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New Balcony Fire Safety Standards

Posted November. 07, 2005 07:23,   


A two square meter (0.6 pyeong) fire exit per unit is now mandatory for remodeled apartment house balconies.

According to the terms laid down for new apartment housing approved in December or later, whether the balconies are remodeled or not, a minimum of three square meters (0.9 pyeong) needs to be set aside for a fire exit, if the fire exit is shared with a neighboring unit.

The Ministry of Construction and Transportation announced on November 6 that this fire safety standard for balconies was being prepared.

According to the standard, starting from December, newly-approved apartment housing construction will have to include at least 1.5 square meters (0.45 pyeong) of fire exit space for a unit, that is, a minimum of 3.0 square meters together with the unit next door.

A fire door, safety handrail, a ventilating window needs to be installed in the fire exit space. In addition, sprinklers for quick fire control are required to cover the balconies as well.

Old apartment balconies should be remodeled to meet the minimum two square meters according to the fire exit installment standard. If the apartment does not have sprinklers or if the sprinklers cannot cover the balconies, fire plate or fire glass 90 centimeters tall, including the floor of balcony, should be installed in the remodeled balconies.

Regarding apartment houses whose balconies have already been remodeled, those fire exits should additionally be set in line with the above safety standard. The apartment owners should receive certification by head of the apartment superintendent’s office and notify the local government of their compliance.

This standard is only for apartment houses, not detached or multifamily houses.

Seung-Heon Lee ddr@donga.com