With increasing urbanization and price of the land parcel, the construction of vertical buildings or popularly known as high-risers is growing at a fast pace in most of the Tier-1 cities of India. This growing demand for housing has also steeped construction activity but at the same time, it does not mean that developers stop notifying important rules and regulations. Here, we are talking about, increasing fire incidents in recent years.
In India, while constructing a building, a developer has to abide by various fire safety norms documented in the National Building Code (NBC). However, a latest has revealed that as many as thousands of High-risers including residential or commercial buildings have registered major fire outbreak which led to many causalities. This took place due to unregulated fire norms which were most common among all the tall buildings.
So, to stop these fire incidents, all the developers must give important attention to fire safety rules and regulations, especially in high-rise residential and commercial buildings. As responsible citizens, even the residents must have full access to these fire safety norms created in NBC. With these, let’s understand the code and various safety regulations led by the NBC in detail:
The National Building Code 2016
This model code is a comprehensive building code, which provides guideline to various Public Works Departments, government construction departments, local bodies and other private construction agencies, for regulating the building construction activities across the country.
The code was first published in 1970 and after that it got many revisions. The last amendment took place in 2016 under which a detailed pointers were formulized on general building requirements; fire safety requirements; stipulations regarding materials, structural design and construction for both residential and commercial spaces.
Take a look at various fire safety norms listed for residential buildings in Part IV of NBC:
The Approval Guidelines
- A building is termed as a high-riser if it is constructed 15 mts above the ground level or exceeds three storey. In this case, the developer has to take certificate of approval from the Director of Fire Force. After receiving an approval, they can start with the construction process.
- The document which the developer has to submit in the authority must contain all the fire safety arrangements and the means of access/escape for the proposed building with suitable signs and symbols on the drawings. It must be certified by a licensed Fire Consultant/Architect. It should also showcase the arrangement of booster pumps, pipelines and water-tanks at various levels of the building.
- The plan which is submitted in the authority is reviewed by Chief Fire Officer and after that it is sent to sanctioning authority for further sanctions. Once it is approved, the Fire officer issues a No Objection Certificate (NOC). However, the fire officer must visit and inspect the site before providing the approval. Any disambiguation in the plan should be reported immediately.
Rules for Staircase Construction
As per the NBC code, the developer must construct two staircases for the faster exit during fire emergency. This is particularly important for residential buildings with 150 sq. meters of the floor area and which is habitat for more than 20 residents. The width of the staircase should be at least two meters for a safer evacuation.
Rules for Lifts
The code also says that apart from the regular lifts, the building must have a separate fire lift for firemen. The speed of the lift must be faster from other lifts so that one can easily move from ground to last floor in a minute.
Measure to stop Fire
- All the buildings which in more than 25 mts in height must place a diesel generator that can be used to control fire during power failure.
- In the parking, automatic sprinklers should be used whereas for the building, underground water storage should be made available at the rate of 1,000 litres per minute.
- Frequent fire drills must be conducted to inform residents about the emergency evacuation procedure during fire.
- Time and now, residents of the building must be acquainted about any modification in the norms so that they can remain familiar with the safety procedures.