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Audit of DRU function 
Historical Audits 

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:

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.

Read Michael Mills’ report “An independent review of the New Zealand Fire Service’s role in providing advice to building consent authorities under section 47 of the Building Act 2004”


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

Design Review consents:

NZFS Engineering Unit, PO Box 68 444, Newton, Auckland 1010