A new law passed yesterday significantly increases the role of Civil Defence in improving the safety of all of Qatar’s buildings, writes The Peninsula.
The new law – which replaces the original Civil Defence law, which was passed in 1977 – follows a safety crackdown and increased spot checks by Civil Defence since the Villagio fire tragedy.
These are the key points:
- All buildings must now have fire alarm systems. Gas pipes and fire fighting equipment areas in buildings must be coloured yellow.
- The law introduces a new ban on cafeterias operating within or next to a petrol station, due to the proximity of cooking gas. This may have an impact on many existing eateries which are located close to petrol stations.
- All designs for buildings will now need to be approved by Civil Defence, and no alterations will be allowed once approval has been given.
- All commercial centers must display their Civil Defence approval prominently.
- People found guilty of making internal alterations to a building without Civil Defence approval which go on to cause a death will face eight years in jail or a QR500,000 fine, or both.
- All new buildings will be inspected by Civil Defence, and they will be issued with an occupancy certificate if they pass.
- All buildings that have six floors or more must have a lift, and systems in place so that these can operate if there’s a power cut.
And finally, the Minister of Interior has now been given the authority to declare a state of emergency in the case of a natural disaster (man-made or natural.)
What do you think? Do you think the new law goes far enough?
Credit: Picture by net_efekt