India needs to adopt fire-resistant wiring standards: IEEMA

India needs to adopt more stringent standards for certifying the safety of electricity wires used in homes, according to the Indian Electrical and Electronics Manufacturers’ Association (IEEMA). The IEEMA President, Shreegopal Kabra, told presspersons, “There is a need for the state and provincial administration to improve the quality and standards of household wiring to suit it for more fire safety. Globally the norm is to use Low Smoke Zero Halogen (LSOH) wiring. It is only in India, where Flame Retardant Low Smoke (FRLS) products are allowed.”
Kabra said that most of the deaths during a fire are caused by suffocation and low visibility due to toxic smoke emanating from burning wire casings. “FRLS are basically slightly modified polyvinyl chloride (PVC) wires and are not very efficient. They are also prone to emanating toxic fumes when they come in contact of the naked flame.”

The Director-General of IEEMA, Sunil Misra, said, “The more stringent fire safety standards will have to be enforced jointly by the Centre, states and provincial governments. The National Building Code 2016 has been finalised but it has not been mandated across the country nor is it as per the global standards.”

“IEEMA will be writing to the stakeholders to enable more stringent fire safety regulations. We would also want the Centre to make amendments in the Real Estate Regulatory Authority (RERA) laws to make it mandatory for the project developer to offer a guarantee of at least 10 years for all electrical and plumbing equipment that are used in the project.” Misra added.

At present, builders are mandated to offer a five-year guarantee for the same products.
Kabra also said that better quality wiring would not be adding substantially to the cost of the construction. “The average cost of construction in the country is close to ₹ 2,500 a square metre. The cost of electrical wiring is less than 6 percent of this cost. Improving the wire safety will not lead to an escalation of more than 20 per cent above the existing wiring costs.”