The Delhi Fire Service (DFS) on Wednesday cleared seven proposals for fire safety systems in buildings being constructed under the Government's Central Vista Project.
According to a senior official, the proposals were cleared by the DFS after the building designs were presented for approval by the government. The proposals came overriding resistance from the architects who said the changes will hamper the beauty of these buildings.
The proposals include an internal road for fire tenders movement in case of high rise buildings and provisions for a fire check road for the protection of exits and staircases. "Pressurisation" of the staircase and means of escape is another recommendation suggested wherever required in the building designs, they said.
Each of the seven proposals consist of plans for more than two buildings which were cleared between 2020-2022, they said. These buildings are — New Parliament Building, New PMO building, Amenity block, and Common Central secretariat being made under the Central Vista project, and a few other office buildings, besides Rajpath.
Other than these, various in-built fire-fighting arrangements are recommended to be installed in the buildings such as a fire exit, a hose reel, a wet riser, hydrants, an automatic sprinkler system, internal hydrants and yard hydrants, pumping arrangements, and captive water storage for fire-fighting, the fire officers said.
"Automatic fire detection and alarming system, manual-operated electric fire alarm system and a public address system are also recommended as per National Building Code of India Chapter 4 on fire and fire safety."All the recommendations suggested are being followed and implemented in the building designs which had altered," the officer said. Atul Garg, Director of DFS said, "The buildings under the Central Vista project have state-of-the-art technology as far as the fire department is considered. We have tried to provide the best infrastructure for the fire safety system. This is going to have in-built fire safety systems with a set up of a huge fire control room as well."
The fire officials said that initially it was not easy to convince the architects of the project to make certain specific changes in terms of fire safety system as they were of the view that any such changes could affect the beauty of the buildings.
"However, after a lot of discussions and at least seven-eight rounds of meetings held with our retired service providers, architects and consultants involved in the project, they agreed to make all the necessary suggestions recommended by the fire department to ensure an efficient fire safety system," the director told.
He said the fire safety system provided in each of these buildings is "one of the best of its kind." "As it is a very important project, the fire department has suggested more fire fighting systems. All due precautions have been taken with reference to the fire safety system of the buildings and it will be a model building as far as the fire system is considered even though there was stiff resistance earlier."
Dr Sanjay Kumar Tomar, Deputy Chief Fire Officer said, the major recommendations suggested for each of these buildings include a fire safety arrangement, means of escape, and means of accessing and exiting the building with such considerations as the number, width, type and arrangement of sufficient number of exits.
Fire compartmentation, protection of exits through fire check doors, fire resistant material for construction of buildings as per unified by laws 2016 were also made to be incorporated in the design of the buildings, he said."Several meetings with architects and designers were held and they were convinced and agreed to make the changes and submitted the revised building plans which were approved by Delhi Fire Service," Tomar said.
The officer said that "It is usually a routine process that before giving approval to buildings, parameters with respect to fire and life safety measures are scrutinised and deficiencies, shortcomings are conveyed so that those shortcomings can be removed."
Nowadays, all building plans are referred to Delhi Fire Service through the online portals of respective building sanctioning authorities such as Municipal Corporation of Delhi, Delhi Development Authority, Delhi Metro Rail Corporation, Central Public Works Department, Public Work Department etc, he added.
According to the fire department, these building plans are either approved, and shortcomings if there are any are communicated online within 15 days of receipt of building plans.
In important projects of the government with fixed timeline, prior meetings are conducted to discuss fire safety measures according to their nature, such as if they are residential, educational, institutional (hospitals), business, mercantile, industrial, or are going to be used to store hazardous material.
Most of the buildings under the Central Vista project are divided into fire sub-compartments having fire resistant walls on all sides including top and bottom, which will help them contain fire within its origin, the fire officials said.
All openings (service ducts) in a fire compartment are sealed through fire resistant material. All exits are provided with fire check doors in a sub fire compartment, they said.
The buildings also have a smoke management system -- a very important provision to control smoke in case of fire, the fire officials said.
The buildings provide safe passage for the occupants and also facilitate fire-fighters to locate the origin of fire. This helps in controlling fire early leading to less damage.
"The fire smoke contains harmful gases like hydrogen snide, carbon monoxide and HCL. These affect in three ways… They are harmful poisonous gases, chemical irritants which impede escape by obscuring life," he added.