Mini apartments: Experts reveal dangerous commonalities

Architect Nguyen Van An – who has 10 years of experience in the field of architectural and construction design – commented that the mini apartment building in Khuong Ha (Thanh Xuan, Hanoi), where the fire occurred, is The apartment building is over 7 floors high and serves a large number of residents compared to its 200m2 area. The building has 8 floors, 1 tum, so each apartment only has an area of ​​about 20m2 to 40m2.

The apartment building in Khuong Ha is designed with only stairs located in the center of the building. home. At the back of the apartment there is an exit in the loggia area, however, this area is not connected to the fire escape, so in case of fire, there is no way to escape.

Besides, the apartment building is located in a small alley, so when a fire occurs, it is very difficult to escape. Firefighting by authorities also encountered many difficulties. According to Mr. An, usually, mini apartments do not have fire protection systems, fire alarm and extinguishing equipment, so when a fire occurs, it has serious consequences.

Architect Nguyen Van An said that current Vietnamese law does not regulate the concept of mini apartments. An apartment building is a house with 2 or more floors with stairs and an infrastructure system commonly used by many individual households.

In case an individual household builds a house in an urban area with 2 or more floors, each floor has 2 or more apartments and each apartment is designed to be built in a closed style (with private room, private kitchen, toilet, private bathroom), the minimum construction floor area of ​​each apartment is 30m2 and must meet the regulations on apartment buildings as prescribed in Article 70 of the Housing Law.

Mini apartments are also a type of apartment building, so they still have the common characteristics of the apartment buildings mentioned above. However, the area of ​​mini apartments is smaller than regular apartments, usually with an area of ​​about 30-45m2, each apartment is arranged with 01 bedroom or can be expanded into 02 bedrooms.

According to architect Nguyen Van To save construction costs, many apartment owners build illegally, causing unsafety. Typically, many apartment buildings have electricity and water lines installed on the same technical axis. The power lines cross each other and the construction exposes the possibility of fire, explosion, and short circuit.

Normally, stairs of public buildings need to be at least 12m wide or more for one flight of stairs. The distance between the two sides of the ladder is at least 100mm – this is the distance needed to fit the fire hose.

Mr. Le Xuan Hoang (35 years old, Hai Duong) has rented apartments in mini apartments in Hanoi for many years in the Nga Tu So area, Khuong Dinh, Lang Pagoda…

He believes that areas near the center near universities will attract tenants such as students and office workers, and will be convenient for commuting to work. The rent is also “soft” compared to the income, fluctuating around 4-5 million VND/month or higher depending on the area.

By experience and observation, Mr. Hoang found that there are some weaknesses of mini apartments. can easily lead to dangers.

Firstly, the location of apartment buildings is often in deep alleys and densely populated areas. Many areas in Hanoi have cramped roads leading to apartments, with only enough passage for one motorbike, not enough for two vehicles to avoid each other. Therefore, when a fire occurs, fire trucks cannot directly access the scene, and the processing time is prolonged, which is detrimental to firefighting work.

Second, the bottom floor of the apartment building is often used as a parking lot. parking with dozens and hundreds of motorbikes. Stuffy air with low ceilings can easily cause a fire when there is an electrical short circuit and can break out quickly.

Third, most building designs have an elevator or small staircase. With modern apartments, the stairs have an anti-smoke system activated for the building, but mini apartments may not be able to do that. When there is a fire, the stairs are often engulfed in smoke and people are easily suffocated and have difficulty moving to escape.

Fourth, the fire protection system in mini apartments has not been invested properly, including automatic signaling systems, fireproof doors, heat-resistant electrical equipment… Therefore, when a fire occurs, people are not notified. Timely signals lead to limited ability to prevent and defend.

Mr. Nguyen Van Thanh – construction engineer in Ho Chi Minh City – commented on each project The project has regulations on fire protection systems, but for a number of reasons, they are not applied correctly.

Mr. Thanh emphasized that mini apartments often do not have system designs. Fire escape system so when there is a fire, people cannot escape. Recently, after a number of karaoke bars caught fire, stores were required to business of this type or office must have an emergency escape ladder system.

Mr. Vo Hong Thang – Director of consulting services and project development of DKRA Group – said that the nature of mini apartments is townhouses but built high-rise and divided into rooms for rent or sell. Mini apartments do not ensure many elements of construction standards, water supply, drainage, wastewater treatment, load-bearing structures, fire protection…

Legally, mini apartments have many risks for buyers when taking ownership. Unverified property ownership leads to long-term problems. Experts calculate that by making a mini apartment project, the owner can achieve a fairly high profit of about 30-40% or more.

Mr. Thang definitely believes that mini apartments should be banned and the Government needs to have thorough monitoring solutions to ensure safety.