Wednesday, 15 July 2020

Fire Extinguisher Inspection And Testing Rotorua

Fires tend to occur at the most unexpected of times, and it’s in such situations that fire extinguishers play an undeniably vital role. What for the most part was just a red canister on your wall, suddenly becomes the difference between minor and extensive damage to your property. For your extinguisher to be up to the task when the need arises, maintenance is necessary.

Fire Extinguisher Inspections

Even though an in-house employee could follow a basic checklist and sign off on each extinguisher, an inspection completed by a skilled professional is required at least annually. The experience and expertise that comes with years of fire prevention work allow for a more thorough inspection process. When every part of the extinguisher is examined carefully, property owners can feel more confident in its ability to stop the fire in its tracks.

Visual Fire Extinguisher Inspections

According to guidelines, employers are required to perform visual fire inspections on their extinguishers once per month. This can be done by employees or building maintenance crews since it isn’t very demanding. Those conducting the inspection should check whether;
There is visible physical damage to the equipment.
The extinguisher is in its designated location.
Any obstructions are blocking the extinguisher from easy access and view.
The equipment is fully charged and operational. Ensuring the fire extinguisher is fully charged at all times is paramount to your safety, that of those around you, and your property’s.

Maintenance Inspection

NZS 4503 requires employers to conduct a full maintenance inspection on their workplace’s fire extinguishers once per year. It will entail a thorough examination and repair of all fire extinguishers in your facility. Due to its nature, it should be performed by an experienced professional fire protection company.
Professionals have the right tools and training and will do a better job. They will be able to recognise and correct potentially hazardous situations if any. All extinguishers that pass the maintenance inspection are tagged with a dated inspection tag. If an extinguisher fails the check, it is either repaired or replaced.

Internal Maintenance Inspection

Internal maintenance inspection should be carried out once every five years. It is a more thorough and demanding process and should also be conducted by professionals. First, the extinguisher will be discharged. Then a full internal examination will be done. The extinguisher will then be recharged to ensure all components are fully functional.
Hydrostatic testing is also carried out either independently or as part of internal maintenance inspection. It ensures the integrity and ability of the cylinders to contain the pressure used to expel the agent. Depending on the type of agent, hydrostatic testing is carried out.
Maintaining your fire extinguishers is paramount. In addition to fulfilling conditions by New Zealand standards, it ensures yours and your property’s safety.
Nonetheless, apart from maintaining your fire extinguishers, there are other factors of equal importance that you should consider.

Choosing The Right Fire Extinguisher

Each flammable material is in a unique fire classification. Fire classifications include Class A, B, C, D, E and F. Each class has its own recommended fire extinguisher type. Therefore, it’s advisable to let a professional handle the installation of a fire extinguisher. Professionals recognise the category which your environment falls in and the appropriate fire extinguisher for a fire emergency.

Fire Extinguisher Installation Methods

Choosing the right area to install a fire extinguisher is very important. It should be in a place where it is easily visible and accessible in case of a fire. For instance, it should be installed in an easily breakable glass cabinet or mounted on a metal bracket, where it can easily be removed when the need arises.

from Building Compliance Inspections Fire Extinguisher Inspection And Testing Rotorua

Saturday, 11 April 2020

How To Use A Fire Extinguisher

The PASS Technique: How To Use A Fire Extinguisher

The most common emergency for any small business is a fire and which is something that they need to plan for at all times. Fire extinguishers are an invaluable tool for small businesses and homeowners alike when it comes to fighting small fires. It can help protect evacuation routes and valuable equipment from damage.

Determining The Type Of Fire

A fire can be broken down into three basic components. These are:
  • Oxygen.
  • Fuel.
  • Heat. 
The purpose of fighting a fire is to eliminate one of these things. When the fire does not have one, or a combination of these, it will die out. However, this means different things can act as a source of ignition and fuel. This is the reason why there are several different types, or classes, of fire. These are:
  • Class A: Combustible material like wood, cloth and paper. 
  • Class B: Flammable liquid fires
  • Class C: Fires caused by flammable gases
  • Class D: Metal fire, especially when they are in the form of chippings or shavings
  • Class E: Electrical fires
  • Class F: Cooking, especially grease or fat
Once you have determined what type of fire it is, take a look at the extinguishers that you have available. If the extinguisher type you are looking for is not available, it would be best to evacuate and call the fire department for assistance.

What Is The PASS Technique? 

