As per Maharashtra Fire Prevention and Life Safety Measures Act, 2006, for multi-storeyed buildings:
- The owner or occupier has to furnish to the Chief Fire Officer, a certificate issued by a Licensed Agency regarding compliance of the fire prevention and safety measures in the building, twice every year, in January and July.
- The Chief Fire Officer can report deviations in the Inspection report of the building and issue a notice thereafter directing removal of objects that will cause the risk of fire. The deviations can be rectified by the owner. The Chief Fire Officer can also take the assistance of the local police station to ensure compliance and then issue NOC under section 390 and 394 of BMC Act
As per the Maharashtra Fire Prevention and Life Safety Measures Act, 2006, Section 3(1), Schedule I, pages 29-37:
- Fire Extinguishers are required at prominent places
- Hose reel, Wet Riser, Down comer, Sprinkler systems, courtyard hydrant, Smoke and Fire Alarm System (manual or automatic) may be required
- Underground static water storage tank is required (depending on the type of the building) with a corresponding water pump
- A separate terrace tank is required to store water to fight fire; along with a corresponding booster pump on the terrace
- Sand buckets have to be installed at prominent places
- Floor indicators and signages for fire alarms and fire extinguishers have to be given in lobbies, staircases, refuge areas and any other escape routes.
- Proper training of fire fighting system, including operation of water pumps, must be given to security personnel
- Self closing devices must be used in staircase doors
- Waste and scrap materials must be cleared immediately from staircase and lobbies.
- Terrace door must not be kept locked
- Mock fire drills must be conducted at regular intervals (ideally 2 times in a year)
BMC and Fire Brigade rules for buildings with glass facades:
- Every floor must have a two-way opening measuring 5×5 ft in the wall, as access points for rescue workers. They must properly labelled as ‘Emergency Exit’.
- The distance between building structure and glass facade must not be more than 300 mm
- Smoke seals made of non-combustible material must be laid between building structure and glass facade.
- To restrict spread of fire, there must be an automatic water curtain system on each floor
- Each ceiling must have a pop-up vent, which can be easily reached from the floor, to be integrated with the smoke detection system
- All glass walls must not have any coating of combustible materials like plastic, and must be designed to resist fire for atleast 2 hours
Mumbai Municipal Corporation Act, 1888, Section 364:
A report of every fire must be submitted, not later than a day following the fire, by the Fire Officer to the Commissioner, who in turn will need to submit a weekly report to the Standing Committee.
How to prevent fires:
- Do not overload electrical circuits and individual sockets. Electric and AC ducts must be sectionalized and sealed, so that they do not spread fires
- No electrical wires must hang loose or be damaged
- Do not use candles in case of power failure. Use battery torches.
- Use ashtray while smoking and smoke only in smoking zones
- Keep matches, crackers, lighters away from the children.
- Keep LPG Stoves/ Burner on raised non-combustible platform.
- If LPG cylinder is leaking, close the main cylinder valve and ventilate the entire room. Do not switch on/ off any of the electric switches the room. Replace LPG supply tube periodically.
- Do not leave lighted oil lamps near combustible material. Put them off before retiring to bed.
- In case of fire, all lifts must be grounded, and irrespective of size of fire, the fire brigade must be summoned.
- It is mandatory for a housing society to take fire policy of the structure of the building. The damage caused to the contents of the flat due to fire is not covered under such policy. The flat owner has to take fire policy for this depending on the value of the contents of the flat. The fire policy covering the contents would cover the risk of damage to furniture, electronic items like TV, Fridge, jewellery, etc. The insurance company providing cover for the structure of the building may give discounts for buying the policy covering the contents.
Fire regulations as per the Development Control Rules, 1991, for Mumbai:
For all multi-storeyed, high-rise buildings, the following information shall be indicated on the building plans:
- Access to fire appliances/vehicles with details of vehicular turning circle and clear motorable access-way around the building;
- size (width) of main and alternate staircases along with the balcony approach, corridor, ventilated lobby approach;
- location and details of lift enclosures;
- location and size of fire lift;
- smoke stop lobby door, where provided;
- refuse chutes, refuses chamber, service duct, etc.;
- vehicular, loading and unloading parking spaces;
refuge area, if any;
- details of air-conditioning system with position of fire dampers, mechanical ventilation system, electrical services (with dimensions of electrical transforming sub-stations, etc.), boilers, gas pipes, meter rooms, etc.;
details of exits, including ramps, etc. for hospitals and special risks;
- location of generator, transformer and switch gear room;
- smoke exhaust system, if any;
- details of fire alarm system (manual or automatic);
- location of centralized control, connecting all fire alarms, built-in fire protection arrangements and public address system, etc.;
- location and dimensions of static water storage tank and pump room along with fire service inlets for mobile pump and water storage tank:
- location and details of fixed fire protection installation such as sprinklers, wet hose reels, drenchers, carbon-dioxide (CO) installations, etc.; and
- location and details of first aid and fire fighting equipment/installations.
As per section (5)(ii) of DC rules, 1991, the building plans for multi-storeyed, high rise buildings as above, shall also be subject to the scrutiny of the Chief Fire Officer, and development permission shall be given by the Commissioner only after the clearance (NOC) by the Chief Fire Officer.
