Question 102: Must enterprises be responsible for fire prevention and fighting when they lease head-offices as the workplace?

429



  1. The safety conditions on fire prevention and fighting that are required of head-offices

Pursuant to the Law on fire prevention and fighting which is guided by Decree 79/2014/NĐ-CP, head offices of professional agencies and enterprises with 5 floors and above or with the capacity of 5,000 m3 and above fall into the category of premises with fire and explosion risks[1]. Accordingly, premises with fire and explosion risks must satisfy the following safety conditions on fire prevention and fighting[2]:

  • To have rules, internal regulations, banning signs, warning signs, layouts or guiding signs on fire prevention and fighting, exit routes, which are appropriate for the characteristics and nature of the operations in the premise;
  • Fire prevention and fighting duties and responsibilities to be assigned within the premise;
  • Electrical systems, lightning and static electricity prevention systems; equipment using electricity, generating flame or heat; the use of flame or heat sources must be ensured of safety on fire prevention and fighting;
  • To have safety procedures on fire prevention and fighting which are appropriate for the conditions of production, business and services;
  • To have basic and specialised fire prevention and fighting personnel who are trained on fire prevention and fighting duties, and are put in ready status to fight against fire at the workplace;
  • To have firefighting and rescue options which have been approved by competent authorities;
  • To have traffic route, water supply and communication systems to serve firefighting purposes, fire alarming, fire extinguishing and preventing systems, other fire prevention and fighting means, victim rescuing means which are appropriate for the characteristics and nature of the premise, of which the quantity and quality are ensured and which operate in accordance with the technical standards on fire prevention and fighting or the regulations of the Ministry of Public Security;
  • To maintain dossiers for managing and monitoring fire prevention and fighting activities as required by the Ministry of Public Security.

Therefore, enterprises which lease head offices in buildings with 05 floors and above or with the capacity of 5,000 m3 and above must ensure the safety conditions on fire prevention and fighting.

2. Do fire prevention and fighting responsibilities lie with the building owner or the enterprise leasing the head office?

Nowadays in Vietnam, many enterprises which lease offices as the workplace misunderstand that the building owner will be responsible for obtaining, from the competent State authority, necessary certificates on satisfying the safety conditions on fire prevention and fighting, as well as for other fire prevention and fighting responsibilities.

However, enterprises which lease head offices in buildings with 05 floors and above or with the capacity of 5,000 m3 and above should note that the building owner will only be responsible for satisfying the safety conditions on fire prevention and fighting at the time the construction of the building is finished (it is only an empty building since no one has leased offices by then). When enterprises lease the building as their head offices, the actual layout of each floor will be changed due to the rearrangement of working rooms, meeting rooms, reception and entertainment areas. Therefore, each enterprise must have its own fire prevention and fighting system in accordance with the construction design of the building, specifically:

  • The design of the fire prevention and fighting system proposed by the enterprise must be approved and confirmed by the building owner that it is aligned with the building’s general fire prevention and fighting system before it is constructed by the enterprise. 
  • After the enterprise has finished constructing its own fire prevention and fighting system, the enterprise or the contractor will cooperate with the building owner to invite the fire prevention and fighting police to the building to inspect the system before they issue the certificate on satisfaction of the fire prevention and fighting requirements. If the police approve the fire prevention and fighting system of the enterprise, they will issue the certificate as prescribed by law; if not, they will require repairs or rearrangements until the fire prevention and fighting requirements are satisfied, then the police will come to the office again to have the final inspection before issuing the certificate to the enterprise.

Therefore, enterprises which lease head offices in buildings with 05 floors and above or with the capacity of 5,000 m3 and above must construct its own fire prevention and fighting system besides the building’s general system, and cooperate with the contractor and the building owner to obtain necessary certificates from competent state authorities.


[1]Section 10, Appendix II, Decree 79/2014/NĐ-CP dated 31/07/2014

[2]Article 7 Decree 79/2014/NĐ-CP dated 31/07/2014