The Mumbai Fire Brigade claims to have audited 6,000 buildings in the past three years and plans to continue doing this following chief minister Devendra Fadnavis’ directives to Brihanmumbai Municipal
The Mumbai Fire Brigade claims to have audited 6,000 buildings in the past three years and plans to continue doing this following chief minister Devendra Fadnavis’ directives to Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) in July to audit 6,512 other buildings in the city. Out of the audited buildings, officials said they have encountered irregularities in over 30 per cent of the structures.
While the Fire Brigade has not formatted a standard operating procedure for auditing the buildings, chief fire officer P. Rahangdale said 70 special officers from the Fire Brigade have been entrusted with this task, as is the procedure.
Mr Rahangdale said, “It is not the Fire Brigade’s responsibility to audit buildings suo motu. There are private auditors appointed for this. Owners of buildings have to approach the auditors, get a clearance certificate from them, and submit it to the Fire Brigade annually. Yet, we take up the responsibility of auditing as a duty.”
In the meantime, based on the seniority of the special officials, they are allotted building types. Buildings with larger areas are allotted to senior officials, while residential buildings are allotted to junior officials. These officials have completed auditing about 2,000 buildings per year in the last three years, out of which they have encountered irregularities in over 30 per cent of the structures.
Mr Rahangdale said, “We send notices to the defaulters and they have to submit compliance certificate within a stipulated time. Beyond this, we charge them under the Maharashtra Fire Safety Act. We will follow this procedure for all the buildings to be audited hence forth as well.” The Fire Brigade is currently prosecuting 14 such building owners for non-compliance.
In July this year, Mr Fadnavis directed BMC to conduct fire audits of 6,512 buildings in the city. He also asked the civic body to map areas with buildings that run a high risk of fire, and streamline the 4,000-odd private auditors who give fire certification.