More than a dozen busy hospital buildings in Hamilton and around the Waikato have failed warrants of fitness due to having non compliant fire protections such as barriers with holes aimed at stopping fires spreading.
Currently 13 of the Waikato DHB's buildings do not have WOFs and six of them have been without for over a year.
These include Waikato Hospital's Elizabeth Rothwell building which is the home to children's clinics, women's health and the birthing unit and the Acute Services building which caters for medically unfit people and people with respiratory problems and Older Person Rehabilitation Services building.
Other buildings such as the Meade Building which opened in 2014 do have a WoF - but still have a number of fire-stopping faults such as multiple penetrations. The Meade Building has cables that are not correctly sealed, according to an Official Information Act response provided to RNZ. The Waikato DHB manages 114 buildings.
The issues, a large number which relate to fire penetrations such as holes in barriers to prevent the fire from spreading, affect Waikato District Health Board's main hospital in Hamilton, as well as buildings in Thames, Te Kuiti and Morrinsville.
Waikato DHB facilities and business executive director Chris Cardwell said the buildings had a raft of fire safety measure in place and in most cases the only reason a building hadn't passed its WoF was due solely to fire-penetration issues.
A change in the standard of compliance relating to fire penetration meant there were more buildings that were non-compliant.
The Waikato DHB was spending $1.9 million in the next three years to fix the problem, but it took time in large multi-storey buildings and there were no spare buildings to transfer patients to while the work was being carried out, Cardwell said.
While the Waikato DHB had been working on fixing fire penetrations since 2017, new issues were also being identified as building WoFs were carried out throughout the year.
"All buildings containing multiple fire cells have services connecting them and will have fire penetrations (eg holes where cables pass through) that are potentially a source of non-compliance."
Cardwell said financial restraints and logistical challenges meant it could not fix all the compliance issues immediately.
The 10-level Menzies Building in Hamilton had recently undergone remedial work but more stopping was still needed, while work was also planned for the OPRS Building, Meade Clinical Centre, Campbell Johnstone Building, Hockin Building and Acute Services Building.
The Lomas building, which houses cancer services, has an issue with smoke separation above the ceiling tiles.
Issues had also been identified at the Matariki Continuing Care facility in Te Awamutu, Rhoda Read Continuing Care facility at Morrinsville, Thames Hospital and Te Kuiti Hospital and surveys would be commissioned this financial year.
Waikato DHB had spoken with Hamilton City Council to discuss the issues and prioritise the work to be carried out, Cardwell said. "During this period Waikato DHB has not been served with any formal notices, advice, or actions required by HCC in regard to this issue."
Cardwell said the Waikato DHB was "comfortable" its existing fire safety systems as fire penetrations were not the only fire protection measures in place.
Waikato DHB buildings that do not have current building WoFs:
Waiora Waikato Campus
Acute Services Building
Older Persons and Rehabilitation
Te Kuiti Hospital
Rhoda Read Continuing Care
Thames Hospital Birthing Unit