Commander must --
      "(a) give at least 24 hours' written notice to the owner and occupier of
      the building before entering the building; and

      "(b) identify himself or herself when entering the building and, if
      requested, at any later time.
"(3) If the owner or occupier of the building is not present at the time
the National Commander enters and inspects the building, the National Commander
must --
    "(a) leave in a prominent location on or in the building a written
    statement that includes the following information:

      "(i) the time and date of the entry; and

      "(ii) the name of the National Commander (and fact of his or her status);
      and

      "(iii) the reasons for the entry; and

      "(iv) the address of the National Commander to which enquiries should be made; and

    "(b) take all other reasonable steps to give the information in paragraph (a) to the owner or occupier of the building.
"(4) In this section and section 21G, National Commander includes any
person authorised in writing by the National Commander.
  • District Court order closing relevant building
"(1) If the owner of a relevant building has failed to comply with the
requirements of section 21B, the National Commander may apply to a District
Court Judge for an order that the building be closed until those requirements
are met.

"(2) The National Commander must give the owner concerned at least 10
days' written notice before applying for an order.

"(3) Before making an order, the District Court Judge must --
    "(a) conduct a hearing, and give the National Commander and the owner of
    the building an opportunity to be heard; and

    "(b) be satisfied that the owner has failed to comply with the
    requirements of section 21B.

  • Voluntary application for approval of evacuation scheme
"(1) An owner of a building that is not a relevant building may apply to
the National Commander for approval of an evacuation scheme for the building.

"(2) The application must be in writing in the prescribed form.

"(3) Section 21B applies, with all necessary modifications, to an
application under this section as if the application were an application under
section 21C.

"(4) No order under section 21G may be made in relation to a
building to which this section applies.
  • Previously approved evacuation schemes
An evacuation scheme is to be treated as having been approved under section
    21C if --

    "(a) the National Commander approved the evacuation scheme under any Act
    or regulations; and

    "(b) the approval was given before the commencement of section 18 of the
    Statutes Amendment Act (No 4) 2003."
  • Functions, duties, and powers of Chief Fire Officer
Section 28(3B) of the principal Act is amended by omitting the word
"an" in the second place where it occurs.

  • Eligibility for grant assistance
(1) Section 46C(1)(b) of the principal Act is repealed.

(2) Section 46C(1) of the principal Act is amended by inserting, after
paragraph (c), the following paragraph:
    "(ca) at the time the fire occurred, the most recent evaluation of the
    Fire Authority's performance under section 14A(2)[(m)] was considered
    satisfactory by the National Rural Fire Authority; and".

  • Regulations
(1) Section 92(2) of the principal Act is amended by inserting, after
paragraph (nb), the following paragraphs:
    "(nba) prescribing, for the purposes of section 21A, the minimum
    amounts of hazardous substances stored or processed in a relevant building:

    "(nc) prescribing, for the purposes of section 21B, the matters to
    be included in an evacuation scheme:

    "(nd) prescribing, for the purposes of section 21B, the minimum
    standards required for automatic sprinkler systems:

    "(ne) prescribing the form of --

      "(i) applications under sections 21C and 21H; and

      "(ii) notifications under section 21E:".
(2) Section 92(3) of the principal Act is repealed.

  • Consequential amendment to Forest and Rural Fires Act 1977 Section 56(2)(a)(iii) of the Forest and Rural Fires Act 1977 is repealed.

These provisions took effect on 17 May 2005, with the exception of new sections 21A to 21I and amendments to Section 92.

Under the Fire Service Amendment Act Commencement Order 2006 sections 21A to 21I and amendments to section 92 come into force on 1 October 2006.


Forest and Rural Fires Act 1977
  • Interpretation
(1) Section 2(1) of the principal Act is amended by repealing the definition
of Fire Authority, and substituting the following definition:

"Fire Authority, --

"(a) in relation to a rural fire district, means --
    "(i) the rural fire committee in which the administration of the district
    is vested; or

    "(ii) the Minister of Conservation; or

    "(iii) the Minister of Defence (unless stated otherwise in the
Gazette notice constituting the district):
    "(b) in relation to a State area, means the Minister of Conservation:

    "(c) in relation to the fire safety margin attached to a State area, means
    the Minister of Conservation to the extent provided by sections 11A and 11B:

    "(d) in relation to a territorial area, means the territorial authority
    having jurisdiction for the area:

    "(e) in relation to an area subject to an agreement made under section
    14(1) or section 14(2), means the party appointed to act, to the extent
    provided by the agreement:

    "(f) in relation to an area in respect of which a territorial authority
    exercises the powers of a Fire Authority under section 9(b), means the
    territorial authority to the extent provided by the agreement between the New
    Zealand Fire Service Commission, the National Rural Fire Authority, and the
    territorial authority".

