Emergency Evacuation

A building owner is required by law to ensure their building complies with the Fire Service Act 1975 and the Fire Safety and Evacuation of Buildings Regulations 2006.

Under current legislation, building owners are responsible for implementing and maintaining an evacuation plan (be it a scheme or procedure). Building tenants are legally required to comply with the plan the owner puts in place.

Some buildings must have an “approved evacuation scheme” which is lodged with Fire and Emergency NZ. In general, this applies when the building meets one or more of the following criteria:

  • The gathering together, for any purpose, of 100 or more people
  • Providing accommodation services for more than 5 people
  • Providing employment for 10 or more people
  • A place where hazardous substances are present in quantities exceeding the prescribed minimum amounts
  • Providing early childhood facilities
  • Providing nursing, medical, geriatric or disability care

Note there is an exemption if you own a building with an automatic sprinkler system which is used as a place of work for 10 or more people.

If your building does not fall within any of the categories listed above, an evacuation procedure is required. An evacuation procedure is a plan that describes how occupants will escape to a place of safety if there is a fire or suspected fire. Evacuation procedures do not need Fire and Emergency NZ approval. The requirements for evacuation procedures are set out in Part 1 of the Regulations.

Trial Evacuations

For approved schemes, there is a requirement to complete either trial evacuations or an evacuation training programme at least once every six months. To keep your scheme current and maintained you must notify Fire and Emergency NZ each time this requirement has been completed.

For evacuation procedures, there is no requirement to conduct regular trial evacuations, however a tenant’s Health and Safety system may prescribe yearly evacuations if required.

NAI Harcourts BCRE can manage this process for you- from implementing an evacuation scheme, through to submission with the NZ Fire Service (if required) and the management of trial evacuations/ regular drills.