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We frequently receive requests for interpretations or technical clarifications on provisions in the New Zealand fire protection standards. The rapid pace of technological change within the fire industry drives the need for guidance and assistance in interpreting these standards, as does occasional difficulties in applying the requirements of the standards in specific cases.

We are required by provisions in some New Zealand fire protection standards to provide formal interpretations of those fire standards. For this reason, we maintain standing formal interpretation committees comprising technical experts drawn from the committees that produced the relevant standards. Requests for interpretations or technical clarifications will be reviewed by the relevant committee. 

The formal interpretation committees that are constituted to deal with queries and interpretations can interpret the wording of the current published edition of the relevant standard only. Matters not mentioned in the standard are outside the scope of the committees and should be dealt with according to normal business practice.

Alarms and detection group

The Alarms and detection group (ADG) is responsible for providing formal interpretations on the following.

  • NZS 4512 Fire detection and alarm systems in buildings
  • NZS 4514 Interconnected smoke alarms for single household units

View and download formal interpretations issued by the ADG

Fixed fire protection group

The Fixed fire protection group (FFPG) is responsible for providing formal interpretations on the following.

  • NZS 4510 Fire hydrant systems for buildings
  • NZS 4515 Fire sprinkler systems for residential occupancies
  • NZS 4517 Fire sprinkler systems for houses
  • NZS 4541 Automatic fire sprinkler systems

View and download formal interpretations issued by the FFPG

Requesting a formal interpretation

Requests for formal interpretations, or queries about the interpretation process, should be sent to

Formal interpretation requests should be made when:

  • an interpretation of a clause within the standard is required
  • there is ambiguity in the standard and clarification is required
  • clarification of wording in the standard is required because it does not achieve the intent agreed to by the committee, or
  • fire testing, sprinkler system, building hydrant system, or fire detection and alarm system failures have been demonstrated and therefore the provisions of the standard are inadequate, and a recommendation on amending the standard is required and is submitted back to Standards New Zealand for consideration.

When a formal interpretation has been agreed on by the committee, the enquirer will be advised and the interpretation will then be made publicly available on the Standards New Zealand website.

Download the formal interpretation request form [DOCX, 67 KB]