13,214 buildings in Bengaluru lack fire safety: Report

Findings of a state-wide audit of fire safety violations in high-rise buildings has left personnel of the Fire and Emergency Services a worried lot. The audit, done over several months, has revealed that a whopping 14,000-plus buildings in Karnataka violate fire safety norms. Over 13,000 of these are buildings in Bengaluru. Caught in a quandary over the course of action it should now take, the Fire Service Directorate has decided to write to the state government for guidance.

While these 14,000-odd buildings have not obtained sanctions or clearances by the Fire Services during their construction, there are about 2,000 buildings across the city that did obtain clearances initially but violated fire safety norms during the course of construction. Taking a tough stand on these buildings, the directorate has written to the civic utility providers to cut electricity and water supply if they do not comply with the mandatory guidelines within 90 days.

“While builders have built and sold the houses, the occupants have little knowledge about the essential norms. Yet, as we begin to serve notices, they are turning up and agreeing to adopt fire safety norms in their buildings. We are also supporting them by giving them 90 days’ time to adopt the safety measures,” NR Markandeya, deputy director (fire prevention) of Fire and Emergency Services Directorate told Bangalore Mirror.

“All high-rise building plans have to be approved by us. About 2,205 buildings had obtained initial clearances but failed to adopt our recommendations. All of them will be served with notices to adopt safety measures as per prescribed guidelines,” he added. In the aftermath of the Carlton Towers fire tragedy in Bengaluru a few years ago, the state government came up with stringent safety guidelines and mandatory implementation of National Building Code 2005 guidelines in high-rise buildings that measure over 15m.