Monday, September 25, 2017

New safety rules follow fire at Yangon’s tallest building

The Myanmar Fire Services Department and Yangon City Development Committee have issued new safety instructions for high-rise buildings following a fire that engulfed the top of an incomplete condominium earlier this week.

The November 17 fire at Diamond Inya Palace seen from Parami Road. Photo: StaffThe November 17 fire at Diamond Inya Palace seen from Parami Road. Photo: Staff

Police arrested the supervisor at the Diamond Inya Palace construction site after the fire started on the 22nd floor of what was set to be a 34-storey block of luxury apartments, and raged for four hours early on November 17.

The building, which was intended to become the tallest in Myanmar, is on U Htun Nyein Street, Mayangone township.

Township fire brigade officials said 700 plywood sheets and 10 tonnes of timber were stored on the floor. The fire occurred as a result of a falling light which apparently ignited the wood.

Police yesterday said site supervisor Ko Zaw Min Htwe had been charged with negligence in connection with the fire, and released on bail as part of an investigation. The developer could not be reached for comment by press time.

The Myanmar Fire Services Department announced that they had issued new instructions on fire inspections for buildings of more than 12 storeys. U Aung Swe Win, the brigade’s deputy director, said, “Until now, buildings under construction did not require wet-risers to be installed or fire extinguishers, but now they will have to do so.”

Fire officers will now inspect all high-rise buildings under construction, throughout the country.

“We used to inspect completed buildings before tenants moved in, but now we will inspect buildings under construction as well,” he said, adding that the brigade had learned “a lesson”.

Developers wishing to build a high-rise will now need fire brigade approval, and will have to submit to additional inspections.

“Once they have been granted a permit for a high-rise building, we will have to conduct additional inspections and verify the installation of a wet-riser,” said U Aung Swe Win.

The Committee for Quality Control of High-Rise Buildings Projects and YCDC also plan to tighten up their safety and fire prevention inspections regime, said U Khin Maung Tint, chair of the CQHP.

“We will convene with developers to discuss safety during construction. Our inspections have revealed certain violations,” he said, adding that fire prevention measures in some high-rise buildings now under construction were inadequate.

The deputy director of the building engineering department of YCDC, U Nay Win, said the city would take action against developers found not to have made sufficient safety provision in accordance with CQHP regulations.