Fire engineering brief

When a building is sufficiently complex to preclude using prescriptive guidance as a means of establishing compliance, a specifically-engineered solution is required (referred to as either alternative solution, or performance based engineering). This introduces the risk of delays and non-approval at consent stage. The fire engineering brief (FEB) serves to mitigate this risk by involving project stakeholders at an early stage, to ensure in-principle agreement over the methodology and parameters and that their respective perspectives are taken into consideration during the design process.

What is a fire engineering brief?

The FEB is a process in which relevant stakeholders are engaged at an early stage in the project to agree on the design methodology, and any specific requirements stakeholders may have. Typically, this will involve the preparation of the FEB document at the concept stage, followed by an iterative process to establish and agree the design methodology and inputs.

Fire and Emergency New Zealand supports the use of the FEB process set out in the International Fire Engineering Guidelines (IFEG), and recommends its use for all projects not involving the use of “simple” Acceptable Solutions.

When is Fire and Emergency New Zealand involved?

Fire and Emergency’s involvement in the FEB process is a voluntary free service, in which we provide advice on engineering matters and firefighting operations in a single, co-ordinated response.

Advice on engineering matters is provided by a fire engineer in the Fire Engineering Unit, and includes advice relating to:

  • the appropriateness of the design methodology
  • Building Code compliance relating to life safety, protection of other property and requirements for Fire and Emergency firefighters
  • other relevant legislation, including the Fire Safety and Evacuation of Buildings Regulations.

Advice on firefighting operations is provided by an appointed operational officer, and generally includes advice relating to:

  • firefighting facilities for use by attending firefighters, including water supplies, fire alarm panels, sprinkler system inlets, and controls for fire safety systems
  • access arrangements for attending firefighters.

It should be noted that Fire and Emergency may provide advice exceeding the Building Code requirement, in line with its principal objective under Section 10 (a) of the Fire and Emergency New Zealand Act 2017.

How to involve Fire and Emergency in the FEB process?

All enquiries should be made to the Fire Engineering Unit.