Fire safety in New Zealand buildings is controlled by the Building Act 2004 which requires that buildings be designed and constructed to provide safety to occupants and fire fighters in the event of a fire, and to prevent fire from spreading to other occupancies.
The Building Act requires that the Building Regulations (known as the Building Code) be met. The Building Code specifies objectives, functional requirements and performance for fire safety. These are mandatory requirements which can be achieved in three different ways:
There is not yet an approved Verification Method for fire design, so most buildings are designed using the Acceptable Solution with alternative solutions used in special cases.
Because the Building Code is a “performance-based code” it does not specify particular materials or construction methods, but concentrates on the required performance. This generally allows timber to be used on a “level playing field” with other materials.