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Experts for amending national building code, set high-rise building definition

Industry leaders and experts on Monday urged the government to amend the existing Bangladesh National Building Code, update it timely and set a high-rise building definition to ensure fire safety and security.
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Industry leaders and experts on Monday urged the government to amend the existing Bangladesh National Building Code, update it timely and set a high-rise building definition to ensure fire safety and security.

They made these recommendations in a seminar titled BNBC ’Fire Code’ implementation & Challenges in Bangladesh organized by the Electronics Safety and Security Association of Bangladesh (ESSAB) at the Bangabandhu International Conference Centre (BICC) in Dhaka on Monday (February 19, 2024).

The seminar is attended by Mr. Mohammad Hatem, Executive President, BKMEA as the Chief Guest while Mohammed Shahjahan, Senior Vice President of ESSAB was the Moderator.

The Panelists were Brigadier General Ali Ahmed Khan, PSC (Retd.)Director General, Bangladesh Fire Service and Civil Defence;Eng. Md. Hasmotuzzaman, CEO, Utility Professional; Mr. Md. Hasanuzzaman, RSC, RMG Sustainable Council; Engr. Md. Al-Emran Hossain , Director-ESSAB; Md. Motaher Hoshan Khan, Former President, ESSAB and Shekhar Chandra Biswas, Superintending Engineer, PWD.

The seminar is a part of the 9th International Fire Safety and Security Expo which is inaugurated by the Honorable Prime Minister’s Private Industry and Investment Adviser, Mr. Salman F Rahman, MP on Saturday (17 February 2024).

Eng. Md. Hasmotuzzaman emphasised on maintaining building code, fire NOC and fire approval. He also addressed some challenges regarding the compliance and transparency for fire code implementation under the existing practices and regulations under RAJUK.

Mr. Md. Hasanuzzaman exchanged his views and raised some fire code implementation challenges. He shared some observation on the existing implementation system such as early fire detection and suppression system. But there is still an ambiguity and scarce provision under national building code. So, the sector insiders have to follow the best international practices. However, the government should address and include in the national guideline so that everyone can maintain a justified compliance.

Md. Motaher Hoshan Khan emphasised on performance based design based on our own requirement, based on our factories and based on our country to strengthen building and factories fire safety and security.

He stressed on fixing high-rise building definition to accommodate different fire safety measures and equipment. He also stressed on strengthening BNBC, creating fire code and standardised scales for detection and other equipment.

Shekhar Chandra Biswas also focused on high-rise building definition to ensure fire detection and protection. Currently, there are many high rise buildings which are 10-15 storeys but in the initial drawing there is reluctance regarding the issue of fire safety. In cases of new building, we suggest to update their design and ensure fire elevators, fire stairs, protection walls, and fire exits so that everyone can evacuate during any incident.

Engr. Md. Al-Emran Hossain shared that still Non-RMG sector is far away from ensuring fire code implementation. He addressed that BNBC does not include mega projects such as Metro Rail, tunnel. So, BNBC should be updated timely to address the contemporary issues to ensure fire safety and security. He also stressed on inter-ministerial collaboration to create and implement guideline and reduce ambiguity in practical field.

Brigadier General Ali Ahmed Khan, PSC (Retd.) said that the government should have a strong will for ensuring public safety with the alignment of development. Here, regulatory supports should be provided to government agencies to provide smooth service and world best practices should be brought in the country. We have to revise the National Code. In the developed world revision is done every year, he shared and stressed that if there is any disparity between high-rise and low-rise buildings, it has to be reduced or the law cannot be implemented. Because, loophole will be increased and factory owners will be saved under such discriminated provision. Besides, capacity of regulatory body should be increased and brought them under accountability.

Mr. Mohammad Hatem said There is no doubt that BNBC-2020 is faulty. However, it should not be possible to say by the regulatory bodies to maintain foreign standards instead of amending and updating national code. It makes traders suffer. It must be closed. There is still conflict over high-rise buildings. It needs to be defined and set standards, he said. If our best standard is set, Accord Alliance and other foreign agency could not pressurize our businessmen. receive such foreign pressure if our standards are set, he addressed and raised question that isn’t BNBC a wonder for us? He requested the government to stop this torture as it is not possible to accept unreasonable and unrealistic rules and provisions.

The seminar is attended by more than thousand sector experts, businesses’ representatives, students and entrepreneurs while the seminar is enthralled by interactive session and Q&A part to share the up-to-date and modern global technologies and practices.

This three-day long expo aims to address the pressing need for enhanced fire safety measures, the introduction of modern equipment, and the promotion of awareness regarding fire safety and security across all sectors.

The 9th International Fire Safety and Security Expo 2024 is co-partnered by several esteemed organizations, including the Directorate of Fire Service and Civil Defense, FEBOAB, BGMEA, BKMEA, BTMA, Dhaka North and South City Corporations, Ministry of Commerce, and Ministry of Home Affairs.

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Dulal Ahmed Chowdhury is the Editor of The Daily Dazzling Dawn. Previously, he has been serving in important positions in all the famous national dailies of the Bangladesh since the nineties. He has played a commendable role in journalism by participating in various events at the national and international levels. United Nations Conference, World Climate Conference, SAARC Summit are notable among them.

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