What the determination was about
- Key locks on exit doors in a commercial building (retail and food outlets)
- Whether locked doors provide an adequate means of escape from fire when the building has no occupants
- Meaning of the term “occupants”
- IQP issues clean 12A and BWOF issued
- Councils audits building
- The Council issued a Notice to Fix saying:
Note: although the notice also referred to the missing detail on the Compliance Schedule for some specified systems this was not under dispute.
The applicant challenged the notice by taking a determination. ResultsAre key locks allowed? No!
Locks (on an escape path) that automatically relock on closing (and require a key to open) do not comply.
Ref: C4.2 of NZ Building Code Who is an occupant?
We all know there are gaps between the Building Act, the NZ Building Code and FENZ regulation with regards to the definition of what is an occupant of a building. Are they just lawful occupants or are we insuring trespassers and thieves can also escape?
The term occupant is not defined in the Building Act or Building Code. The TA contended that the owner had to allow for BOTH lawful and unlawful occupants to escape. However, MBIE endorses the view that “occupant”
means someone who is lawfully on the premises
(Note the TA considers). Read the determination detail on this point. It is interesting. References
What is the interpretation of the word “occupant”, and does that include unlawful occupants?
- Acceptable Solution C/AS4, paragraph 3.15.2, states that “locking devices on doors on escape routes shall be ‘designed to be easily operated without a key’ only applies where a person is lawfully in the building.
- “Lawfully occupied” in the Fire Safety and Evacuation of Buildings Regulations 2006, refers to the lawful intended use of the building, not the occupants.
- The new Fire and Emergency New Zealand Act 2017 and the Fire and Emergency NZ (Fire Safety, Evacuation Procedures, and Evacuation Schemes) Regulations 2018 both describe; an “occupier, in relation to a building, includes any person lawfully entitled to be in the building (for example, a visitor).
- The Building Code and Building Act do not differentiate between lawful occupants who should be kept safe, and other occupants who should not.
Every retail space in NZ, or most of them, will not comply if the definition of “occupant” is changed to any person, any time.