The New Zealand Building Code is performance-based. It states how a building must perform in its intended use rather than describing how the building must be designed and constructed. Compliance with an acceptable solution or verification method is a means for establishing compliance with the building code, but are not the only means.
If your fire safety design does not use an acceptable solution as a means of compliance, then a specific fire engineering analysis is required to establish compliance with the building code using a verification method or an alternative solution.
A fire engineering brief (FEB) process is used to define the scope of work for the fire engineering analysis. This process involves an early discussion between key stakeholders on the project scope, analysis methodologies, design acceptance criteria and any potential regulatory constraints.
As a minimum, the key stakeholders include the fire designer, the peer reviewer, a representative from Fire and Emergency New Zealand (FENZ), a representative from the building consent authority (BCA) and a representative for the property owner. The fire designer and peer reviewer are required to have chartered professional engineer status in fire engineering.
Typically, the draft FEB documentation will have a concept design prepared by a suitably qualified fire engineer. The concept fire design should include plans, details of occupant characteristics, an initial determination of the preferred active and passive fire safety systems, and a list of any challenging matters for discussion.
Fire engineers can refer to the International Fire Engineering Guidelines(external link) or other internationally recognised standards for further information regarding the content of fire engineering brief documentation.