“Refuge Area” – The last line of defense of skyscraper is at stake now!!!
Refuge areas are areas in a high-rise building where common people can hide or take shelter in case of any fire accident or emergency. Though there is an extreme need of these areas for which Government has also mentioned strict code for building development in National Building Code (NBC) but these areas are often misused by Developers, contractor, architectures etc. who surreptitiously try to convert them or use the space into habitable areas for their maximum profit and selfish motives. In most cases, such developments are sold to buyers who illegally stay or utilize them for residential or commercial purposes.
Whether or not any building is commercial or residential; if the buildings cross the height of seventh floors in any metropolitan city of the India the building shall be recognized under high-rise buildings where as per NBC code, a refuge area must be present on the seventh floor. Also, the Terrace Floor of the building will be considered as “Refuge Area”.
As per the new Rules, a Refuge Area must be provided at every 7th habitable floor exactly after the first 24 meters of the building. The Refuge Area also must be provided within building line at floor level. For high-rise buildings having more than 30 meters heights, the first Refuge Area shall be provided at 24 meters or at 1st floor. After that, the Refuge Area shall be provided at every 7th habitable floor.
The Refuge Area must have a door painted or fixed with a sign in luminous paint mentioning “REFUGE AREA”. As per the stated rules, refuge areas are designated exclusively for the use of temporary shelter and the use of Fire Brigade Department or also for exercises/drills if conducted by the Fire Brigade Department.
Though it was mentioned strictly that “REFUGE AREA” cannot be used for any entertainment activities or other events like Indoor game, yoga class etc. but a continuous violation in each and every high-rise building is continuously been seen at most of the high-rise buildings in Mumbai, Delhi etc. It is found that many societies rent this flat for a party or conducting classes which are not permitted as per fire & safety act 2005 MC or some builders add these areas into their construction project as the luxurious construction of flower beds, voids etc, to sell the apartment to have maximum profit as they can gain. Any builders or society can go to JAIL if anyone complaint with proof that any builder has misused the Refuge Area for illegal construction or prove that MC has rented this area.
After all, There is nothing important than safety and precaution of lives of common people. We can live in skyscraper only if, “Building Stays Firm, Citizen Stays Safe”.