[ecis2016.org] This mandate will have a retrospective effect as those buildings constructed between 2018 and 2022 will also have to install a fire evacuation lift with specifications issued by the fire department
Developers in Maharashtra now will have to install fire evacuation lifts (FEL) in high-rise buildings with heights 70 meters (around 22 floors) and above. A circular making it mandatory has been issued by the Maharashtra Government’s Energy Department. This is following a notification that was issued by BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation in 2018.
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After many incidents of fire in the recent past in Mumbai, there is an increasing need for proper fire safety and fire evacuation system in place in high-rise buildings. According to Mumbai Fire Brigade, Mumbai has witnessed more than 48,434 small and major fire incidents from 2008 to 2018, of which 1,568 were reported in Mumbai’s high-rises since 2008 and sabotaging 8,737 residential buildings and about 3,833 commercial buildings. During major fire incidents in high-rises, evacuation of people is a major cause of concern. This mandate will have a retrospective effect as those buildings constructed between 2018 and 2022 will also have to install a fire evacuation lift with specifications issued by the fire department.
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Fire evacuation lifts are special elevators that are designed to be fire resistant for at least 2 hours and are present in a different corridor of the building that is away from the occupied space. While residents and occupants shouldn’t use the existing lifts in case of a fire incident, fire evacuation lifts are of great use as evacuation can be done faster.
According to Vikram Mehta, Managing Director of Spartan Engineering Industries and Fire Evacuation Lift Expert, “Time is important when fighting fires. A few seconds can be all that stands between controllable flames and an out-of-control blaze. Therefore, fire evacuation lifts are important to evacuate the people on time before it gets out of control. It will be a lifesaver for firefighters and for the people.”
According to a HT report, so far, only 13 high-rises out of 368 skyscrapers in Mumbai are equipped with fire evacuation lifts even though the notification was issued in 2018. If we look at Mumbai and Thane together, 21 buildings have installed fire evacuation lifts in 2022.
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Hemant Parab, chief fire officer (CFO) of the Mumbai Fire Brigade mentioned that the numbers are low owing to the time taken to complete the project. “The fire evacuation lifts are installed only after the project is completed and certified after it is in an operational stage. The construction work takes time and there was a 2-year long lockdown in between. But we have made a compulsory provision that now all the upcoming buildings will have to install these specialised elevators or else, they will not be granted a No Objection Certificate (NOC),” said Parab.
Agreeing with the circular, Harrish Jain, vice president, Brihanmumbai Developers Association says, “The advisory that fire evacuation lifts are mandatory in high-rises of 70 meters and above is a welcome and a long-pending move. This strengthens the security of tenants and ensures a basic safety measure that the developers have to pay attention to. By making it mandatory, safety and evacuation of residents will rightly take the first priority.”
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