Localities seek consistent fire regulations

August 09, 2023 | 11:12
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Business associations are demanding consistent regulations relating to fire prevention and safety, with the current confusion threatening to dent investor confidence.
Localities seek consistent fire regulations
Manufacturers in various industries are frustrated with delays because of fire prevention policies

At a working session on August 1 with the supervisory delegation of the National Assembly Committee for National Defence and Security to review policies on fire prevention, Vice Chairman of Binh Duong People’s Committee Nguyen Van Danh said the current provisions of the law are not synchronised with amendments of legal documents on this issue.

“One of the most common problems is the procedure to get an appraisal certificate for fire-fighting equipment at facilities. Inconsistent regulations confuse manufacturers during the construction and operation of their factories,” Danh said. “Binh Duong requires more specific regulations via implementing April’s official dispatch on solving issues around fire prevention.”

Danh also proposed a specific mechanism for localities in the southeast region to flexibly apply regulations, creating improvements to encourage businesses to foster their investment in the province.

In a meeting with Binh Duong officials in March, Edward Lewin, vice president of Lego Group, hoped that the province would continue to support the completion of procedures for granting a construction permit because it had not been approved for fire prevention.

The province sent documents to the Ministry of Public Security (MoPS) to speed up the progress of fire prevention and appraisal and, as a result, Lego received the appraisal certificate and the construction permit for its $1.3 billion factory in the southern province in April.

However, other foreign-invested enterprises (FIEs) are not so lucky and remain frustrated over current fire prevention regulations.

At a workshop on trade and investment between South Korea and Vietnam in May, Hong Sun, chairman of the Korean Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam (KoCham) repeated the barriers in getting the appraisal certificate for fire prevention.

“Many member companies have sent documents to KoCham to express their concern. They reported that problems arise when they build new factories or expand their operation, at which the new regulations on fire prevention and safety are tightened and conflict with the licences for their existing facilities. As a result, many facilities can’t be used due to these conflicts,” Sun said.

He has expressed the same concern over fire prevention and safety at many forums, in particular in a meeting between Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh and FIEs in April, and the Vietnam Business Forum in May.

According to KoCham members, some have invested large amounts to complete fire protection systems for their facilities to comply with all regulations, but after construction ended, appraisals were still not approved. They added that many functions overlap, and some works just need certificates granted by local authorities, but they are still required to be inspected by both the MoPS and the Ministry of Construction (MoC).

The Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers and the Vietnam Logistics Business Association have also voiced the same concerns.

In the context that standards and regulations on fire prevention and control are bottlenecks for the business community, PM Chinh signed the aforementioned dispatch in April which stated that construction works and business units that have difficulties with fire prevention facilities will be classified specifically.

After the dispatch was published, the MoC began studying, reviewing, and amending criteria for fire safety for buildings and constructions to correspond with recent tech advances without wasting social capital.

Ministry of Construction request review of fire prevention Ministry of Construction request review of fire prevention

After receiving numerous opinions on the amendment of fire safety regulations, the Ministry of Construction recently requested a review and revision of the national technical standards for fire safety in buildings and construction projects.

By Kim Oanh

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