Chandigarh Municipal Corporation to inspect buildings Over 15 Meters for Fire Safety


Following the extensive fire incident at PGI, the Municipal Corporation has taken a crucial step by initiating a comprehensive survey of all buildings, whether private or government-owned, exceeding a height of 15 meters.
Officials have pointed out that, by the National Building Code of India from 2016, buildings over 15 meters in height must obtain a fire safety certificate from the Fire Department. Gurinder Singh Sodhi, Joint Commissioner-cum-Chief Fire Officer, stated, “We are soon going to start this survey.”
Upon completion of the survey, the Municipal Corporation will compile a list of any discrepancies discovered in specific buildings and forward these to the respective owners or authorities concerned. These entities will be required to rectify the identified issues and apply for the fire safety certificate. Failure to comply may result in notices being issued. According to regulations, the department may even seal a building for failure to acquire the certificate. The certificate has a validity of three years and must be applied online.
Despite prior surveys conducted by the Municipal Corporation, building owners and authorities have often shown little interest in obtaining the necessary No-Objection Certificate (NOC).
Statistics available until last year indicate that, out of over 20,000 commercial establishments in the city, only about 1,000 have obtained the fire safety certificate or NOC from the civic body. Fire safety standards for acquiring the NOC include the presence of fire extinguishers on all floors, an automated sprinkler system, unobstructed escape routes, natural ventilation and lighting, and the use of flame-resistant materials for furniture.
MPS Chawla, President of the Chandigarh Industrial Association, had previously urged the Municipal Corporation to simplify the NOC procurement process, enabling businesses to obtain it and purchase essential firefighting equipment. Mayor Anup Gupta had also promised traders that he would address the various challenges encountered in obtaining the fire NOC.
The Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGI) was recently served with a notice by the Fire Department, directing them to rectify discrepancies. Out of PGI’s 16 buildings, only one, Nehru Extension, possesses the NOC. This is a significant concern given that PGI serves thousands of patients daily, and during the recent fire incident, more than 400 patients had to be evacuated.
In addition to PGI, as many as 22 government and private hospitals in the city currently lack a fire safety certificate.
The Fire Department has identified discrepancies in these hospitals, but they are yet to address these issues, and their applications for the NOC are in process. On the other hand, 24 hospitals have successfully obtained fire safety certificates.