Who Is Responsible For Residents Safety?
Time and again, several cases have come to light when the safety of the residents in the housing society has been compromised and have resulted in mishaps. In a recent incident, an eight-year-old boy fell 25-feet into the basement through a broken lattice in Jaypee Wish Town Klassic project in Noida Sector 134. While the complaint has been registered against the builder alleging poor construction, residents have claimed that several complaints had been made to the management about the broken lattice at the very place in the playing compound, but no action was taken. Since the maintenance of the housing society is currently taken care by the developer, the sole responsibility lies with him when it comes to the structural and physical safety of the residents.
Ideally, the list of do’s and don’ts of the builder is mentioned in the National Building Code (NBC) for residential apartments. This also includes regulations related to fire safety or fire protection, foundation and structural design, lightening protection etc. NBC regulates building construction and building use in order to protect the health, safety and welfare of the occupant.
Usually, the responsibility for accidents caused due to structural failures rests with the developers. This includes accidents caused due to fire, elevators etc. In other cases, since the developer has to transfer the rights to the Resident Welfare Association (RWA), the responsibility to maintain the safety against the external factors rests with the association.
Recently, an elevator slid through seven floors in Gaur Saundaryam Society in Noida, leaving the survivor massively injured. While the cause of the accident has been claimed as the power cut, the residents have accused the builder of negligence with no official police complaint. Before this, multiple lift slide accidents have taken place in Indirapuram as well as in Greater Noida.
It was in January when Uttar Pradesh housing department decided to come up with the Lift Act since residents had been demanding an Act to govern the installation of lifts and to fix the onus of maintenance in case of an untoward incident. In the absence of an Act, developers install poor quality lifts, which do not have automatic rescue device, no service lifts and no monitoring by the local authorities.
As for fire accidents in India, the one that happened in Prabhadevi building in Mumbai gutted top two floors. Though the cause has not been revealed so far, there were no casualties but panic among the residents prevailed as the fire started spreading to lower floors. No complaint has been registered with the authority of the residents who are mostly celebrities.