Employers must make sure that their employees receive fire extinguisher training and also know how to assess a particular situation to determine if evacuation is the safest option. Also, businesses are required to ensure that their employees go through annual fire extinguisher training.
PASS is a straightforward fire extinguisher training technique that anyone can learn. PASS is an abbreviation for:
  • Pulling the pin on a fire extinguisher. 
  • Aiming the nozzle low so that it is facing the base of the fire. 
  • Squeezing the handle which releases the extinguishing agent. 
  • Sweep the extinguishing agent from the nozzle by moving it from one side to the next until the flames have been extinguished. 

Fire Extinguisher PASS Method

Other Important Things To Keep In Mind 

Now employees knowing the PASS Technique certainly isn’t the end of the training. Employees who are meant to work as responders to a fire should also be well-versed in the following protocol:
  • It is important to sound the alarm, and if needed, then call the fire department. 
  • Make sure that the evacuation routes are safe before approaching a fire. 
  • The fire extinguisher should only be used with the PASS technique, and the person should back away if there is a flare-up. 
  • Sometimes the fire extinguisher will be out or empty, but the fire may still be raging; in that case, it is essential to leave the building. 
  • If the fire starts spreading fast to what can be handled with an extinguisher, then immediate evacuation procedures should be followed.

Fire Extinguishers Are For Small Fires 

While the PASS technique does work to ensure that employees can handle a fire extinguisher safely, it only works for small fires. If the fire is very large or the environment is dangerous, like in an oil and gas plant, then employees should know exactly how to evacuate.
Employees shouldn’t fight a fire if:
There is thick smoke that makes it difficult to breathe. At this point, the fire is impossible to fight without some type of respiratory protection.
A smoky or hot environment can be challenging to stay in for a long time. Radiated heat can make it impossible to approach a fire using a fire extinguisher. Also, poor visibility further complicates an already tricky situation. All of which merits that employees leave it to the professional.


The fire extinguisher is one of the best safety tools in the event of a fire that any employee can handle. The PASS Technique makes using the extinguisher easy. However, it is just as crucial for an employee to know when using the extinguisher will work, this is why servicing your fire equipment often is essential.

from Building Compliance Inspections

Friday, 27 March 2020

Fire Extinguisher Types NZ

Fire Extinguisher Band Colours NZ

Fire extinguishers are an essential tool in the unfortunate event of a fire.
Not only can they save property but can also save lives and reduce the chance of danger to those involved.
Different fire extinguisher types are more effective with different classes of fire. Some types may even cause more harm if used on the wrong kind of fire.
It is necessary to know and appreciate each extinguisher’s different uses as using the incorrect type of fire extinguisher could be deadly.
Before knowing how and when to use each fire extinguisher, it is important to have an understanding of each class of fire.

The Different Classes Of Fire Are:

Class A – Combustible solids such as wood, paper, cloth or plastic
Class B – Flammable liquids such as petrol, Kerosene or paint
Class C – Flammable gases such as LPG gas or natural gas
Class D – Combustible metals such as aluminium or magnesium
Class E – Electrically energised equipment such as short-circuited machinery or overloaded electrical cables.
Class F – Cooking fats and oils such as vegetable oil, fats and lard.
A fire requires three key elements to thrive. These are oxygen, heat, and fuel. Fire extinguishers work by removing at least one of these three key elements.
An easy way to identify each type of fire extinguisher is by the different coloured bands found on the top of each cylinder.
This band allows us to identify what type of fire extinguisher it is from a distance, therefore, allowing us to recognise which fire to use it for.

Dry Powder Fire Extinguishers

Dry chemical fire extinguishers or otherwise known as ABE or BE are the most popular type of extinguisher in New Zealand.
They can fight multiple classes of fire and are commonly installed in offices, homes and factories.
A dry powder fire extinguisher is identified by its all red cylinder and white band that runs around the top of the tank.
In New Zealand, you can find two types of dry powder fire extinguisher.

ABE Fire Extinguishers

Due to their wide variety of uses, the ABE dry chemical powder extinguisher is by far the most used in New Zealand.
As the name suggests, it can be used to fight fires from class A, B and E.
ABE fire extinguishers contain a chemical powder called monoammonium phosphate which extinguishes the fire by melting over the fuel source.
Using a powder fire extinguisher in a confined space or indoors can cause poor visibility, and may make it difficult to breathe.

BE Fire Extinguishers

The BE fire extinguisher is not as commonly used. These fire extinguishers are used to fight Class B and E fires. The chemicals usually found in BE extinguishers are sodium bicarbonate or potassium bicarbonate which smothers the fire and extinguishes it.

