Coolstore redesign follows fire


Design guidelines outlining improvements to coolstore design in light of the 2008 Icepak Tamahere explosion that killed one fire-fighter and injured several others has been launched by the Institution of Professional Engineers New Zealand (IPENZ).

Aware of several serious fires in coolstores – also known as coldstores – in the last 30 years that have caused deaths among workers and fire fighters, IPENZ convened a working party of experts to study many aspects of cold store engineering to provide guidelines on good practice design.

“Although our Coldstore Engineering design guidelines are directed towards engineers engaged in the design of coldstores, and coldstore owners and operators, naturally workers, emergency personnel and members of the public will benefit from increased safety in coldstore design,” said Gerry Coates, Chairman of the Institution of Professional Engineers New Zealand Working Party on Coldstore Design, in a media release.

“Our guidelines play particular attention to care needed in building design around electric motors and switchgear operating in areas made hazardous by the possible presence of flammable gases and we advise these areas should be designed in collaboration with electrical, refrigeration and fire engineers,” said Coates. “This becomes particularly important if an existing coldstore is to be altered in a way not anticipated in the original design.”

IPENZ lead the development of this practice note and drew on advice from “frontline” experts including the Society of Fire Protection Engineers, the International Institute of Refrigeration, the Institute of Refrigeration, Heating, and Air Conditioning Engineers; engineering companies engaged in coldstore design; insurance companies, representatives of the Cold Storage Association along with relevant government agencies.

“The regulatory environment in coldstore design is multi-faceted, in that the Building Act, the Electricity Act, the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act, the Health and Safety in Employment Act and various food acts must all be complied with. Few people are sufficiently familiar with all of these to be able to design alone, so our design guidelines Coldstore Engineering draws attention to these Acts and the Regulations, Codes, and Standards which provide means of compliance,” he says.

At around 60 pages, it is by far the longest practice note IPENZ has produced.

Click the link to download the practise note (pdf) Coldstore Practice Note Final

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