The first phase of the ongoing fire audit of high rise buildings, a voluntary initiative of the Department of Fire Services following the ghastly inferno at Carlton Towers, will be completed by February 26.
The fire audit lacks legal sanction but the department has randomly homed in on some high rises in Bangalore, besides in a few other cities of the State.
The audit is to ascertain whether or not building owners have followed the recommendations of the Fire Force after the issue of its no objection certificate (NoC) following the building plan approval.
Other cities also
Only 12 buildings in Bangalore will be subjected to the fire audit, said D.V. Guruprasad, Director-General of Police (Home Guards, Fire Force and Civil Defence). Also, five buildings each in Mysore and Mangalore and two each in all other districts will be covered under the audit.
In Bangalore, the audit will cover some malls, residential buildings, apartments and shopping complexes. If the exercise comes through successfully, it would be implemented with greater vigour, Dr. Guruprasad said.
The aim is to ascertain whether fire safety norms have been adhered to. If the buildings lack fire safety equipment or have not followed the National Building Code or Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) bylaws, they will be apprised of the lacunae and advised to take remedial action.
Findings on website
The findings of the audit of all the buildings inspected till February 26 will be uploaded on the Fire Force Department's website.
Asked why such an audit cannot automatically follow immediately after a building is constructed, Dr. Guruprasad said there is no law mandating such an exercise. Instead, the onus on checking whether it is constructed as per the plan or not vests with the BBMP. “The Fire Force gives a NoC after inspecting the site and going through the plan. Where do we have the power to check whether or not our recommendations are followed?”
The Government, on its part, is toying with the idea to make fire audits mandatory. But till such a law is passed, such audits can at best only be voluntary.