Carbon Dioxide Fire Extinguishers

Carbon dioxide, also known as CO2, is recommended for use on class E fires.
They are identified by the black band running around the top of the red cylinder.
CO2 fire extinguishers contain a non-conductive and non-corrosive extinguishing agent, therefore, will cause no damage to electrical equipment.
This type of fire extinguisher is often found in areas such as electrical server/data rooms, switch rooms, or next to electrical machinery.
Carbon dioxide works by removing the oxygen element from the fire.

Foam Fire Extinguishers

Foam fire extinguishers can also be referred to as AFFF extinguishers due to the aqueous film foaming foam that it contains.
Foam fire extinguishers are used for class A and B fires.
It is simple to identify a foam fire extinguisher by the blue band that runs around the top of the cylinder.
When foam fire extinguishers are used to extinguish a fire, they remove the element of oxygen by creating a blanket of foam on top of the fuel source of the fire as well as creating a cooling effect from the water.
AFFF fire extinguishers are generally used within warehouse’s, petrol stations and storage facilities and are not recommended for use in kitchens on class F fires.

Wet Chemical Fire Extinguishers

Wet chemical fire extinguishers are used for class A and F fires.
They are the only type of fire extinguisher recommended for use on class F fires.
You can identify wet chemical extinguishers by the oatmeal coloured band running around the top of the cylinder.
It is highly suggested that they are installed in commercial kitchens.
Wet chemical fire extinguishers contain a solution of potassium; this solution smothers the fire and removes the element of heat.
A wet chemical fire extinguisher must never be used on Class E fires.

Water Fire Extinguishers

Water fire extinguishers are the commonly found both domestically and commercially and are recommended for use on class A fires.
The all-red cylinder can identify these extinguishers with no coloured band.
Water fire extinguishers are often found in storage facilities and warehouses.
As with wet chemical and foam extinguishers, it’s important to remember that water fire extinguishers should never be used on a class E fires as it would potentially put you at risk of electrocution.

How To Use A Fire Extinguisher

All fire extinguishers in New Zealand require the PASS technique to operate
The PASS technique is as follows…

  • Pull the pin.
  • Aim it at the fire.
  • Squeeze the handle.
  • Sweep from side to side.

from Building Compliance Inspections

Thursday, 19 March 2020

New Zealand Fire Classes

What Are The Six Classes Of Fire?

The fuel that is burning dictates the type of extinguisher you use to fight the fire. To help you understand this idea, you need to know how fires are classified and which fire extinguishers are fitting for each class.

The six classes of fire in New Zealand are

  • Class A – Combustible solids
  • Class B – Flammable liquids
  • Class C – Flammable gases
  • Class D – Combustible metals
  • Class E – Electrical appliances
  • Class F – Cooking fats and oils
In this article, we will cover the different classes of fire in detail and provide you with the knowledge of which fire extinguisher is best to use.

Class A Fires

Class A fires involve combustible solid materials that can be found in businesses and homes. The most common materials include paper, textile materials, plastics, rubber and wood.
An example of a class A fire could be the ignition of rubbish bins or furniture due to hot embers.
The type of fire extinguishers that are recommended for A-class fires are
  • Water fire extinguisher
  • Dry Powder ABE fire extinguisher
  • Wet chemical fire extinguisher
  • Foam fire extinguisher

Class B Fires

Class B fires are fires that are caused by flammable and combustible liquids such as chemical-based petrol, kerosene, alcohol, oil, paint thinners and plastic.
It’s typical for a class B fire to occur within a workshop environment such as a panel beater or mechanics, some typical cases of ignition include welding or sparks from power tools that come into contact with flammable oils.
The recommended type of fire extinguishers to fight class B fires are
  • Foam fire extinguisher
  • Dry Powder ABE fire extinguisher
  • CO2 fire extinguisher
It is crucial to remember that you never use water on an oil-based fire as it has the potential to spread the fire and will more than likely cause an explosion of the burning oil.

Class C Fires

Class C fires are caused by flammable gases such as LPG, methane, acetylene, hydrogen, natural gas and butane. These gases are often found within workshops, garages and kitchens.
It is common for class C fires to happen due to gas leaks from cooktops, stoves, gas-powered tools or the workshop barbecue.
The only type of fire extinguisher recommended for class C fires is
  • ABE Dry Powder fire extinguisher

Class D Fires

Class D fires happen due to combustible metals such as potassium, sodium, lithium, aluminium, magnesium and swarf. These types of fires are not as common because metal requires a significant amount of heat to ignite.
There are specialised dry powders to control this class of fire. You can also use sand to smother the fire.

