Fire safety regulations to become mandatory in buildings over 22 floors in Mumbai

Share this content


Following major fires in recent months in city high-rises buildings including in Kurla, Dadar and Malad, have led to the Mumbai state government moving a new fire safety bill, which moved in the state assembly on Tuesday, making a fire safety officer and a supervisor mandatory for buildings taller than 22 floors.

Under the provisions of the bill buildings—both residential and industrial with hazardous activities— will have to set up an IoT-enabled fire safety mechanism that includes round-the-clock monitoring of premises to watch for potential fire incidents as well as a bi-annual fire safety audit to assess preparedness.

Violation of the new safety laws can invite imprisonment of up to three years and a penalty of up to ₹1 lakh.

The bill has been moved to amend the Maharashtra Fire Prevention and Life Safety Measures Act and bring it on the lines of the National Building Code (NBC) revised by the central government in 2016.

It will provide a legal framework to the fire safety norms that are currently in place in Mumbai and a few other cities in the form of orders passed after the massive fire at Mantralaya that gutted three floors in 2012.

The bill also permits an increase in the height of educational institutions in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region and Pune Metropolitan Region from the current 30 metres to 45 metres (over 15 storeys). Automated parking lots too can now go up to 100 metres against the present 45 metres.

An official from the urban development department said: “Once the act comes into being, buildings and housing societies will have to mandatorily follow the norms. The IoT-enabled system will have to be monitored by Building Management System (BMS) round the clock.

“The sensor-based system will monitor the water level in tanks, the condition of fire pumps near the water tank, the alarm system and sprinkler system among others. The fire brigade will get alerts about the lacunae and appropriate action will be taken against the societies.”

The officer also said that in Mumbai, the new Development Plan for the city has provisions for fire safety compliance for buildings above 32 meters: “They will now get a legal framework for action against violations. Unlike in the present system, the enactment will give legal powers to the authorities to hold auditors and societies responsible.”

The bill is expected to be passed in the state legislature this week. Once approved by both houses, the amendment will come into force immediately.

Receive the latest breaking news straight to your inbox