Islamabad - The Capital Development Authority (CDA) has found a number of city’s buildings including big shopping malls and high-rise residential buildings in a compromised state of arrangements in terms of fire prevention and life safety equipment and installations, bringing thereby life of hundreds of visitors and tenants at risk in case a natural or manmade disaster hits the premises. The owners of the buildings have failed to comply with the CDA Building Standards for Fire Prevention and Life Safety 2010, regulated under Islamabad Fire Prevention and Life Safety Regulations 2010 despite repeated reminders, it has been learnt.

Most of the buildings have no arrangements for entry and parking of big fire extinguishing vehicles in case any fire erupts.

According to a ‘final notice’ issued by the Emergency & Disaster Management (E&DM) directorate CDA to the management of Safa Gold Mall in F-7 Markaz, the latter has failed to comply with the CDA Buildings Standards for Fire Prevention and Life Safety 2010. The management of Safa Gold Mall was earlier issued notice in May 2014 followed by advisory report in December 2015 and a show-cause notice dated February 12, 2016 on the subject. “M/S Safa Gold Mall has neither complied with the advisory recommendations nor dealt technically with this highly critical aspect of life safety, bringing thereby life of hundreds of visitors at risk,” reads the notice. The notice further said that the mall has no arrangements for entry and parking of fire extinguishing vehicles in case fire erupts as the adjacent plot has been completely covered by installing generators. “The rear side is meant for open parking and the other side has merely an access road to the plaza parking which can be disastrous in case fire erupts,” it added. The shopping mall management has been asked to adopt best public safety measures at the premises, failing which an amount of Rs 500,000 shall be imposed in accordance with clause 6 &9 of the safety regulations 2010.

The other buildings which were found not complying with the regulations include Rehmania Flour Mills I-9, Ismail Roller Flour Mills I-9, Silver Oaks F-10 Markaz, Golden Heights F-11, Millennium Heights F-11, Abu Dhabi Tower F-11, Park Avenue F-11, Karakorum Enclave-I, F-11, Savoy Residences F-11, Sughra Tower F-11, Safa-2 F-11, Tariq Heights F-11, Al-Mustafa Tower F-10, Alsafa-I F-11, Park Tower F-10, Karakarm Enclave-2 F-11/1 and RK Steel Mills I-9. The owners of these 42 properties were fined Rs 500,000 each (Rs over 12 million collectively) for violating the safety regulations but they failed to submit fine. The E&DM directorate some days back, issued reminders to the owners of these buildings to deposit the requisite amount in the E&DM account as recovery of arrears of land revenues. They were additionally charged Rs 3,000 for each passing day from the date of issuance of challans in accordance with caluse-9 of penalties of the Islamabad Fire Prevention and Life Safety Regulations 2010. The directorate of E&DM has the powers to penalise the violators under clause 6 &9 of the CDA Building Standards for Fire Prevention and Life Safety 2010.

Furthermore, the E&DM directorate has asked the chief fire and rescue E&DM directorate to provide data pertaining to the fire incidents occurred with names, date, response time, casualties, damages, reasons of fire and owners’ satisfaction receipts etc during the last five years in the industrial, commercial and residential zones, rural areas, markets and marakaz, forests, government buildings, roads, avenues and high-rise buildings along with training and development of staff officers to formulate a strategy for future.  The data has been sought before conducting inspections in the much desired areas in connection with CDA building standards for fire prevention and life safety 2010.  Sources in the CDA told The Nation that E&DM directorate of the CDA has decided to expedite inspections as per given specification of buildings standards 2010 and implementing CDA building standards for fire prevention and life safety 2010.