Following the tragic fire at Trianon Shopping Park, the causes of the outbreak and the reasons for the loss of life created much speculation; in order to get the answers as soon as possible. The relevant authorities will definitely need some time to complete their investigations. However, for a couple of years, I have raised concerns about aspects of the regulatory regime for buildings. These include:
- The preparation of Construction (Design and Management) Regulations, to improve health & safety in the construction industry and impose duties including the requirement to prevent risk from fire among others.
- Delays to the preparation of Building Regulations to ensure that policies set out in the Building Control Act 2012 are carried out and cover fire safety matters within and around the building among other regulations.
- The Mauritius Fire Code enforcement.
I believe that specialist fire safety expertise of relevant professional organisations and groups, such as the Institute of Fire Engineers, Construction Industry Development Board and the Mauritius Fire and Rescue Service should enlighten other construction professionals such as Architects and Engineers in future proposals for the fire safety regulatory regime while taking into consideration other regulatory, practice and process issues within the construction industry.
In my opinion, it would be irresponsible to speculate at this stage about the cause of the Trianon Shopping Park fire and the reasons for the distressing loss of life of an employee. Nevertheless, I believe that some actions should be started and I would urge the government to:
- Prepare Construction (Design and Management) Regulations, in order to have new regulations under the Occupational Safety and Health Act specifically made for the construction industry.
- Commence immediately the delayed Building Regulations, as proposed under the Building Control Act 2012.
- Communicate the Mauritius Fire Code effectively to those who need to know.
- Re-visit the current fire safety guidelines, and in particular to consider the mandating of sprinkler systems in all new public and commercial buildings.
Rambassun (Sandeep) Sewpal