Seminar discusses fire safety in buildings

Thursday, May 24, 2018 08:31

Delegates at a seminar titled “Working for safer buildings in smart cities” held by the US consulate in HCM City on May 22. — VNS Photo

Major cities around the world have seen a movement towards vertical living instead of horizontal, and Viet Nam is seeing a similar trend, a seminar heard in HCM City on Tuesday.

Mary Tarnowka, US consul general in the city, said she had seen tremendous growth in HCM City’s residential and commercial infrastructure in the last two years.

The urbanisation trend is not unique to HCM City as other cities around the country and in other ASEAN member countries are seeing an influx of people to urban centres.

“Ensuring the safety of our homes, offices, and public spaces is an integral part of building trust and confidence among the residents of HCM City. This includes having frequent and reliable safety inspections that enforce the city’s building regulations as well as deploying the latest products and services.”

She said she was saddened by the tragic loss of life at the Carina Plaza apartment complex in District 8 in March.

“Incidents like this one are garnering more attention globally. Many can be prevented with a greater investment in building safety training, prevention through inspection services, and enforcement of rules and regulations.

“Achieving safer buildings not only comes from more robust and rigorous safety inspection practices, but having the appropriate internationally recognised standards in place.”

Pham Minh Ha, general director of the Ministry of Construction’s State Authority for Construction Quality Inspection Department, said ensuring the safety of people and assets in buildings had always been a top priority.

“The legal framework related to fire safety, construction inspection and other safety aspects of buildings has been strengthened. Relevant ministries and agencies have enhanced co-operation to improve fire safety inspections of buildings.”

The number of buildings built before 1990 remains high, with many degraded and threatening the safety of occupants, he told the seminar on “Working for safer buildings in smart cities” held by the consulate and UL, a US-based safety consulting and certification company.

Besides, many buildings have been built subsequently in violation of licence conditions and without their designs strictly complying with fire safety provisions, he said.

His ministry would continue to check compliance with construction norms, fire safety equipment and their maintenance, and severely penalise violations, he said.

Major General Doan Viet Manh, director of the Viet Nam Fire and Rescue Police Department, said building owners should choose modern fire safety technologies and qualified consulting, design and construction supervision units, and use fireproof materials, intelligent fire alarm systems that are linked to the fire service and can alert people to ensure evacuation before emergency forces arrive.

Many US companies also shared information and best practices to help Government leaders, developers, construction firms and other stakeholders explore ways to mitigate building safety and security risks. — VNS

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