The short answer is no, not yet.
Although the Fire and Emergency New Zealand Act 2017 comes into force on 1 July 2017, the sections of the Fire Service Act 1975 that refer to evacuation schemes are remaining in force until the Fire Safety and Evacuation of Buildings Regulations 2006 have been updated. Until the Regulations are updated, evacuation schemes will continue to be approved under the Fire Service Act 1975.
The process to review and update the Regulations is due to commence shortly and will include public consultation. If you'd like to be involved, more information on this process will be provided here when it's available.
You can contact the Fire Service Area Office for your building. The contact details for the Area Offices are listed in our Contact Details guide.
A building owner must ensure the building complies with the Fire Service Act 1975 ('Act') and the Fire Safety and Evacuation of Buildings Regulations 2006 ('Regulations'). Any building used in whole or part for one or more of the following purposes is defined as a 'relevant building' by the Act and must have an approved evacuation scheme:
Owners of buildings with an automatic sprinkler system (which meets the criteria set out in the Regulations) and which are only used for either (2) or (3) and no other uses do not need an approved scheme. However, owners of those buildings must give the National Commander notice that the building does not need an evacuation scheme. A notification template is available from our Printable Forms page.
An evacuation procedure is a plan that describes how occupants will escape to a place of safety if there is a fire or suspected fire.
Evacuation procedures do not need Fire Service approval. The requirements for evacuation procedures are set out in Part 1 of the Regulations.
Most buildings other than dwellings must at least have an evacuation procedure in place, but if a building is a relevant building (see ‘Does my building need an approved evacuation scheme?’ above) then the building owner must provide and maintain an approved evacuation scheme.
Owners of buildings that are not relevant buildings may apply for Fire Service approval of a voluntary evacuation scheme. If the building is not a relevant building because it is not used for one or more of the uses listed in section 21A of the Act, then the application is voluntary.
The easiest way is to apply online using the link below. You will need to logon using RealMe before you can apply online.
We have a range of Quick Reference Guides and example application documents to help you get started. You are welcome to use our example documents as the basis for your own application however please ensure that all details are updated to correctly reflect your own building.
There are also a number of independent Evacuation Consultants nationwide who can be hired to develop and implement your evacuation scheme. The Fire Service recommends Evacuation Consultants who are certified by the Fire Protection Association of New Zealand (FPANZ). A directory of certified Evacuation Consultants is available from their website here.
If you need approved evacuation schemes for similar buildings (e.g. a chain of retail stores, or multiple buildings on one site) here are a few tips that may help to make it easier.
The Fire Service has 20 working days from receiving the application to make a decision. The decision may not necessarily be to approve the application.
If the application is not approved the Fire Service will notify the applicant in writing. Once the applicant has amended and resubmitted their application, the Fire Service has 20 working days from receiving the resubmission to make a decision.
Yes, however this can never be guaranteed as there are a number of factors that could affect the processing and decision times for each application.
To request faster processing of your application, please submit your application first and then email the Fire Information Unit (email@example.com) explaining the reasons for your request. If you have submitted your application online, please provide your application reference number (starting with EV-) as well.
This is usually only necessary if your building will be using “places of safety inside”, however we may visit some buildings to ensure we have a clear understanding of the procedures that have been submitted to us for approval.
There is no cost to apply for an evacuation scheme.
No this is not a requirement, but it is recommended by the Fire Service.
Not necessarily. The Regulations do not require fire safety systems beyond those specified in the building legislation in place at the time the building was built, however you do have to have an appropriate means to warn people in the building of a fire and in some cases the installation of an alarm system may be the best option.
As part of your application you must select whether to do trial evacuations or an evacuation training programme. Note – buildings used for providing early childhood facilities (other than in a household unit) or as educational institutions must select trial evacuations.
Trial evacuations usually involve all of the building occupants participating in a 'fire drill' where a fire emergency is simulated – i.e. sounding the alarm, evacuating the building, accounting for all occupants, etc.
Evacuation training programmes must demonstrate how the permanent occupants (staff, residents, etc) are trained to manage an evacuation of all the occupants from the building in an emergency. This is often the most suitable option for buildings whose occupants are likely to be transient (e.g. Motels, Theatres, etc) or need assistance to evacuate.
You may like to check our Application Reference Guide. This is a full application form with plenty of helpful tips to explain the detail needed when completing your own application.
Your approved scheme will include a requirement to complete either trial evacuations or an evacuation training programme at least once every six months. To keep your scheme current and maintained you must notify the Fire Service each time this requirement has been completed. For full details please refer to our Maintaining your approved evacuation scheme guide.
If your approved evacuation scheme requires regular trial evacuations, the building owner must:
If your approved scheme was applied for online you can complete the notifications and reporting through our website. For full details please refer to our Maintaining your approved evacuation scheme guide.
The Fire Service recommends that the person managing the trial evacuation calls 111 as part of the trial evacuation, however you may choose to role play this task. Refer to Appendix D of The Guide to Evacuation Schemes for more information.
No, emergency evacuations and/or false alarms cannot be treated as trial evacuations for the purposes of the notice requirements in the 2006 Regulations. Where there is a real evacuation the building owner will not have been able to give the Fire Service the notice needed before a trial evacuation takes place.
There is no provision under the Regulations to amend an approved evacuation scheme, however a new application can be submitted at any time to replace an existing scheme.
Please note that the building owner must notify the National Commander in writing if one or more of the following events occur:
A notification template is available from our Printable Forms page.
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Go to the RealMe website to find out more.
Yes, if the approved scheme was applied for online. Transferring the scheme to another RealMe logon will allow that person to continue the ongoing maintenance needed for an approved scheme. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to request a scheme transfer.
Every application will need supporting files to be attached – you will be prompted to do this as you complete your application. Supporting files must be either JPG, JPEG or PDF.
JPG and JPEG are the most common file types for images taken with digital cameras and are widely used for photos.
PDF documents can be used across many different types of computers and browsers. Many software programs include an option to convert an existing document to PDF format, however if you don’t have this option you may like to try one of the free PDF converter websites below.
The evacuation scheme online application is an HTML form. When you cut and paste information from other applications (e.g. Microsoft Word) into HTML forms it can cause problems such as invalid characters, unusual formatting and website errors.
To avoid this it is recommended to either type the information directly into the application form or save the Microsoft Word file as an HTML file and then cut and paste the text from the HTML file into the application form.
RealMe is a service from the New Zealand government and New Zealand Post that includes a single login, letting you use one username and password to access a wide range of services online.
But there is much more to RealMe than just the convenience of a single login.
RealMe is also your secure online ID. Verify your RealMe account and use it to prove who you are online. This lets you to do lots of useful things over the internet that would normally require you to turn up in person. Find out more