Class E Fires

Class E fires involve energised electrical equipment such as fan heaters, electronics and kitchen appliances. These are a common cause of fire within the home or workplace.
A typical example of a class E fire is from electrical appliances overheating, faulty tools, heaters being covered and frayed wiring.
The recommended type of fire extinguisher for a Class E fire are
  • Dry Powder ABE fire extinguisher
  • CO2 fire extinguisher

Class F Fires

Class F Fires are caused by cooking fats and oils. This type of fire is more likely to occur within food preparation areas and kitchens.
A common scenario for a class F fire would be when a pan of hot oil overheats or oil spitting when cooking.
The recommended type of extinguishers for class F fires are
  • Fire blanket
  • Wet chemical fire extinguisher

from Building Compliance Inspections

Tuesday, 14 January 2020

Fire Extinguisher Services Tauranga

Do you have a leaking, rusty, or damaged fire extinguisher? Has it been discharged recently and is now in need a recharge? We provide fire extinguisher services in Tauranga and the surrounding areas. Our fire extinguisher services in Tauranga, Rotorua, Hamilton, as well as the surrounding areas include fire extinguisher inspections, refills, and replacements. At Building Compliance Inspections, we offer a large variety of fire extinguisher services. So you can be confident in knowing your fire extinguisher is ready to go, should you need it.
A fire extinguisher is classified according to the type of fire it is effective against. Depending on the type of fire risks your Tauranga property may face, our technicians will recommend an extinguisher to fight one or more of the following fire types:
  • Class A Fires – common combustible materials, such as paper, wood, and some plastics
  • Class B Fires – flammable or combustible liquids, like oil, oil-based paints, or solvents
  • Class C Fires – flammable gases, such as propane, butane
  • Class D Fires – combustible metals such as sodium, lithium, or magnesium
  • Class E Fires – energised electrical equipment
  • Class F Fires – fats and oils used for cooking

Fire Extinguisher Inspections in Tauranga

The New Zealand standards require annual fire extinguisher inspections along with monthly checks that you can do on your own. Building Compliance Inspections provides annual fire extinguisher inspection services to many buildings throughout Waikato and Bay Of Plenty.

Fire Extinguisher Maintenance In Tauranga

Fire extinguishers are pretty strong. However, as time goes by, it’s not uncommon to find that your fire extinguisher has dents, leaks, rust or other environmental damage that can reduce its ability to keep you protected. A damaged fire extinguisher will probably require some off-site work. BCI can provide the fire extinguisher service you need in Tauranga or surrounding areas. We are able to provide fire extinguisher maintenance on your site with minimum disruption to your day. So you know your fire extinguisher will keep you protected at all times.

Fire Extinguisher Recharge In Tauranga

Have you had to use your fire extinguisher lately? It would be best if you had your extinguisher recharged. We can leave you with a loan unit of the same type and size while we take your one with us to refill and recharge.

Fire Extinguisher Hydrostatic Testing In Tauranga

High quality, maintained fire extinguishers are able to remain in service for a rather long time. However, if your fire extinguisher is more than five years old, the NZ standard requires you to have it replaced (if cheaper) or hydro-tested. A hydrostatic test on your fire extinguisher will make sure the cylinder has no cracks, leaks and will remain safe while under pressure. However, if we need to replace your fire extinguishers, that’s no problem. We also provide fire extinguisher replacement throughout Tauranga and the surrounding BOP areas.

Tauranga Fire Extinguisher Sales

As necessary and relatively affordable as fire extinguishers are, a shocking amount of companies do not replace outdated fire extinguishers. Or worse, they may have the wrong type of fire extinguisher for the hazards in their business. Using the wrong kind of fire extinguisher has the unintended potential to amplify fire damage by spreading instead of smothering the source of combustion. Let our technicians evaluate your Tauranga based facility, including the type of fire hazards you may face, and suggest the right fire extinguisher solution for your operations.

from Building Compliance Inspections

Saturday, 11 January 2020

Fire Extinguisher Certification Tags in New Zealand

Fire Extinguisher Certification in New Zealand

Suitably located and maintained fire extinguishers offer an excellent layer of fire prevention—they’re also an indispensable lifeline for employees and clients should a fire get out of hand.
BCI is proud to provide thorough fire extinguisher testing and inspections for New Zealand businesses, and an important part of ensuring that maintenance in order and compliant is proper fire extinguisher tagging.

Why Are Fire Extinguisher Inspection Tags Required?

