In a first for the country, Health New Zealand | Te Whatu Ora has worked collaboratively to develop fire engineering design guidelines specifically for public hospitals. 

Health NZ joined with Fire and Emergency New Zealand and the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment so they can now use the guidelines for hospital refurbishments and new developments. 

Effective from 1 July 2024, the Design Guidance Note: Fire Engineering Design for New Zealand Public Hospitals is a technical document that provides the minimum requirements for fire safety and design procedures that are expected by Health NZ.

This will be a useful reference for regulatory bodies, such as FENZ and Building Consent Authorities, when carrying out their responsibilities.

“In developing the guidance, we worked with leading fire engineers and a health Architect who have experience in the fire engineering design for New Zealand public hospitals. MBIE and FENZ were active participants in the group,” says Stacey Marsh, Health New Zealand’s Head of Infrastructure Asset Management. 

“To have this finalised guidance also endorsed by FENZ and MBIE means that, for designs following the guidance, BCAs and the FENZ Engineering Unit as reviewers can have greater confidence when considering the issue of building consents.

“It was important for Health NZ to standardise practice across our buildings, meet legal requirements, provide for occupant safety, and follow good fire engineering practice,” says Mrs Marsh.

Health NZ developed the Design Guidance Note: Fire Engineering Design for New Zealand Public Hospitals to improve consistency to infrastructure design.

The key benefits for Health NZ in adopting these guidelines include: 

  • Nationally consistent design guidance which supports fit-for-purpose facility development and provides clear and consistent design expectation
  • Standardisation of fire design processes, which will reduce the risk of time and cost overruns on health infrastructure projects
  • Further clarity of our requirements covering fire design and evacuation when applying to health facilities

The Fire DGN, published here, is now in place and will apply to the design of all new public hospitals, in the concept design stage or earlier.  




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