High rises: A safe bet ?

Builders often cut corners and compromise on safety aspects but seldom does it lead to gross tragedies.

Kochi: The tragic death of four-year-old Daya, who fell from the ninth floor of her apartment in the city while her mother had gone to see off her elder sister to school, has raised questions about how safe tall buildings are for children and the elderly.

Builders often cut corners and compromise on safety aspects but seldom does it lead to gross tragedies. When one happens, it leads to a reality check.

“All high rises undergo fire and safety inspection by the Fire Safety Department and get its approval and NOC which is mandatory for getting the building an occupancy certificate. The fire and safety inspection makes sure that the norms regarding balcony - their grills and their height - are met by the builders."

"A four inch gap is allowed between rails and a height of three to four feet is prescribed for the grill. So there is no question of compromising on these norms,” said John Thomas, president, Confederation of Real Estate Developers Associations of India (CREDAI), Kochi Chapter.

Both John Thomas and Desai Developers director Sanjay Shenoy, have cautioned against using the balcony as a playground for children and leaning against it carelessly.

“Even holding small children and standing near the balcony is dangerous. Children should not be allowed to play on the balcony with their cycles,” said both the builders. They also called for immediate repair of any defect the moment it was detected.

Shenoy said the apartment where the accident took place was seven years old and he’d come to know that the owner of the flat had not repaired a broken rail of the balcony, through which the child had fallen, despite the family which lived there on rent, had asked the owner to repair it.

“It may have come off due to pressure exerted on it by some means,” he said. In the light of the accident, the group has decided to conduct a safety audit on all its apartments. Architect Gopakumar said all builders who hired him had made it a point to ensure the safety of the buildings.

There was a 9 inch gap between rails

However, Ernakulam North police additional sub-inspector Suresh M. N. said at the 9-H flat from where Daya fell and died on Thursday there was a gap of 9 inch between the two rails through which Daya fell.

"There is no trace of existence of any rail between these two rails. We are making more investigation. Since the family is away for funeral, the probe will be resumed tomorrow or day after," he added

( Source : dc )
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