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Why is the Refuge Area an important feature in your house hunting checklist?

With the high rises towering over the skyline, the expectations of the dream home in its preferred location are meted. While buying a flat in Mumbai, the features and amenities are prioritized, but we often forget to perform due diligence on the security features.

High-rise structures have to adhere to several fire safety standards and regulations at all times. One of the significant features of a building of a certain length is the need to adhere to the refuge area.

What is a refuge area?
A refuge area is a vital place in tall buildings where people can take shelter in an emergency or accident. As per the National Structure Code, a refuge area in high-rise buildings is needed after every 24 meters.

Importance of refuge area
The refuge area is where the potential risk can be averted in case of a mishap. The civic authorities issue completion certificates to high-rise buildings only on provision for these as shown in the approved map.

Safety Rules
• In an edifice with a height of more than 70 meters, the floor chosen as “fire check” must be present at all times. Hence every 70-meter level should be enclosed by one whole structure floor.
• The area should have clear passageway and has to be well-lit, with directions to be mentioned in the passageway
• The refuge area should always be open to all even when not in use since the space should be accessible for any emergency.
• Lift or staircase will not open to this area, and it shall be reserved only for emergencies.
• The refuge area cannot be used for any permanent or temporary purpose.
Some residential projects, like Vraj Tiara at Worli, have a range of fire safety systems with fully automated fire detection; automatic sprinkler system in lobby, common areas at each level, across the apartments and parking, along with water curtain system at every parking level ensuring the highest levels of fire safety. Additionally, use of fire-rated main doors in the apartments; refuge areas and 22nd floor as Fire Check Floor to arrest the fire from spreading; Two 2-meter-wide staircases fire isolated pressure stairs and fire chute in case of emergency.

Thus, when considering purchasing a residential space in a high-rise building, it is crucial to determine if the adequate emergency evacuation areas and safety features are met. A refuge area is safe against accidental fires or emergencies in the building.

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