NOCs crucial to show compliance with safety standards

Hyderabad: Following major fire incidents at a gaming hub in Rajkot, where 33 people, including nine children, died and at a private hospital’s baby care unit in Delhi, where seven newborns lost their lives, experts have raised concerns of compliance with safety standards in such places.

A major proof of safety is signified by a no objection certificate (NOC) issued by the fire department to buildings and institutions.

According to per S.P. Anchuri, a structural engineer, NOCs are a fundamental component of fire hazard prevention as they ensure that buildings are equipped with all necessary fire safety measures, emergency plans and regular maintenance.

“Last year, after the Deccan Mall and Swapnalok complex accidents in the city, there was some movement to bring in a new NOC system covering right from small vulnerable spaces to big establishments, including tall buildings, which was not so stringent for 15-metre high buildings,” he said.

Harinath Reddy, regional fire officer, central region, Hyderabad, told Deccan Chronicle that the department issues NoCs based on fire prevention and life safety standards prescribed in the National Building Code of India, 2016.

“We issue provisional NOCs before the construction and occupancy NoCs after the construction and renewals every five years,” he said.

Also, according to him, surprise inspections through randomised algorithms are conducted every month in more than 50 premises prescribed in the NBC, like hospitals, schools, function halls, malls and multiplexes, among others.

According to Anchuri, NOCs, which are part of regulatory compliance, ensure that buildings and facilities have a fire safety infrastructure in place. “The process of obtaining a NoC often involves thorough inspections of fire safety infrastructure such as fire alarms, sprinkler systems, fire extinguishers, emergency exits, and smoke detectors. Risk assessment has to be taken up during the NOC issuing process and authorities ensure that appropriate mitigation measures are implemented. NOCs also ensure emergency preparedness. It also involves training building occupants and staff on fire safety protocols and emergency procedures. Apart from all these, holding a valid NOC can also have legal and financial benefits for the owner of the building,” he said.

Fire department permits

The fire safety department issues no objection certificates (NOC) in different categories for a variety of building categories. The data for 2023 is:

Provisional NoC

Applications Approved Rejected

1,567 1,460 40

Occupancy NoCs

781 707 56

These include buildings meant for the congregation of people.

One application for amusement parks, grandstands was received and rejected last year.

10 applications for multiplexes approved

31 applications received for educational, institutional and business categories, 22 accepted

In 2024, from January to date, 311 applications for occupancy NOCs received, 240 approved.

In 2023, the department conducted 416 surprise inspections and 139 this year

( Source : Deccan Chronicle )
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