High-rise structures consist of several stories that go beyond thirty-five meters in height, and are divided into occupied areas. High-rise buildings carry a very huge number of occupants, and in case of a disaster, getting all people out of them can prove cumbersome. Hence, there is a dire need to ensure that high-rise buildings have undergone a thorough inspection, testing, and maintenance to prevent their vulnerability to disasters. Fire is a major disaster that mostly affects high-rise buildings. When fires occur, it should be possible for residents or any occupants to leave the building. Additionally, the building’s fire response team should try to cope with the fire before firefighters arrive. Hence, proper inspection, testing, and maintenance of high-rise buildings are of great importance in such situations.
Inspection is a practice of physically exploring a device or a system in order to ensure that it performs its functions accordingly. There is a special team responsible for inspecting the system, which must do it patiently and with great knowledge to ensure that the system operates effectively. In the case of high-rise buildings, inspection is done by an appointed group according to building and house planning for the purpose to ensure that the structure can be used as a residential or business place. When inspecting, the group should consider a lot of things. Inspection comprises examining a building from the rooftop to the basement, one floor after another (Schmid, 2014). Furthermore, inspection involves examining the building, checking any parts that need to be repaired, and ensuring that they are well fitted. It also involves removing substances, such as rubbish and oil rags, that may easily catch fire making the structure burn. Ensuring that fire exits and stairwells are not blocked by anything that may become an obstacle during the evacuation process is of great significance too.
Testing is the process of checking the work of a device or a system with the sole aim of determining that it can perform its functions. The only means of determining that systems operate effectively is testing. In the case of high-rise buildings, fire is a common hazard. Thus, in an effort to ensure that fire disasters can be controlled accordingly, fire extinguishers, water sprinklers, exit points, alarm systems, smoke detectors, and water pipes, are tested. It is done for the purpose of ensuring that all those devices function well in case of a fire emergency (Black, 2009).
Maintenance is the process of regular preservation of a building, be it commercial or residential, done for the sole purpose of making sure that the structure does not need repairs and can be efficiently utilized. Maintenance includes repainting, termite treatment, cleaning, and replacement of damaged or rusted points in the building. Furthermore, maintenance ensures that all electric and plumbing fittings are in good working conditions. The owner of the building can decide to do the necessary repairs himself or herself or pay someone to do this job. Building maintenance is vital in ensuring that fire emergencies are controlled easily (Yau, 2012).
Importance of Inspection, Testing, and Maintenance of High-Rise Buildings
It is very vital to carry out inspection, testing, and maintenance to avoid fire problems and ensure a safer working and living environment for employees and residents of the high-rise structure. High-rise buildings are on the rise all over the world. With an increased population growth, space is becoming a dire need. Hence, to utilize a little space effectively, states are investing in high-rise buildings, for both businesses and living. However, such structures are prone to fire disasters. Thus, to ensure that high-rise buildings are safe for doing business and living, inspection, testing, and maintenance are paramount (Black, 2009).
If a high-rise building is used for business purposes, it is vital to inspect, test and maintain offices to prevent fires from occurring and destroying the business. When fire occurs, people will lose a lot as it destroys everything in the building. They can lose jobs too, and picking up after such a disaster can seem almost impossible. It becomes hard for a business to run again as a businessperson has to work on attracting new customers after losing the previous ones. Inspection and preservation of the building ensures that the structure is less prone to a fire tragedy. Even if a fire occurs, inspection, testing, and preservation make it easy for the trained staff to extinguish it. The spread of fire from one floor to another can be prevented too, ensuring that businesses and important documents remain secure (Bush & Routley, 1996).
When fires occur, evacuation can prove hard in high-rise buildings, especially in retirement homes and hotels. However, with inspection, maintenance, and testing, evacuation problems are eliminated. First, inspection ensures that steel rails and stairs up to the roof, where evacuation is to occur, are safe to use. It is because rusted materials and cracked floors are repaired and replaced on time to ensure that the stairs and rails can be used as passage points to the rooftop. Business people always have a tendency of buying and selling buildings. Some sell because of wanting to make profits, and others want to invest in other ventures. Thus, to ensure that a building fetches a high resale value in the market, one has to make sure that the structure is in a good condition. The only way to do this is performing a thorough inspection, testing and maintenance of the building. An individual or company planning to buy the structure always does a thorough inspection to ensure that it is in a good state. Hidden costs that relate to fire are always the key things that buyers look for. Thus, the building owner ought to ensure that the high-rise structure is in a proper condition (Lee, Lim, & Arditi, 2011). In the end, high-rise buildings must always be insured. The owner always pays a premium depending on the state of the property. Thus, through inspection, testing, and maintenance, the amount of insurance premium is lower (Young, 2011).
High-rise buildings are prone to fire disasters. Therefore, to prevent excessive casualties during a fire emergency, it is vital to carry out proper inspection, testing and maintenance. Such programs are efficient in ensuring the safety of individuals and property in the event of a fire problem and water supply sufficient to extinguish a fire. Additionally, the prevalence of fires is reduced when these activities are carried out.
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