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  • Refuge areas are such areas in a building where people can take shelter in case of a fire.
  • As per the building and construction norms these areas are clearly demarcated in building plans itself.
  • Refuge area provisions applies to both commercial and residential buildings which fall under the high rise category for fire safety regulations.
  • The Refuge Area shall have a door which shall be painted or fixed with a sign in luminous paint mentioning REFUGE AREA”.
  • The lift/s shall not be permitted to open into the refuge areas.
  • The rules further states that refuge areas will be designated exclusively for the use of occupants as temporary shelter and for the use of Fire Brigade Department or any other Organization dealing with fire or other emergencies and also for exercises/drills if conducted by the Fire Brigade Department.
  • The proposed ‘refuge area’ shall be planned on the area facing the main road to allow access for Fire Engine.

1) Heights & Areas of Refuge area

  • Refuge area shall be provided in buildings of height more than 24 m.
  • Refuge area provided shall  be  planned  to  accommodate  the occupants of two consecutive floors. 

” This shall consider occupants of the floor where refuge is provided and occupants of floor above” 

  • By considering area of 0.3 m2 per person for the calculated number of occupants and shall include additionally to accommodate one wheelchair space of an area of 0.9 m2 for every 200 occupants, portion thereof, based on the occupant load served by the area of refuge or a minimum of 15 m2, whichever is higher, shall be provided as under:
  1. The refuge area shall be provided on the periphery of the floor and open to air at least on one side protected with suitable railings.
  2. Refuge area(s) shall be provided at/or immediately above 24 m and thereafter at every 15 m or so.

2) Sign-ages

  • A prominent sign bearing the words “REFUGE AREA” shall be installed at the entry of the refuge area, having height of letters of minimum 75 mm and also containing information about the location of refuge areas on the floors above and below this floor.
  • The same sign-age shall also be conspicuously located within the refuge area.

3) Ventilation

  • Each refuge area shall be ventilated and provided with first aid box, fire extinguishers, public address speaker, fire man talk back, and adequate emergency lighting as well as drinking water facility.

4) Accessibility

  • Refuge areas shall be approachable from the space they serve by an accessible means of egress.

5) Other requirements

  • Refuge areas shall connect to firefighting shaft (comprising fireman’s lift, lobby and staircase) without having the occupants requiring to return to the building spaces through which travel to the area of refuge occurred.
  • The refuge area shall always be kept clear.
  • No storage of combustible products and materials, electrical and mechanical equipment, etc. shall be allowed in such areas.
  • Refuge area shall be provided with adequate drainage facility to maintain efficient storm water disposal.
  • Entire refuge area shall be provided with sprinklers.
  • Where there is a difference in level between connected areas for horizontal exits, ramps of slope not steeper than 1 in 12 shall be provided (and steps should be avoided).


  1. Refuge area provided in excess of the requirements shall be counted towards FAR.
  2. High rise apartment buildings with apartments having balcony, need not be provided with refuge area; however, apartment buildings without balcony shall provide refuge area as given above.
  3. Refuge areas for apartment buildings of height above 60 m. while having balconies shall be provided at 60 m and thereafter at every 30 m.
  4. The refuge area shall be an area equivalent to 0.3 m2 per person for accommodating occupants of two consecutive floors, where occupant load shall be derived on basis of 12.5 m2 of gross floor area and additionally 0.9 m2 for accommodating wheelchair requirement or shall be 15 m2, whichever is higher.

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