Interview: Building regulations and fire safety in Bulgaria
As part of our interview series on the new development on fire safety and building regulation in Bulgaria, we were in contact with Deputy Minister, Ms. Malina Kroumova, from the Ministry of Regional Development and Public Works in Bulgaria.
FSEU asked Ms. Kroumova a few questions about the new amendment and what this new development means for the future of fire safety in Bulgaria.
What was the reason for the new development in Bulgaria?
The reasons for the new changes in fire safety regulation in Bulgaria are linked to a number of factors, most notably the number of fires that have occurred in European countries in recent years linked to the combustibility of building facades.
The former national regulation permitted the use of thermal insulating products with a reaction to fire class B and C. As a result of this, some producers introduced to the Bulgarian market false declarations of achieved reaction to fire class B and C.
Thus, the amendments of the Regulation were provoked by this very specific case, with the belief that by increasing the requirements regarding the reaction-to-fire class of the thermal insulation products in high-rise buildings, we will prevent dishonest practices and ensure fire safety in buildings for people in Bulgaria.
What are the most notable changes of the new amendment?
The amended regulation has clearly defined requirements for the use of thermal insulation products with a reaction to fire class A in high-rise buildings. This is applicable to both new buildings and retrofitting.
Other notable developments on the new amendment are:
- the requirements for the reaction-to-fire classes of the components of thermal insulation systems on the external surfaces of buildings;
- the admissible areas depending on the reaction-to-fire class of the thermal insulation and the reaction-to-fire class of the external coating;
- technical solutions for their separation.
What expectations do you have on the amended regulation for fire safety in Bulgaria?
We expect that the new requirements will increase the fire safety of buildings with thermal insulation on facades. Furthermore, we hope it will reduce the risk of causalities, victims and limit damages, if and when a fire occurs.
In addition, we hope the new detailed requirements will ensure unambiguous application by the participants in the investment process and the control bodies.
What steps need to be taken to ensure compliance with the new regulation?
The enforcement of the amendments requires first and foremost information and training of designers, contractors, consultants and government administration.
Furthermore, it calls for strict control by the Fire authorities, the State construction control and the market surveillance.
Additionally, I believe it will be important to ensure with partnering with the civil society that there will be not product in the market that does not comply with the declared reaction to fire class A.