Extinguisher tags are an important part of remaining compliant with fire safety standards, aiding in ensuring each extinguisher has been tested, inspected, and maintained competently. The tag provides information in regards to the date of the last inspection, or the full history of inspections, in addition to any notes about the particulars of the tagged extinguisher (such as its age, whether or not a recharge is necessary).
Accurately tagged fire extinguishers hold a large amount of relevant information, including:
  • The date of the extinguisher’s most current inspection.
  • The date when the extinguisher was manufactured, helping you to know when fire extinguisher replacement becomes necessary.
  • All further notes regarding the state of the extinguisher or any relevant details for the next inspector can be found on your fire equipment schedule.

Do All Fire Extinguishers Including New, Need To Be Tagged?

Certainly, all fire extinguishers in a building need certification tags. To remain compliant with both NZS 4503 and your insurance company, all fire extinguishers need to be tagged as a part of their certification, regardless of their age.
Complete fire extinguisher certification in New Zealand mandates that an annual fire extinguisher inspection provided by a competent New Zealand technician should be done at a minimum, annually. After each inspection, the extinguisher needs to get a new maintenance tag, or the tag needs updating.
It’s also a good idea to keep a separate maintenance schedule for each extinguisher, which most trustworthy fire protection companies, like BCI, will provide you with.

Fire Extinguisher Tags And Inspection Services In New Zealand

Building Compliance Inspections is a trusted, long-standing provider of complete fire safety services, systems, and inspections. BCI offers all of the extinguisher testing services you need to keep your extinguishers not only compliant, but also, functional, including monthly inspections, annual maintenance, periodic hydrostatic testing, and more.

Tuesday, 31 December 2019

Building Compliance Obligations in New Zealand

If you are the manager or owner of a New Zealand building, then you are legally obligated to provide evidence that the building meets the health and safety requirements set out in The Building Act 2004 and the associated regulations of that Act.
Part of the process is that building owners have to hold a current Building Warrant of Fitness (BWoF) if there are any safety systems installed in the building.
These systems, also called “Specified Systems” are the parts of the building infrastructure that, should they fail to fulfil their purpose, would potentially endanger the health, safety, and lives of occupants within the building. Prime examples of these specified systems are sprinkler systems, lifts and escalators, and smoke alarms. The Ministry of Business, Innovation, and Employment maintains a full list of Specified Systems as defined by the Building Warrant of Fitness on their website.
These specified systems will, of course, require regular maintenance, inspections, and testing to ensure that they are working at the optimum level. That is the purpose of the BWoF; to ensure that these systems are adequately looked after, repaired, and – if necessary – replaced across the lifespan of a building.

The Building Act 2004

Every bit of building work across New Zealand, from construction and demolition to renovation, is covered by the Building Act and the regulations of the Act. This includes the New Zealand Building Code. A local council will administer the requirements of the Act on behalf of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.
The New Zealand Building Act ensures that buildings are kept to a nationwide standard in order to meet the health and safety requirements of the future occupants of the building. The Building Code offers regulations that focus on building durability, sanitation services and facilities, fire safety, energy efficiency, moisture control, and building accessibility.

Building WoF Owner Obligations 

The Building Act 2004 lays out the rules and regulations for buildings with Specified Systems. This includes information about the Building Warrant of Fitness, which calls on building owners to;
  • Hold a current copy of their Compliance Schedule somewhere in the building 
  • Prepare BWoF documents every 12 months for renewal 
  • Ensure that the inspection, maintenance, and reporting schedule of the Specified Systems as set out in the Compliance Schedule is adhered to
  • Engage the appropriate Independent Qualified Persons for the inspections, maintenance, repairs, and reporting procedures as laid out in the Compliance Schedule. 
  • Ensure that these Independent Qualified Persons prepare and provide a Form 12A certificate as proof that the inspection, maintenance, and reporting procedures have been appropriately followed. 
  • Keep records of building inspections, maintenance, and repairs from the past 24 months. 
  • Display the Building Warrant of Fitness in a public part of the building
  • Ensure that the Compliance Schedule and any related documents are available for an authorized person to inspect as needed 
  • Obtain professional engineering advice and then act upon that advice in the event of an earthquake if there are concerns over the building safety 
  • Provide a copy of the renewed Building Warrant of Fitness to the local council every 12 months, along with any supporting documentation 
The local council regularly review Compliance Schedules, Building Warrant of Fitness certificates, and Form 12As in order to ensure that the building is in line with the regulations of the Building Act. Copies of these documents and their related paperwork are held by the council for the lifespan of the building.
If you need any help with Building Compliance or with a Building Warrant of Fitness then get in touch with our experts and specialists.

from Building Compliance Inspections