Then as per section (8)(2) of DC rules, 1991, the completed work shall also be subject to inspection by the Chief Fire Officer, and the Commissioner shall issue the occupancy certificate only after clearance (NOC) by the said Chief Fire Officer.
Section 29 (1)(f) – Exterior open space
Where a room does not derive light and ventilation from an exterior open space; the width of the exterior open space must be a minimum of 3.6 m. (residential) and 4.5 m (commercial), subject to a maximum of 12 m. For a building with height of 24 m. or more, such exterior open space shall be a minimum of 6 m. subject to the requirements of the fire brigade authorities.
Section 30 (1)(c) – Features permitted in open spaces
Suction tank, pump room, electric meter room or substation, garbage shaft, space required for fire hydrants, electrical and water fittings, water tank, dust-bin, etc. are permitted in the side or rear marginal open spaces.
Table 19 in DC Rules, 1991 – Electric meter room and stairways
(13) An independent and ventilated meter (service) room directly accessible from the outside shall be provided on ground floor and/or on upper floors, according to the requirements of the electric supply undertaking. The door to the room shall have fire resistances of not less than two hours.
(17) (i) Stairway width: The minimum width of a staircase other than a fire escape shall be 1.2 m for residential; 1.5 m for educational institutes and hospitals and 2 m for commercial buildings
Section 43 – Fire Protection Requirements
(1) General: The planning design and construction of any building shall be such as to ensure safety from fire and the provisions of Part-IV; Fire Protection Chapter of National Building Code shall apply.
For multi-storeyed, high rise buildings, the approach to the building and open spaces on all sides up to 6 m width and their layout shall conform to the requirements of the Chief Fire Officer. They shall be capable of taking the weight of a fire engine weighing up to 18 tonnes. These open spaces shall be free of any obstruction and shall be motorable.
(2)(ii) Exits: Every building meant for human occupancy shall be provided with exits (horizontal or vertical) sufficient to permit safe escape of its occupants in case of fire or other emergency. Exits shall:
- provide continuous egress to the exterior of the building or to an exterior open space leading to the street;
be so arranged that, except in a residential building, they can be reached without having to cross another occupied unit;
- be free of obstruction;
- be adequately illuminated;
- be clearly visible, with the routes reaching them clearly marked and signs posted to guide any person to the floor concerned;
- be fitted, if necessary, with fire fighting equipment suitably located but not as to obstruct the passage, clearly marked and with its location clearly indicated on both sides of the exit way;
- be fitted with a fire alarm device, if it is either a multi-storeyed, high-use or a special building so as to ensure its prompt evacuation;
- remain unaffected by any alteration of any part of the building so far as their number, width, capacity and protection thereof is concerned;
- be so located that the travel distance on the floor does not exceed 22.5 m (for residential, educational, institutional and hazardous occupancies) and 30 m (for Assembly, business, mercantile, industrial and storage buildings)
Section 44(5) – Requirements of fire escape or external stairs at each floor
Multi-storeyed, high rise and special buildings shall be provided with fire escape stairs, which will be free of FSI, and they should conform to the following:
- They shall not be taken into account in calculating the evacuation time of a building.
- All of them shall be directly connected to the ground.
- Entrance to them shall be separate and remote from the internal staircase.
- Routes to the fire escape shall be free of obstruction at all times, except for a doorway leading to the fire escape, which shall have the required fire resistance.
- They shall be constructed of non-combustible materials.
- They shall have a straight flight not less than 75 cm. wide with 15 cm. treads and risers.
- They shall be provided with handrails at a height not less than 90 cm. above the tread.
Section 44(7) – Requirements of Refuge Area:
In multi-storeyed and high rise buildings, at least one refuge area shall be provided on the floor immediately above 24 m.
- It shall be on the external walls as a cantilevered projection or in any other manner.
- It shall have a minimum area of 15 sq m and a minimum width of 3 m.
- It shall not be counted in FSI.
- Modern building bye-laws regarding Fire safety, as issued by Union of India, Ministry of Urban Development:
Section 4.7.3.c) The approach to the building and open spaces on its all sides upto 6 m. width and the layout for the same shall be done in consultation with the Chief Fire Officer and the same shall be of hard surface capable of taking the weight of fire tender, weighing up to 22 tones for low rise building and 45 tones for building 15 m., and above in height. The said open space shall be kept free of obstructions and shall be motorable.
Section 4.7.3.d) Main entrance to the premises shall be of adequate width to allow easy access to the fire tender and in no case it shall measure less than 5 m. The entrance gate shall fold back against the compound wall of the premises, thus leaving the exterior access way within the plot free for movement of the fire service vehicles. If-archway is provided over the main entrance, the height of the archway shall not be of height less than 5 m.
Union of India, Ministry of Environment and Forests have also issued guidelines:
If height of the building is 15-30 m, then minimum width of the approach road, on which the building is situated must be 15 m. For buildings 30-45 m tall, road width must be minimum 18m, for 45-60 m height, roads must be 24 m wide and for 60m+ tall buildings, road width must be a minimum of 30 m.