Refuge areas required in VN towers

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The area for refuge would be compulsory for buildings with height of 100m or higher, meaning that 30-50 storey buildings should have one to two floors for refuge. VIETNAM NEWS AGENCY

The requirement for an area of refuge in Vietnam’s high-rise buildings was necessary, but this might push up housing prices, according to the Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) Real Estate Association.

The Ministry of Construction recently made public a draft about national technical standards for residential and commercial buildings which had a new point that high-rise buildings must have areas of refuge where people could take shelter in case of fire or other emergencies.

The area for refuge would be compulsory for buildings with height of 100m or higher, meaning that 30-50 storey buildings should have one to two floors for refuge.

Le Hoang Chau, the association’s chairman, said it was necessary to have areas for refuge in high-rise buildings to ensure safety. Big cities were seeing the construction of more skyscrapers, such as the 461.3m Landmark 81, the 336m Kaengnam Landmark 72 and the 272m Lotte Centre Hanoi.

However, there were no buildings in Vietnam with an area of refuge, except the 68-storey Bitexco in HCMC with the top floor for a helipad.

Chau said having an area for refuge might push up investment costs and housing prices which would weigh on homebuyers. This problem needed to be put into consideration especially in the context that housing prices were already high in Vietnam.

To avoid pushing up costs for developers, the area of refuge should not be included in the total floor area of the project and the height of the refuge floor should not be included in the maximum height of the building when licensing, Chau said.

According to Tran Chung, former director of the State Authority for Construction Quality Inspection under the Ministry of Construction, there were now more and more apartment buildings of more than 40 storeys.

It was necessary to develop technical standards, especially for fire prevention and firefighting, he stressed.

VIET NAM NEWS/ASIA NEWS NETWORK