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To ensure a safe work environment and minimise fires and accidents in commercial buildings such as factories, government bylaws pertaining to safety should be adhered to during construction.

These include:

Ventilation

  • All workrooms should have adequate ventilation via one or more external wall openings (windows, ducts and doors) to ensure uninterrupted air passage. The combined area of these openings should be at least 10% of the covered area of the room.
  • All interior staircases must have adequate lighting, as well as ventilation from openings. The area of these openings should be at least 7.5% of the staircase area.

Fire hazard equipment.

  • All buildings that are ground plus three storeys high or more (and exceed 43 feet in height) should be equipped with at least one indoor fire hose stand.
  • For buildings that are four to eight storeys high, the hose should be at least two inches thick. For buildings that are taller, the hose should be at least four inches thick. The length of the hose should be at least 100 feet and be enclosed in a secure cabinet. Water supply should be sourced from an overhead designated water tank with a minimum capacity of 5,000 gallons.
  • A minimum of one fire extinguisher should be placed on every floor of the building.

Automatic sprinkler systems.

  • An automatic sprinkler system is compulsory in buildings that are more than one storey high and have a covered area of over 20,000 square feet.
  • Sprinkler systems should be placed in workrooms, corridors and staircases. Water for these systems should be sourced from an overhead, designated water tank. The tank should be able to hold enough water to ensure that 25% of the sprinklers can function at full force for at least 20 minutes.

Fire alarm system.

  • All buildings comprising more than two storeys should have a fire alarm system if the covered area of its upper floors (excluding the ground floor and the first floor) exceeds 4,000 square feet.

– Uzma Nawaz
Information collated from http://www.kbca.gov.pk

First published in the Real Estate Section of The DAWN National Weekend Advertiser on September 23, 2012

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