GB50016-2014 < Code for fire protection design of buildings > came into force on May 1, 2015, with 12 sections and 3 appendices. As the law relates to the design of buildings, the impacts are now beginning to be felt in audits on new facilities designed since May 2015.

SAFEGUARDS | Labor Standards NO. 181/17

SafeGuardS fire fighting equipment

This code is the main criteria used for social compliance in China. In comparison to the previous code, the new version:

Combines GB50016-2006 < Code for fire protection design of buildings> and GB 50045< Code for fire protection design of tall buildings> into the latest version GB50016-2014, and revises some inconsistent requirements by defining high-rise buildings and multi-storied buildings by building height only. In the previous version of code, both height and story quantity would be used to judge if a building is high-rise or not. However, the criteria in GB50016 and GB 50045 were different. In the latest version of GB50016, only the height of the building is used. That means all residential buildings higher than 27m and all multi-story workshops, warehouse and civil buildings, that are higher than 24m, will now be defined as high-rise buildings.

Puts all requirements regarding fire-fighting facilities into one section and deletes the description regarding the fire water supply system, internal/external fire hydrant system and smoke control and smoke exhaust system from the code. Instead, such requirements would be included in other dedicated national standards.

There are some changes on the setting of mandatory requirements. For example, article 3.7.5 has ceased to be mandatory requirement. This means, during audits, the conclusion on some issues will change.

Regarding buildings that combine habitation, production and storage (known as 3 in 1 buildings or 2 in 1 buildings), one new article 5.4.2 is added in the latest version to clearly stipulate that workshop and warehouse is prohibited in civil buildings. Therefore, the prohibition of combined buildings is more logical.

The latest version clearly stipulates that dormitory buildings, apartment buildings shall meet the requirements for public civil buildings, therefore it prevents the confusion on the requirements for dormitory buildings and residential buildings. Meanwhile, in the new version, description of building type such as “unit type” and “shared-corridor type” is 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. Therefore, the confusion caused by unclear definition of building type has been prevented. Meanwhile, the acceptable criteria for setting one fire exit has become more stringent. For example, the acceptable criteria of story area and occupied person quantity is changed from 500m2 & 100 persons to 200m2 & 50 persons.

New requirements for automatic fire extinguishing system: Class C single story or multi- story warehouse buildings with more than 1500m2 occupied area or with more than 300 total floor area, shall install an automatic fire extinguishing system. This new requirement also applies to the smoke exhausting cover and cooking position in the cooking room, if the total area of canteen is more than 1000m2.

In the latest version, electronic production buildings are also included in the buildings that need to install an automatic fire alarm system.

Emergency lighting fixtures: it is now clearly stipulated that the installation positions are workshops and evacuations pathways. Previously, there was no specific requirements, which meant possible confusion.

The new version also allows the installation of evacuation marks on the floor of evacuation pathways. This is allowed in instances where it is not easy to install evacuation marks on the wall of the evacuation pathway.

The requirement of the latest version of GB50016 should now be included in all social compliance audits. In summary, compared with the previous version code, the new code is more logistical and more stringent, therefore, it brings higher demands for audited units and urges them to invest more resources into building design and maintenance, in an effort to reduce the risks from fire.

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