ISLAMABAD: The Capital Development Authority (CDA) has started issuing notices to building owners to get their buildings audited in light of the new fire safety regulations.

A press release issued by the Directorate of Building Control Service (BCS) on Saturday said that all buildings falling under Category-II, III and IV will be issued notices and asked to get their buildings inspected for compliance with “CDA Building Standards for Fire Prevention and Life Safety 2010” and “Islamabad Fire Prevention and Life Safety Regulations 2010”.

The Category-II buildings being notified in the first phase are two-storey buildings, industries and all other non-residential buildings except farmhouses.

Category-III buildings comprise non-residential five-storey buildings, whereas Category-IV buildings include all buildings over six-storeys and more.

The press release said that with the printing of these regulations in Official Gazette of Pakistan, all existing buildings are under legal obligation to take measures and install all required equipment within six months.

The regulations empower the CDA disaster management directorate to survey both public and private buildings and ensure that adequate fire precautionary measures, such as fire exits, fire alarms and fire extinguishers, are in place.

After completion of the inspection of a building or premises, CDA will issue notice to the owner telling them of the safety hazards they need to address to meet the requirements of the safety regulations. The building standards have been divided into three clauses: fire prevention, life safety and fire protection.

The fire prevention covers design and construction of buildings on passive fire protection measures, describing various types of building material and their fire safety rating. The life safety provision deals with events of fire and similar emergencies, addressing construction and occupancy features that are necessary to minimise danger to life from fire, smoke, fumes or panic.

The protection aspect covers components and gives guidelines for selecting correct types of equipment and installations meant for fire protection of buildings.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 6th, 2011.