House fires are, unfortunately, still common throughout the Kingdom. Fire in high-rises is rarer. Early this month, however, a blaze broke out at an 18-storey Poipet casino. Much of the building was destroyed. Luckily, there were no deaths.
“Many local [building] owners haven’t yet paid attention to fire protection when constructing tall buildings,” said Hor Kunthea (Roy), CEO of Sokha Residences Group.
Roy, who also owns a condominium project in Poipet, claimed the recent fire was due to poor construction and building management.
“I’m not surprised by the fire in Poipet, it can happen any time there is poor management,” he said, adding that owners must take precautions.
His own 21-story condo project is covered by both building and fire insurance, he said.
“For internal safety, the building is equipped with a Singaporean fire protection system.”
Kuang Catherine, a group planner at R&F Properties, said that fires are caused by either human factors or natural disasters.
“I believe that most fires are due to human error,” she said, adding that smoking indoors, equipment malfunctions or poor safety management were responsible for most.
“Our company’s projects are constructed under Chinese construction codes and are outfitted with a set of fire protection systems to minimize fires and reduce accidents,” she said, explaining that high-rises have more wiring and equipment that normal houses. So, safety needs to be stepped up as well.
Catherine claimed the first step to boosting fire safety is to raise awareness. Equipment such as fire extinguishers and sprinklers must be properly maintained.
A community concern
In addition to both fire extinguishers and sprinklers, many new buildings now include fire alarm systems. This trifecta is a vital part of safety standards across the globe.
Nong Samedy, an architect at Aerne Architect & Associates, called for greater care to be taken while installing electrical wiring in buildings.
Samedy also urged the use of heat resistant construction materials and limitations on flammable substances allowed inside buildings. Additionally, he said high-rises should all have sprinklers, extinguishers, fire hoses at main points, smoke-proof barriers and special devices that cut power in the event of a fire.
“Buildings need to be built using proper materials and set up with proper electricity systems,” he said.
Mey Kalyan, general manager of Global Security Solutions, added that safety should be the top priority in buildings large or small.
She claimed there were three major factors that increased fire danger: general building neglect, improper electrical systems, and excessive use of heavy equipment inside, such as air compressors and welding equipment.
“In addition, we need to have emergency plans in place. That way, we can ensure everyone’s safety in the event of a fire.”
Sokha Residences CEO Roy summed up the issue by saying that fire safety should be a concern for the entire community. If one breaks out, after all, it can easily spread to nearby structures.
“To ensure the safety, owners should hire professional property management. We need to push standards up to the next level.”
If you need more information about making sure your rental property is safe, we have a handy guide. Our guides section has tons of handy resources you can use to keep yourself updated on everything in the real estate industry.
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