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News Release

Building Inspections Help Ensure Fire Safety

Following a recent major fire that broke out at a high-rise residential building in Bangkok, questions on how high-rise developments can be protected from serious fires arose. Whilst no building is 100% safe from fire as long as there are flammable materials and supplies within the building, complying with fire safety regulations as well as understanding what causes most fires and how to prevent them will help better ensure safety, according to Jones Lang LaSalle, a professional services firm specialising in real estate.
Mrs. Suphin Mechuchep, Managing Director of Jones Lang LaSalle Thailand, said, ‘First and foremost, building owners must be compliant with the law, which requires the building to receive an inspection by a certified inspector. Results from the inspection will tell if any repair or improvement to the fire safety systems is required. It is important that the building owner must take actions accordingly.’
The building inspection is also beneficial to those who are looking to buy or rent condominium units in completed buildings. ‘Most people only look at the basic selection criteria including the location of the property, quality of the construction and design of the unit. Very few would pay attention to the safety management of the building,’ said Mrs. Suphin. ‘Before making a decision to buy or rent, one should ask for a copy of the valid building inspection report from the owner.’
Mr. Dexter Norville, a director of Property and Asset Management at Jones Lang LaSalle, said, ‘While buildings that are professionally managed should be fire safe, the building inspection will help ensure that the building meets the minimum fire safety standard required by law.’
The fire safety inspections cover all fire protection and fighting systems such as fire escape and stairs; fire exit and signage; exhaust fan and smoke damper; emergency power backup; fireman lift; fire alarm; fire fighting equipment; fire pump and fire hose reel; sprinkler; and lightning protection. These inspections are aimed at ensuring that all fire safety systems receive proper and adequate maintenance so that they are functional. They also cover the safety management plans including fire protection and fighting, fire drill, and safety and building inspections.
While the lack of professional property management and care leads to serious loss and damage from fire, many fires are caused by residents within the property. Most apartment fires can be traced to cooking/kitchen blazes, electrical short circuits, heating elements such as stoves or water heaters and cigarettes as well as child fire play. ‘Understanding what causes most apartment fires will help prevent them,’ said Mr. Norville.
‘It must be understood that fire safety is everyone's responsibility. Owners, occupiers, juristic persons and property managers must plan to ensure that a development is fire safe,’ he added.
  • All high-rise buildings are required by law to receive a building inspection and host a fire drill at least once a year.
  • As most high-rise buildings are constructed of fire-resistant materials, fires are generally confined to individual rooms or apartments or possibly one floor.
  • Stairwell doors are fire doors that must be closed at all times to prevent the spread of fire, smoke and poisonous gases.
  • Smoke alarms should be tested once a year and cleaned at least once every six months by gently vacuuming the exterior. For battery-operated smoke alarms, the batteries should be changed at least once a year.
  • Floor plans and evacuation procedures must be posted and visible on every floor.
  • Using balconies for storage can block a means of escape.