Owners of buildings constructed before 1992 told to install water sprinklers


The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) will draft a rule demanding that all buildings constructed before 1992 have water sprinklers installed. 

A huge fire broke out at the Fico Building on Asok Road last month, causing widespread concerns over the safety precautions of old buildings in Bangkok.  Deputy Bangkok Governor Teerachon Manomaiphibul has been asking for cooperation from more than 1,000 old building owners in Bangkok to have sprinklers installed.

He also told BMA’s 50 district branches to register all old buildings into the digitizing system, which will enable authorities to pin-point the exact location of the buildings in order for them to get to the scene quickly and have better access to the buildings in case of fire.

He said the BMA is prepared to impose the 1992 Building Safety Control Act on the more than 1,000 old buildings in Bangkok to prevent incidents of the same nature.  The Act will make it compulsory for buildings constructed prior to 1992 to have adequate water sprinklers

Meanwhile, the Bangkok Metropolitan Council (BMC) Chairman Suthichai Weerakulsunthorn commented that the city authorities may call for the construction of a helipad for buildings over 7 storeys tall.  Concerning City Hall’s preparation to handle future fire accidents, the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration is also considering the purchase of a helicopter, worth THB200-300 million, to be used in case of emergency.

After inspecting the Fico Building, the Engineering Institute of Thailand under His Majesty the King’s Patronage (EIT) has revealed that the building is still intact and does not need to be demolished.  It said the ninth floor has been damaged the most but the structure of the building has not been affected.  The recovery process is expected to take at least a month.

Police presumed the fire incident was either caused by human error or electrical short-circuit.  Further investigation is underway.

BMA sues burned hotel owners for altering construction

In a separate incident involving a fire in the capital last month, the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration has sued the owner of a burned hotel in the capital for ignoring safety precautions and making illegal modifications to the building.

The Public Works Department of the BMA informed police that two owners of the Grand Park Avenue Hotel modified the building without permission.  The owners will be charged for violation the Building Code Act, which carries a six-month imprisonment and/or a fine of up to 120,000 baht.

The owners changed the parking lot into a banquet room, where the fire occurred last month, resulting in two people dying.

The BMA has temporarily closed the hotel and ordered owners to clear the modified area within 30 days.  The BMA admitted that it has inspected the hotel in general earlier but did not go into details; therefore, the authority did not know that the banquet room was supposed to be a car park.