Engineering New Zealand Te Ao Rangahau and the Society of Fire Protection Engineers NZ welcome the Government’s commitment to looking at building regulations that apply to higher-density housing following the Loafers Lodge fire.

Chief Executive Richard Templer says, “My heart goes out to people who’ve lost loved ones or have to rebuild their lives after this tragedy.

“What isn’t clear is what went wrong and whether regulations for high-density buildings need to be tightened. As such, we welcome the Government’s commitment yesterday to reviewing these regulations and will contribute our engineering expertise where we can.”

Carol Caldwell, President of the Society of Fire Protection Engineers NZ agrees. “From what we know, potential safeguards that may have helped protect the lives of residents weren’t in place, but weren’t necessarily required to be.

“It is obvious that the fire design and the associated fire safety management and system maintenance did not work as intended for this building. There needs to be a robust investigation to help identify if any changes are needed to regulations.”

She says although there have been minor amendments to regulatory documents for fire engineering, the verification methods and acceptable solutions that provide detailed design guidance haven’t been comprehensively reviewed since 2012.

Caldwell says, “I think the idea this kind of tragedy can happen in New Zealand doesn’t sit with most people. I think it shows the strong case as to why a review of fire engineering legislation is urgently needed.”

Notes to reporters

Engineering New Zealand is New Zealand's professional body for engineers, with some 25,000 members. We represent – and regulate – our members. We also act as the Registration Authority for Chartered Professional Engineers.

The Society of Fire Protection Engineers NZ Chapter is a technical interest group of Engineering New Zealand representing matters of fire engineering with over 250 members. The NZ Chapter is also part of the international SFPE organisation.

For more information or to arrange an interview, contact Justin Brownlie on 021 479 885.