From existing 15 metre, the state government has increased the height to 24 metre for all buildings requiring fire no-objection-certificate (NOC) and mandatory installation of fire safety systems. For non-residential structures, the norm has been revised from existing 150 sq mt built up area to 500 sq mt.
The changes have been made in unified Development Control and Promotion Regulations (DCPR) which has been implemented in all municipal corporations, excluding Mumbai, from December 3.
Earlier, buildings requiring fire NOC were called as high-rise buildings. In unified DCR, the government has continued with title of high-rise buildings and also called them special buildings. An official from NMC Fire and Emergency Services Department told TOI title of special buildings will be applicable for fire NOC and fire safety systems.
As per unified DCR, special buildings will mean any multi-storied structure which is more than 24 metre in height measured from ground level. Also, buildings for educational, assembly, mercantile, institutional, industrial, storage, hazardous occupancies, mixed occupancies with built-up area of 500 sq.mt or above on any floor irrespective of height are also special buildings.
Corporator Praful Gudadhe, also a builder, said, “Process to obtain fire NOC and installation of systems takes a lot of time and money. The revision is a good move and will boost the realty sector. The city will witness growth in high-rise buildings up to 24 metre (8 floor) instead of 15 metre (5 floor). Nowadays, all builders and societies ensure basic safety systems in buildings. This will be ultimately benefit end users,” he said.
Activist Kamlesh Shah alleged government has increased the criteria under influence of builders. “Government has put people at risk. Also, congestion will increase manifold as new norm are expected to encourage high-rise buildings in city. The revisions are also in contravention with National Building Code and Fire Act. Government should recall the decision,” he said.
Another activist TH Naidu said majority of flat schemes, commercial, hospital and hospitality buildings will be exempted in new criteria even as fire systems are very important in these structures. “On one hand, the government is relaxing the norms and on other hand not providing sufficient staff and machineries to the fire department. Safety systems prevent and extinguish fires in buildings. Therefore, government should continue with norm of 15 metre for all structures and 150 sq mt built up area for non-residential buildings,” he said.
Naidu added one norm cannot be applicable for all cities. “Government brought unified DCR to have similar norms for all cities. Area of plots, width and number of roads, open spaces, congestion, living standards etc of Nagpur is totally different as compared to other cities. New norm might suit Pune, Thane etc, but not Nagpur,” he said.
Playing with fire
* In city, fire department NOC and installation of fire safety systems must for buildings above 15 mt and non-residential structures with built up area of 150 sq.mt
* Height of majority of flat schemes just below 15 metre to avoid NOC and cut expenses on fire safety
* Built-up area of some commercial, hospital and hospitality buildings just below 150 sq mt
* In unified DCPR, building height increased to 24 metre and built up area to 500 sq mt for non-residential structures
* Now, high rise buildings up to 24 metre will increase
* Fire safety systems not mandatory for such buildings
* Fire department will not have authority to check these buildings