Fire equipment market hard to control despite huge demand

16:01 | 04/05/2018
The Carina Plaza fire in March in Ho Chi Minh City has reinvigorated the fire equipment market as real estate developers are increasingly pouring money into upgrading fire prevention systems. However, the market remains difficult to control due to the abundance of low-quality products.
fire equipment market hard to control despite huge demand
High-quality fire prevention system becomes the leading standard for apartment buyers (Photo: Vneconomy)

Positive impact on fire-fighting equipment segment

A high-quality fire prevention system has become the lead standard for residents who want to buy apartments. Knowing that, many real estate developers highlight this standard in their high-end apartment buildings, instead of amenities or reasonable prices as before.

Some developers have readily spent billions of VND to upgrade their buildings’ fire prevention system.

For instance, in late March, Berjaya-D2D Co. Ltd., a joint venture between Malaysia-based Berjaya Leisure (Cayman) Ltd. and domestic Industrial Urban Development JSC No.2 (D2D), spent VND80 billion ($3.52 million) to equip a disabling (isolating) fire system, an alarm system, as well as automatic fire extinguishers at each apartment of its high-end Topaz Twins building. The investor also built a 1,000cu.m water reservoir in the building to increase fire fighting capacity.

According to newswire Vneconomy, Hung Loc Phat JSC upgraded the fire prevention system at its Green Star Sky Garden high-end apartment building for hundreds of billions of VND. Each apartment is now equipped with a temperature sensor and smoke detector system. Smart sprinklers are set to turn on if the room temperature increases by 70 per cent.

Demands of building and upgrading fire prevention systems also create increased sales for fire equipment distributors.

Hoang Minh Quy, director of Minh Hoang Fire-Fighting Service Co., Ltd. (Ba Ria-Vung Tau), said that after the Carina Plaza fire, the company receives 3-4 orders per day to install fire prevention systems.

Market choking on low-quality fire equipment

fire equipment market hard to control despite huge demand
Low-quality products remain spreadily on the market of fire equipment. Source: danviet.vn

The fire equipment market is difficult to control due to the abundance of cheap and low-quality products and the huge demand for buying apartments with reasonable prices.

In recent years, the apartment market (especially the mid-end segment) has been booming in Vietnam's large cities, primarily Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.

However, reasonable prices may come at the cost of lowered fire safety as developers might possibly have made cuts in areas they should not have.

According to newswire zing.vn, Le Hoang Chau, chairman of the Ho Chi Minh City Real Estate Association (HoREA), affirmed that many real estate developers are installing fire prevention systems in preparation of heightened checks by local authorities. This means investors only spend the minimum amount (occassionally less), purchasing low-quality equipment for their buildings.

Real estate developers still do not pay enough respect to fire prevention in their apartment buildings. Many buildings are equipped with cheap and low-quality fire prevention devices, which work only until the duration of the fire checks and default soon after.

This is not only due to irresponsibility on the part of real estate developers, but also a result of Vietnamese people's demand for low-price apartments and a general lack of awareness of the necessity of fire prevention. This leads to a huge number of low-quality and fake fire equipment circulating on the market.

According to distributors in Hanoi, despite the huge demand for fire equipment, domestic products are non-existent on the market, as foreign products take up the lion’s share of the market, especially Chinese products, like fire extinguishers ($4.4-8.8 per unit) and fire alarm relays ($0.35 per unit).

Ngo Van Xiem, former deputy principal of the University of Fire Fighting and Prevention, said that Vietnamese enterprises currently do not produce fire extinguishers, despite having been authorised by the Ministry of Public Security 15 years ago. However, due to low consumption, many businesses stopped production, handing over the market to Chinese products.

Nguyen Ngoc Anh, deputy director of Viet Duc Chemical and Trade Co., Ltd. which is specialised in distributing German fire equipment, told VIR that the market is awash with fake fire equipment produced by Vietnamese people, bringing down overall product quality.

“The fire equipment market remains hard to control mainly due to the general lack of interest in products and fire prevention. Besides, management and quality checks by authorities remain loose," Anh added.

Nguyen Hai Nam, deputy general director of the Directorate for Standards, Metrology and Quality, also pointed out that the market is hard to manage because quality checks for fire equipment needs to be in accordance with the Ministry of Public Security’s Circular No.66/2014/TT-BCA, but there are no national standards for fire extinguishers. This results in quality checks against the manufacturer’s standards, which does not truly guarantee overall market standards.

By Van Anh

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