A new mechanism for approval and renewal of fire safety certifications for buildings has been put in place in Gujarat by bringing the entire process online through a portal called Fire Safety COP, Chief Minister Vijay Rupani has said. The system, which will be implemented from January 26 next year, comes after recent incidents of fire in COVID-19 facilities in which several patients died, including in Rajkot on November 27.
As part of the new system, the government has approved the process of training and empaneling private ”fire safety officers (FSOs)” to carry out periodic inspection, testing and maintenance of fire safety systems in buildings and renewal of certificates, Rupani told reporters. “We have approved a system to modernise fire safety certification process, which I believe is the first of its kind in the country. It was approved today and will be implemented from January 26. Gujarat will be the first state to do this,” he said.
“For regular inspection of fire safety measures in the buildings, we have decided to provide training to youth with certain minimum qualifications, and certify them. If they are found flouting the rule, penal action will be taken against them. We are providing powers to private qualified persons to carry out fire safety audits of buildings, factories, malls, hospitals etc,” the CM added. A new position of Director of Fire will be created for each of the four zones under the new system, which has been designed by Gujarat Institute of Disaster Management (GIDM) under its director general PK Taneja, he said.
The approval and renewal of fire safety certification will be done entirely on the portal called Fire Safety COP, or Fire Safety Compliance Portal, and this will provide complete solutions starting from facilitation and empanelment of FSOs to approval and renewal of FSC along with provision of online payment. The portal will help the state government monitor the compliance level of FSC approval and renewal and bring about transparency, an official release said. It said the validity for the Fire Safety Certificate Approval (FSCA) for new buildings will be for three years, while that of regularisation will be for two years.
The FSO will be required to check fire safety measures every six months during this period and upload a report on the online system, it said.
“Considering the magnitude of the work, fire safety officers will be trained and empaneled, and they will have an important role in periodic inspection, testing and maintenance of fire safety features and systems in buildings, and renewal of FSCs,” it said. The FSOs will be of three categories, namely general, advance and specialist, and will undergo training in Gujarat State Institute for Fire Safety Training (GSIFST). The new system provides for penal action against FSOs, owners, builders, occupiers etc if it is found that work has not been carried out as required, or negligence is detected, the release said.