BC Update 229: MBIE publishes Fire safety design guide for residential community housing

On 28 March 2018, MBIE published the Fire safety design guide for residential community housing. The document provides guidance for community housing providers, fire engineers and building consent authorities when an alternative solution is used to demonstrate Building Code compliance.

This guidance was developed following stakeholder feedback on the 2012 edition of revised Fire Safety Acceptable Solutions C/AS1-7. The 2012 amendments to the Building Code and supporting fire compliance documents resulted in changes to the performance settings for treatment of residential community housing. These types of homes were classified with the same fire safety provisions as a hospital or prison.

Stakeholders noted this provided a ‘one size fits all’ approach, without considering the differing levels of care and mobility of occupants in residential community housing and their ability to self-evacuate in the event of a fire.

The intention is for the design guide to be used as an alternative solution framework for fire safety design of new residential community housing. It will help building consent authorities to determine a baseline level of fire safety compliance, taking specific occupant characteristics and their vulnerabilities into account.

This guidance was jointly developed by MBIE, the Ministry of Health, New Zealand Fire Service, Housing New Zealand, Community Housing Aotearoa, New Zealand Disability Support Network, Disabled Person Assembly and a building control officer representative.

Public consultation on the proposed guidance document took place from 17 July to 11 September 2017.

Fire safety design guide for residential community housing has further information.