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Decree 30/2019 of the Ministry of Interior about the 2019 modification of Hungarian Fire Safety Code (called “OTSZ”) was officially published on 26 July 2019.

It will enter into force within 180 days, at the end of January 2020. In the next half year, companies will have enough time to prepare for the new regulations, but for the sake of simplicity, we have summarized the most important changes.

Do we need to consider a completely new legislation now?

The answer is no. The current National Fire Safety Code was published in 2014, bringing a brand new approach to the fire protection industry. Based on the experience of the previous years, the current decree is rather a modification, which sets stricter but somewhere more permissive requirements than before. This means that Decree 54/2014. (XII.5) of Ministry of Interior will remain in force still, the structure will not change, only the individual paragraphs will be amended. In addition to the National Fire Safety Code, it is still mandatory to take into account the technical solutions contained in the Fire Protection Technical Guidelines (“TvMI”). Changes could be seen on a long term basis, as in the future the legislation will define the rules and objectives of fire safety and the guidelines will rather define the technological way of implementation.

 

What are the most important changes based on the Fire Safety Code amendment?

If you would like to see all the changes, you can download the Hungarian Bulletin here, which contains a detailed update. For the sake of simplicity, we have now highlighted the most important changes that, based on our experience, affect most companies regardless the industry:

  • Requirements of rooms for large crowd are now only applicable if they are actually associated with the use of the room with a huge amount of people,
  • Some definitions are also affected by the change, such as:
    • the definition of shelter-in-place is supplemented by the fact that the given room or space ensures safety not just during the rescue but also for further evacuation; in addition, the resting area of ​​a protected stairway may be also considered as a temporary protected area,
    • an equipment can be considered as a built-in fire alarm or fire-extinguishing system, only if the fire authority has approved its usage,
    • evacuation does not only mean leaving the building, but also reaching a temporary protected space (shelter-in-place) which can be within the facility,
    • specification for combustible / non-combustible materials has been changed,
  • New fire hazard classes have been developed for substances:
    • Highly flammable and explosive class
    • Moderately flammable class
    • Non-flammable class
  • Explosion protection related parts of the Fire Safety Code have been modified accordingly,
  • Building regulations for fire spreading, heat- and smoke exhaust system and construction rules of individual buildings have also changed,
  • The geometric method has been officially named in connection with the evacuation calculation,
  • Emergency opening of evacuation doors must be always granted – security access systems must be also considered to not hinder evacuation,
  • New regulations have been issued for stairways forming an escape route,
  • Rules governing the fire brigade area and the supply of fire water have also changed,
  • The need for a lightning protection system has been clarified and the previous 40% expansion now clearly refers to the horizontal projection of the original roof area,
  • This legislative amendment also affects zone classifications for electrostatic discharges,
  • After-glow pictograms must be used also in the following cases: entrance of the room containing the center of an unattended fire alarm system, the manual operation of the heat- and smoke exhaust system and the emergency opening of the access system,
  • Building usage instructions for the operator, owner and tenant, as well as rules for keeping fire safety documents up to date, have been also included,
  • The cycle times for maintenance, periodic inspection and operational inspection have only been partially changed,
  • Finally, the values ​​in the annexes to the Fire Safety Code have changed in many places, and it is worth to check these requirements to ensure compliance.

 

Do you need to revise your company Fire Safety Policy?

Highly probably yes, but at least a review will be necessary. Quite a lot of new requirements have been introduced and the terminology has been changed on several cases as well. However, it is important to note that changes to the Fire Safety Policy can only be carried out by a fire safety specialist.

 

If you would like to change your corporate policies or just need guidance on how to navigate in the legislative maze, please feel free to contact us.