Ensuring safety and security for the housing society and its members is the primary responsibility of the housing society management committee. Apart from taking care of the internal management of the society, the society committee also has to ensure that they are taking care of the external factors, like following the rules and regulations and getting legalities fulfilled time to time, which are in turn has been laid down by the government to ensure the safety of the citizens of the state itself.
ELECTRICAL AND FIRE AUDIT
Many of you may be hearing this for the first time or maybe hearing it for the first time that it can be applicable for the housing societies. So is it really necessary to do an electrical and fire audit for the housing societies? Before answering the question, let’s first understand what electrical and fire audit is!
This is an audit or official inspection done by the authorized officials to ensure that the capacity and usage of the electricity in a given premises is following the safety limitations. During the building of a society, the builder gives requisition and obtains a permit of a certain electrical capacity from the electricity board estimating an average usage rate by the units. However, over time and with the addition of new appliances getting invented almost everyday, there is a huge possibility that the capacity gets overflowed, resulting in a short circuit and a possible fire disaster.
However, disaster prevention is not the only benefit of an electrical and fire audit. In the inspection, the officials also do check out the capacity of each unit and also the appliances plugged into it. They can evaluate which appliance is consuming more than necessary maybe because of a faulty part or being old and ridden. Often the spike in household electricity bills is the result of such faulty appliances which are still in use and consuming more than required electricity without any knowledge to the owners. Therefore, knowing the same, one can either get the faulty appliance serviced or change the old appliances and save much on their monthly electricity bills and also a possible near future fire mishap.
The most common electrical problem in a housing society is caused by bad earthing, incorrect wiring, deficiency in the current-carrying capacity of wiring, old and unsafe electrical wiring.
MAHARASHTRA FIRE PREVENTION ACT, 2006
The Maharashtra Fire Prevention and Life Safety Measures Act of 2006 was passed in order to regularize and enhance the effectiveness of fire prevention and life safety measures in different types of buildings in Maharashtra. The Act contains comprehensive guidelines towards securing the fire safety of old as well as new buildings in the State of Maharashtra.
As per the Act, no completion certificate shall be granted to a new structure unless it contains the requisite fire safety measures as mandated under the Act. Also, the Act is applicable to all the building owners and occupants. Even licensees and tenants are classified as ‘occupiers’ and hence, are duty bound to comply with the provisions of the Act. Under Section 3, every building owner or occupier is duty-bound to provide adequate fire-prevention and fire-fighting measures within their buildings.
Section 5 of the Act empowers the Chief Fire Officer to inspect any building after giving three hours’ prior notice. And upon finding any breach, encroachment, and defect, he can order the evacuation and demolition of the building for the sake of ensuring safety. Furthermore, imprisonment up to three years and heavy fines are applicable for the persons responsible for the violation of the Act.
I hope now you can evaluate yourself if an Electrical and Fire Audit is necessary for your society or not. Also, it is important to note that as per the Maharashtra Fire Prevention Act, 2006, a Fire Safety Audit should be done twice a year in January & in July by the certified/licensed agency.