Onam is near, and some of you might be planning to buy an apartment. Now, apartment builders here does not have exactly a reputation for honesty. Flouting rules has almost become a rule now. However, every one needs a home to settle down, and not everyone can run around in constructing it themselves. So, in case you decide to get an apartment, here are some rules as per the Kerala Municipality Act for your safety. All these apply to high-rise apartments more than four floors:
- There should be at least two stair cases.
- Every balcony or slab overlooking to open space more than 2 meters below should have parapet wall/hand rail at least 1.2 meter high. No horizontal rails, which allow one to “step on”, are allowed.
- There should be a fire escape way connected to common area on all floors and leading directly to the ground, away from the main building. At least one side of this shall have large opening or break-open glass. (In practice, this means it should always be at corners). Spiral staircases are not allowed.
- There should be a 5-meter motor-able space on all sides of an apartment. (This is for a fire engine to move around, and this is probably the most violated rule in the city. Violation can lead to severe tragedies, like the recent one in Bangalore which killed 9 in an apartment).
- At least one lift should be capable of carrying a stretcher.
There are many more laws and provisions, but these have a direct impact on your safety – so make sure your apartment does not dilute these all important safeguards.