Buildings for flammable and oxidising substances

Buildings, doors and vents must be fire resistant when flammable or oxidising substances are stored or used inside.
You need to comply with Part 11 of the Health and Safety at Work (Hazardous Substances) Regulations 2017 as well as the building code to get your building consent.

Compliance certificate requirements

If your work site has flammable or oxidising substances in excess of the threshold quantity a location compliance certificate is required. In order to get a location compliance certificate, the building construction and related separation distances must be compliant.

Separation distances

All buildings or areas where flammable or oxidising substances are used or stored must be separated from other buildings (including your neighbours) or areas where people may be present.

The higher the fire resistance rating of your building, the smaller the separation distance needed. Other factors which affect your separation distance include:

  • the degree of hazard of the hazardous substances
  • the quantity of the hazardous substances
  • the size of the containers
  • whether the substances is being used or stored
  • the activities in adjacent buildings.

Building types

The building requirements below apply regardless of the amounts of substances present.

Storing hazardous substances - storing means the packages and containers remain closed.

If you store flammable substances, then there are four types of buildings that can be used: types A, B, C and D; type A has the lowest fire resistance rating through to type D with the highest.

Using hazardous substances - using means the hazardous substance packages and containers are open.

If you use flammable substances then there are three types of buildings that can be used: types 1, 2 and 3; type 1 has the lowest fire resistance rating through to type 3 with the highest.

Working out your separation distance

Separation distances are given in the Health and Safety at Work (Hazardous Substances) Regulations 2017.

Regulations

If you store or use flammable liquids and gases inside a building, then you can work out the separation distances using Part 11 and Schedule 12 of the Health and Safety at Work (Hazardous Substances) Regulations 2017.

Read Part 11 and Schedule 12 of the Hazardous Substances Regulations 2017(external link).

If you store flammable aerosols, flammable solids, or oxidising substances inside a building, then you can work out the separation distances using the Health and Safety at Work (Hazardous Substances) Regulations 2017, specifically:

  • flammable aerosols – regulations 11.23 – 11.27
  • flammable solids - regulations 10.28 and 10.29
  • oxidising substances - regulations 12.12 (class 5.1.1 and 5.1.2) and 12.37 (class 5.2)

Read the legislation online now(external link)

Reducing your separation distance

If you cannot meet your separation distance as set out in the regulations but you have other suitable means to minimise the risk, then you can apply to WorkSafe for an exemption from the required separation distance or building type requirements. When you apply, we will consider all relevant factors including fixed firefighting equipment as well as the fire resistance rating of walls that are protecting surrounding areas.

New buildings are expected to be designed to meet the Health and Safety at Work (Hazardous Substances) Regulations 2017

Application for exemption from separation distance and/or other matters (PDF 119 KB)