The Thai Cabinet increases fire safety system requirements in high-rise buildings and extra-large buildings

On 29 August 2023, the Thai Cabinet  passed its resolutions regarding the safety system requirements stipulated in the Building Control Act (“BCA”) by approving the principle on the draft Ministerial Regulation No… (B.E. ….) issued in accordance with the Building Control Act B.E. 2522 (amending the Ministerial Regulation No. 33 B.E. 2535) (“Draft Ministerial Regulation”) as proposed by the Ministry of Interior (“MOI”).

The summary of the Draft Ministerial Regulation is set forth below:

(1)    Provide a clearer definition, such as the definition of road zone, separation, and basement;

(2)    Provide additional requirements to be correspondent with existing laws and international standards, such as:

•   Adding details about public roads to ensure that fire trucks can move in the opposite direction.

•   Adding requirements for fire escape stairs available on the 1st and 2nd basement floors. The fire escape stairs shall be easily accessible.

•   Adding requirements to install floor plans of each floor of the building in a clearly visible location, such as in the hallway or in front of every elevator on every floor.

•     Adding requirements for the installation of hand-held fire extinguishers or portable fire extinguishers (hand-held type) in accordance with the Notification of the MOI regarding the installation of hand-held fire extinguishers or portable fire extinguishers.

•     Amending the fire resistance rating for walls, doors, or other equipment made from fire-resistant materials from not less than 1 hour to not less than 2 hours for high-rise buildings and not less than 1 hour for extra-large buildings that are not high-rise buildings.

•     Amending requirements for fire escape stairs by adding regulations on fire escape signs and adding materials used for the exterior walls of buildings.

In addition, a transitional provision has been provided for (i) buildings falling under the category of high-rise buildings or extra-large buildings that exists before the date this Draft Ministerial Regulation came into force; or (ii) buildings that obtained a permit or license for construction, modification, or change of use in accordance with the BCA but have not yet completed constructed or modificated, to be exempted from  the Draft Ministerial Regulation.