Faulty systems ticked as safe

Monday 27 December 2004

As many as 90 per cent of sprinkler systems in New Zealand buildings are faulty but are being signed off as safe, a damning Fire Service report leaked to The Dominion Post says.

By The Landlord

The Fire Service says it is powerless to shut down at-risk buildings – only local councils, which police sprinkler compliance, can declare them unsafe.

Fire protection industry representatives admit that dodgy sprinkler systems are frequently passed off as safe.

The report strongly criticises the fire prevention industry, territorial authorities and the building warrant of fitness system, which is ripe for abuse.

Building owners must adhere to a set of compliance standards and provide an annual WoF stating all requirements have been met. But the report claims the independently qualified person who writes the report is often the same person who maintains and tests the sprinkler system.

"(This) represents an avenue for incompetent building owners/IQPs to manipulate the WoF system.

"The WoF system is there to safeguard the occupants of the building and, from the analysis undertaken, it is evident that this is not happening."

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