Public Building and Fire Safety Rules in India

There have been deadly fires in the hospital buildings of India. This includes hospitals treating COVID-19 as well. The recent fires in hospital buildings of Virar region of Mumbai, Bharuch in Gujarat and in Mumbra near Thane has brought the spotlight to the Public Building and Fire Safety rules.

Root Cause of the problems

The public building and fire safety rules are not abided during the construction of buildings. According to National Crime Records Bureau more than 330 people died in commercial fires in 2019.

Electrical faults have been identified as the main reason behind recent fires in the hospitals. The State Governments fail to implement building safety laws that make installation of modern technologies mandatory.

National Building Code of India

  • It is the main standard fire safety compliance in public buildings. It provides the technical requirements for special buildings. Part 4 of the code deals with Fire and Line Safety.
  • They recommend the location of buildings. They ensure that industrial and hazardous structures do not coexist with residential and business buildings.
  • It provides specifications for use of certified fire-resistant materials and guidelines to design buildings. The code makes it mandatory to set up automatic fire detection system, dry riser pipelines, automatic sprinklers, fireman’s lift escape routes, etc. The dry riser pipelines are used by the fire fighters to douse (pour a liquid) upper floors.

Recent measures

  • In September 2020, the Health Ministry circulated strict guidelines demanding for a third-party accreditation for fire safety.
  • The Supreme Court in December 2020 directed all the states to carry out fire safety audits.
  • The National Disaster Management Authority recently stipulated requirements for fire safety in hospitals and other public buildings.


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