Fire engineering audits
The New Zealand Fire Service Commission (NZFSC) has instigated a number of technical audits of the NZFS Engineering Unit’s work providing memos to Building Consent Authorities (BCA).
The 2 audits where undertaken in 2006, 2 more in 2009, and another audit was conducted in 2011. To allow the results to be compared the same approach was adopted for all audits.
Need for audits
The principal aim of the audits was to provide assurances to both the NZFSC and the Minister that the engineering unit was acting in a technically competent manner. Because the quality of the advice depends on the quality of the applications, the auditors were also asked to provide comment on the quality of, and the methodology employed in, the fire engineering reports received by the engineering unit.
What the auditors found
The two 2006 audits found that the selection of appropriate fire engineering methods in designs received by the engineering unit was unacceptable in 90% and 92% of cases respectively.
By the time of the two 2009 audits the figures had improved, but 2 different auditors still found the engineering methods to be unacceptable in 70% and 46% of cases respectively.
In addition to a technical audit in 2009 a process audit was also conducted. This was in response to concerns raised by a group of fire-engineering professionals regarding the review process the NZFS used. The outcome of this audit is also included here.
2006 Technical audits
The 2006 audits were undertaken by 2 highly respected fire-engineering organisations:
- Warrington Fire Research Melbourne. and
- The Centre for Environmental Safety and Risk Engineering at Victoria University, Melbourne.
The auditors were selected for their experience, independence and professional standing in the field of fire engineering.
The auditors each reviewed 5% of the building consent applications received at that time. Apart from being requested to choose a range of projects and designers, the auditors made their own selection of applications.
Read the 2006 audits from:
- Warrington Fire Research, Melbourne
- The Centre for Environmental Safety and Risk Engineering at Victoria University, Melbourne
2009 Technical audit
The 2009 audits were conducted by QStar Solutions Ltd and by Aurecon.
The same audit methodology used in the 2006 audits was used in the these audits to allow comparison of the results and conclusions.
Read the 2009 audits from:
2009 Process audit
The commission engaged the services of Michael Mills of Martin Jenkins & Associates to review the processes used by the engineering unit/design review unit in reviewing building consent applications. Martin Jenkins & Associates is a Wellington-based consulting firm who provide strategic management support and advice to a number of government agencies.
2011 Technical audit
The 2011 design review unit function audit was conducted by a team of experts from Arup, namely:
- M C Hui - Design and Technical Leader (Fire Engineering)
- Peter Johnson - Principal and Fellow
- Dave Barber - Global Fire Engineering Leader.
Find out more about the 2011 technical audit
NZFS Engineering Unit, PO Box 68 444, Newton, Auckland 1010
Download PDF: Warrington Fire Research Technical Audit of New Zealand Fire Service Design Review Unit
(Arcobat 5.0 or later, 3MB)
Download PDF: Victoria University, Melbourne, New Zealand Fire Service Design Review Unit Audit
(Arcobat 5.0 or later, 1MB)