(2) Section 2(1) of the principal Act is amended by repealing the definition
of fire safety margin, and substituting the following definition:

"fire safety margin --
    "(a) in relation to a State area (other than land administered by the Minister of Conservation pursuant to section 9A of the Foreshore and Seabed
    Endowment Revesting Act 1991), means the land outside the State area that is within 1 km [of] the boundary of the State area, excluding any land --

      "(i) specified in a Gazette notice given under section 11B:

      "(ii) in a fire district within the meaning of the Fire Service Act 1975:

      "(iii) in a rural fire district; and

    "(b) in relation to a forest area, means the land outside the forest area
    but within such a distance (not exceeding 1 km) from the boundary of the forest
    area as is approved by the Fire Authority for the area; but

    "(c) does not include any land being the whole or part of a defence area within the meaning of the Defence Act 1990".
(3) The definition of State area in section 2(1) of the principal Act is
amended by --
    (a) omitting from paragraph (a)(vi) the word "and", and substituting the
    word "but"; and

    (b) repealing paragraph (b).

(4) The definition of State area in section 2(1) of the principal Act is
amended by adding to paragraph (c) the following subparagraph:
    "(x) any fire safety margin attached to a State area by operation of this
    Act".
(5) Section 2(1) of the principal Act is amended by repealing the definition
of territorial area, and substituting the following definition:

"territorial area means the land within the boundaries of a territorial
authority that is not otherwise included in --
    "(a) a rural fire district; or

    "(b) a fire district within the meaning of the Fire Service Act 1975; or

    "(c) a State area; or

    "(d) a fire safety margin attached to a State area".

  • New sections 11A and 11B inserted
The principal Act is amended by inserting, after section 11, the following
sections:

"11A Fire safety margins

"(1) The Minister of Conservation must carry out fire control measures
within a fire safety margin attached to a State area.

"(2) For the purposes of subsection (1), --
    "(a) the Minister of Conservation --
      "(i) has the powers, duties, and immunities of a Fire Authority; and

      "(ii) must carry out the duties of a Fire Authority as if --

        "(A) the fire safety margin were a part of a State area; and

        "(B) the Minister were the Fire Authority for the State area; and
    "(b) the officers and employees of the Director-General of Conservation --

      "(i) have the powers, duties, and immunities of the officers and employees
      of a Fire Authority; and

      "(ii) must carry out the duties of the officers and employees of a Fire
      Authority within the fire safety margin.
  • Exclusion of land from fire safety margin
"(1) The National Rural Fire Authority may, by notice in the Gazette at
the request of the Minister of Conservation, exclude from the fire safety
margin attached to a State area --
    "(a) any land forming part of the fire safety margin; or

    "(b) all the land forming the fire safety margin.

"(2) Section 4 applies (with all necessary modifications) to a notice
under subsection (1) as if the notice were a notice under that section."

  • Amendments consequential on new section 11A
(1) Section 23 of the principal Act is amended by --
    (a) omitting from subsection (1)(a)(iii) the word "of" in the first
    place where it occurs, and substituting the words "attached to"; and

    (b) omitting from subsection (1)(b)(i) the word "of" in the first place
    where it occurs, and substituting the words "attached to".

(2) Section 25(2)(a) of the principal Act is amended by omitting the word
"thereof", and substituting the words "attached to a State area".

(3) Section 35(1)(a) of the principal Act is amended by omitting the words
"external fire safety margin of any", and substituting the words "fire safety
margin attached to a".

(4) The heading to section 46A of the principal Act is amended by omitting
the word "of" in the second place where it occurs, and substituting the words
"attached to".

(5) Section 46A(1) of the principal Act is amended by omitting the words "of
the State" in both places where they occur, and substituting in each case the
words "attached to the State".

  • Duties of Fire Authorities
(1) Section 12 of the principal Act is amended by repealing subsection (1),
and substituting the following subsections:

    "(1) Every Fire Authority must promote and carry out fire control measures
    in its district.

    "(1A) Every Fire Authority must comply with the standards set by the
    National Rural Fire Authority under section 14A(2)[(k)] of the Fire Service Act
    1975."
(2) Section 12 of the principal Act is amended by repealing subsection (4),
and substituting the following subsections:
    "(4) A Fire Authority must keep and maintain a current fire plan for its
    district.

    "(4A) A fire plan must contain the prescribed information.

    "(4B) A fire plan must be available for public inspection, free of charge,
    at the office of the Fire Authority during ordinary office hours.

    "(4C) Failure to comply with subsection (4) does not invalidate any fire
    control measure promoted or carried out by the Fire Authority."
  • Joint, etc, exercise of statutory fire control powers
Section 14 of the principal Act is amended by repealing subsections (5), (5A),
and (5B).

  • Recovery from person responsible for fire
Section 43 of the principal Act is amended by inserting, after subsection (1),
the following subsection:
    "(1A) To avoid doubt, section 86 of the Fires Prevention (Metropolis) Act
    1774 (Imp) does not apply --

      "(a) in determining, for the purposes of this section, responsibility for
      the outbreak or threat of outbreak of fire; or

      "(b) to a recovery made under this section."

  • Regulations
Section 67(2) of the principal Act is amended by repealing paragraph (g), and
substituting the following paragraph:

    "(g) prescribing the content of fire plans:".
These provisions took effect on on 17 May 2005.

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Last updated: 23/05/2006