Initiative taken to mitigate risks of fire in Dhaka
Will receive training on structural and fire safety design review
They will train another 600 people after returning
The government has taken the initiative to mitigate risks of fire in Dhaka’s private buildings and increase the quality of construction work by arranging a foreign training scheme for 60 officers of Rajdhani Unnayan Kartripakkha (Rajuk). The overseas training will cost the government Tk70.58 crore.
To be implemented with grants provided by the Japanese government, the project was undertaken in the wake of fire incidents in residential buildings and shopping centres that have seen an alarming rise since last year.
These officers will receive training and preparation of guidelines on structural and fire safety design review, construction inspection-supervision and awareness raising for resilience.
After training abroad, the 60 officers will return to the country and train another 600 people to increase the knowledge and skills of related stakeholders, including Rajuk, Fire Service and Civil Defence, Engineers Institution of Bangladesh, Institute of Diploma Engineers Bangladesh and Institute of Architect Bangladesh. Apart from this, under the project, three workshops will be organised to increase awareness.
The project has already been approved by the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (Ecnec).
According to the Fire Service Headquarters, Dhaka is slipping more and more into danger due to the recurrent incidents of fire. Moreover, there are thousands of buildings that are not earthquake-resistant.
The total number of fire incidents across the country during the period January 1 to December 31, 2022 was 24,102. Among these, the highest, 9,275 fires, occurred due to electric short circuits. There were 3,368 stove fires, most of which were from gas and electric stoves. On the other hand, 795 fires originated in gas supply lines, and 94 were caused by cylinder and boiler explosions, Fire Service sources said.
On the other hand, 4,007 fire incidents were reported across the country from January 1 to March 11 this year. Dhaka experienced several massive fires in March and April, including the fire at the Bangabazar complex and a blast at a commercial building in the Gulistan area that claimed over 30 lives and caused several hundred crores in damage.
According to sources at the Planning Commission, the main objective of the skill development project is to mitigate disaster risks in urban areas.
In the Eighth Five-Year Plan, among the targets of the Ministry of Housing and Public Works, there is mention of the development of innovative technologies and necessary activities in research on urbanization and building construction techniques.
Apart from this, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG-11) also mention building safe, resilient and sustainable cities and settlements. As a result, the project on increasing quality of design and construction for the resilience of private buildings undertaken by the Ministry of Housing and Public Works is consistent with this.
The Rajuk officials will go abroad to learn about design review, construction monitoring and supervision to prevent structural weakness of private buildings and mitigate the risk of fire accidents in the capital.
The estimated cost of the project is Tk70,58,53,000. Out of this amount, Tk7.83 crore will be provided from the organization’s own funds, while Jica will provide the rest as a grant. The project is targeted to be implemented by December 31 next year.
Project officials said the initiative will play a helpful role in increasing the efficiency of design review, construction monitoring and supervision in preventing structural weaknesses of buildings and mitigating risks of fire. The project will be implemented across Dhaka city’s Detailed Area Plan (DAP).
According to Planning Commission sources, the project was included in the list of unapproved new projects in the Revised Annual Development Program for the 2022-23 financial year.
State Minister for Planning Dr Shamsul Alam hopes that after receiving training, the officers will play a helpful role in improving the skills of design review, construction monitoring and supervision to prevent structural weaknesses of private buildings in the capital and mitigate fire risk.
“The SDGs and the Eighth Five-Year Plan of the government mention the development of innovative technologies and necessary activities in research on urbanization and building construction strategies,” he mentioned.
Source: Dhaka Tribune.