The next time you walk into the high rise buildings in Chennai, it is a good idea to check if they have the mandatory Tamilnadu Fire and Rescue Services (The Fire Department) Clearance.
All buildings above 17.25 meters height in Tamilnadu need mandatory clearance from the Tamilnadu Fire and Rescue Services. Typically the requirements for compliance is access to fire engines, fire hose reel, water access, first aid kit, automatic sprinkler, fire extinguisher, automatic fire detection, down comer system, diesel pumps, public address system, call point (according to IS: 1641, 1642, 1643 ) or safe assembly point and most importantly setbacks as per the building regulation as set by the Housing and Urban Development department. In the case of Chennai it is CMDA which issues the guidelines and in non-CMDA jurisdiction areas it is the DTCP or the concerned Urban Local Body.
Norms for Fire Safety, Detection and Extinguishing Systems
As is anybody’s guess, the number of high rise buildings (in excess of 17.25m) is the highest only in Chennai. A recent finding by the Tamilnadu Fire and Rescue Services indicates that the following buildings do not the necessary clearance or comply only partially.
- All building in their design and construction shall be such as to contribute to and ensure individually and collectively and the safety of life from fire, smoke, fumes and also panic arising from these or similar other causes.
- In building of such size, arrangement or occupancy that a fire may not itself provide adequate warning to occupants, automatic fire detecting and alarming facilities shall be provided where necessary to warn occupants or the existence of fires, so that they may escape, or to facilitate the orderly conduct of fire exit drills.
- Fire protecting and extinguishing system shall conform to accepted standards and shall be installed in accordance with good practice as recommended in the National Building Code of India, 2016 (amended from time to time) and to the satisfaction of the Director of Fire and Rescue Services by obtaining a no objection certificate from him.
- Fire check Floor: Each block of Multi-Storeyed Buildings, whose height exceeds 75m, shall keep one floor for every 45 metre level from the ground level as fully vacant without any partition walls. This floor may be used for development of gardens and sit outs and to be used as a refuge / buffer area in case of fire or other emergencies in addition to the normally required area for refuge under these regulations. The height of the Fire check floor shall be not more than 2.4 m. The exterior wall of the floor shall only be the parapet wall of 1m height. for safety purposes, the gap between the parapet wall and roof slab may be covered with glass, which can be broken with some bang/force enabling evacuation of people during emergency rescue operations. Fire drenchers shall be provided at the periphery of each such floor externally. This floor area shall not be considered for computation of FSI.
Building in South Chennai that are not Complaint
Surprising results on the list include the iconic Ramco Systems Building on Sardar Patel Road and Gokul Arcade near Adyar Signal.