Jan 03, 2018: More than 550 high-rise buildings in undivided Dakshina Kannada district have ignored fire safety norms, according to officials of fire and emergency services. Around 75 percent of these buildings are in Mangaluru city limits.
These buildings constructed before 2006, when fire safety norms prescribed by National Building Code (NBC) were not mandatory. The officials concerned have served notices to all these buildings asking them to comply with fire safety norms. This apart, the authorities have also served notices to 430 high-rise buildings in Mangaluru city corporation limits which have been built after 2006 but not adhered to fire safety norms, TN Shivashankar, chief fire officer (CFO), told media.
Any building with G+3 floors or over 15metre in height is considered as high-rise and it is mandatory for them to comply with the fire safety norms set up by NBC. According to NBC, sufficient open space (setbacks) around the residential buildings is essential to facilitate free movement and operation of fire service vehicles. The road where a high-rise is constructed should not be less than 12 metres wide and in Mangaluru it is limited to 9 metres. This is to ensure easy movement of fire service vehicles during emergency.
CFO added that all the malls in the city have adhered to the fire safety norms. "After we served notice, some building owners have rectified some of the loopholes. However, some buildings are not in a position to put in place NBA fire safety norms as modifications have not done when it was constructed. For example, some buildings cannot have rooftop or underground water tank. Same is the case with having an emergency staircase," he explained.
"The last major fire was reported at Trade Centre a few years ago," adds Shivashankar. Another fire official pointed out that 4-5 educational institutions have also been served notice for violating fire safety norms in their buildings.