An old apartment building in HCM City’s District 4. VNA/VNS Photo Thanh Vũ
HCM CITY— The HCM City People’s Committee has instructed districts to address problems and carry out measures to ensure fire prevention and safety at production establishments, apartment buildings, schools, hospitals and other buildings by October.
Following the instruction, the city Police Department’s fire-fighting and rescue police division is working with agencies to check the implementation of measures in local districts.
After an inspection on Monday, Colonel Huỳnh Ngọc Quan, the division’s deputy head, said that District 5 has many apartment buildings and schools built before 2001 that do not meet the criteria on fire prevention and safety and need to be upgraded.
Nguyễn Xuân Trung, vice chairman of the District 5 People’s Committee, said that 55 per cent of all production establishments, apartment buildings, hospitals and schools in the district were built before 1975.
Many of them have a high risk of fire, but the district faces a shortage of capital to upgrade them, he said.
The district People’s Committee said it would not be able to repair and upgrade firefighting equipment as required by the city committee, and could only upgrade several apartment buildings and production establishments first.
Quan said that the district committee should set up a steering board to address this problem and try to finish the work per the city committee’s requirement.
People living in these apartment buildings should be provided firefighting devices to resolve sudden fires, Quan said, adding that they also should be educated about fire prevention and fighting measures.
Since 2016, the city has carried out the upgrading or rebuilding of old apartment buildings. Under the programme, 199 old buildings have been repaired, according to the city Department of Construction. Two old buildings with 876 apartments in districts 3 and 10 were rebuilt.
Another three old buildings with more than 2,000 apartments in districts 1 and Tân Bình are under construction.
Residents in another 14 old buildings have had to move out.
The city’s programme aims to upgrade or rebuild 237 out of 474 old buildings which are in disrepair or were built before 1975.
Of the 474, 15 are in serious disrepair and need to be rebuilt.
The two-storey Ngô Gia Tự building in District 10 built in 1968 is in poor condition, while an apartment building on 155-157 Bùi Viện Street in District 1 covering about 600sq.m and built before 1975 has not been rebuilt because of problems related to moving residents out of the building.
The department said the city has only a few preferential policies to attract investors to rebuild old buildings. Many real estate investors do not want to invest in rebuilding old buildings because most are located in the city’s inner districts. Highrises can't be built and the land areas are not wide enough.
Moreover, moving residents out of these old buildings is difficult. Under the current regulation, most tenants in these old buildings have to agree to move before anything can be done.
Under the Housing Law in 2005, only 66 per cent of people living in these buildings had to agree to move, but the proportion increased to 80 per cent in the Housing Law of 2014. VNS