After a survey conducted by the EDM, notices were issued to the owners of 450 high-rise buildings and hotels including Marriot Hotel, Islamabad Hotel and Serena Hotel. They were directed to adopt fire safety measures to prevent any mishap.
An EDM official said the authority has also issued notices to several government buildings including the Supreme Court, Parliament House, Prime Minister House and various blocks of ministries.
According to the Fire Prevention and Life Safety (FPLS) Regulations 2010, every building in the federal capital must have fire extinguishers, dedicated water tanks in the basements and on the roofs, floor plans, exit plans, centralised mic systems, and disconnection systems for electricity and gas.
The official claimed that various government institutions were reluctant to implement these reforms because of lack of funds.
At present, no building meets the safety standards put in place by the new law, he claimed.
Incidentally, failure to meet the new standards carries a maximum penalty of Rs500,000, with a daily penalty of Rs3,000 after the initial penalty notice is served.
The official claimed that violators have yet to be fined because of lack of coordination between the EDM and the CDA Building Control Section. He argued that the Shaheed-e-Millat building was damaged by fire because it did not meet the fire safety standards spelt out by the FPLS. One official said that the CDA had approved Rs2 million to carry out surveys, but the amount has not been released yet.
He said that the EDM is conducting its own survey at a snail’s pace because of lack of funds and support staff. He also claimed that the CDA Building Control Section has been issuing NOCs and completion certificates to new buildings without consulting the EDM first, which is a clear violation of the law. He said that in case of any mishap, the CDA, as the party granting the NOC and completion certificate, would be held responsible.