On May 1, 2015, China entered into force GB 50016-2014 - Code for fire protection design of buildings. The law defined the ways in which the design of buildings, since May 2015, should protect against fire. The impacts of the changes brought in by GB 50016-2014 are now being felt in audits, meaning it is a good time to review the law and see how the changes affect buildings and their audits.
GB 50016-2014 is the made code used for social compliance in China. The new code differs in several ways, including:
- It combines GB 50016-2006 - Code
for fire protection design of buildings and GB 50045 - Code for fire protection
design of tall buildings. This includes some revisions to inconsistent
requirements by defining high-rise buildings and multi-storied buildings by
building height only. Previous versions had included both height and story
quantity. The new version, high-rise buildings are defined as:
- Residential buildings higher than 27m
- Multi-story workshops, warehouse and civil buildings higher than 24m
- The requirements for fire-fighting facilities are now in one section. Descriptions of fire water supply systems, internal/external fire hydrant systems and smoke control and smoke exhaust systems have also been removed. Instead, these requirements are now included in other dedicated national standards
- Some mandatory requirements have changed. For example, Article 3.7.5 is no longer mandatory and this will affect the conclusions in some audits
- New Article 5.4.2 prohibits workshops and warehouse facilities in civil buildings
- Dormitory buildings and apartment buildings must meet the requirements for civil buildings. Also, the terms, ‘unit type’ and ‘shared corridor type’, are no longer used and only the quantity of building stories, story area and occupied person quantity can be used to judge if a building can have only one fire exit. This creates greater clarity in the definitions. At the same time, the acceptable criteria for only one fire exit have become more stringent. For example, the acceptable criteria of story area and occupied person quantity has diminished from 500m2 and 100 persons to 200m2 and 50 persons
- There are new requirements for automatic fire extinguishing system. Class C single story or multiple-story warehouse buildings with more than 1500m2 occupied area or with more than 300 total floor area, must install an automatic fire extinguishing system. This new requirement also applies to the smoke exhausting cover and cooking position in the kitchen, if the total area of the canteen is more than 1000m2
- Electronic production buildings are now also included in the new code as buildings that need to install automatic fire alarm systems
- The positioning of emergency lighting fixtures in workshops and evacuations pathways is now clearly defined
- Evacuation marks can now be placed on evacuation pathways where it is not easy to install evacuation marks on the wall
Social compliance audits would now include all the requirements brought in by GB 50016. Stakeholders will find the new code more logistical and more stringent, bringing higher demands upon them during audits.
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