Last weeks fire incident at Tabari Place has raised a number of concerns and certainly something that the Building Board needs to look at closely and address immediately.
Tabari is an iconic location in the city. A location with a lot of history. But many of the buildings there are too old and certainly in need of major repairs. It is possible that the ageing of buildings may make them unsafe and increase the risk of these unfortunate incidents.
The Building Board certainly need to do a thorough review of all the major buildings in the city and ensure that each building is in compliance with the regulations. Interestingly, a few of the fire incidents that we’re aware of in Port Moresby have involved old buildings and specifically, kai bar businesses. This leads to our next concern “Kai Bar”.
Most of the Kai Bars in the city are operated by Chinese. These businesses offer fast food of which most aren’t on the healthy side of the diet. But the prices are cheap and perhaps because of the cheap prices, they tend to be popular among the locals.
Apart from the many that operate visibly in unhygienic conditions, there are question marks over the compliance of safety regulations. There have been three incidents in the past year or two in Port Moresby that have involved Kai Bars.
The first one was at East Boroko just down from the Port Moresby International High School. The second at Gordons just behind Coca Cola. And the third at Tabari Place.
It’s clear that there is a trend of fire incidents involving Kai Bars and one has to wonder whether many of them are in compliance with safety regulations and whether building authorities conduct inspections to ensure compliance.
One of the unfortunate incidents affected by these fires is the non-kai bar businesses. In the Tabari place incident, the fire affected a long standing pharmacy, an electronic retail outlet and a private surgery.
It is unclear as to how the fire started but businesses looking for places to lease and conduct business should be concerned about operating in old buildings and along Kai Bars.
With that in mind, here are some points to consider when thinking of leasing premises to do business:
- consider the entire building to ensure the property is compliant with fire regulations. If unsure, hire a professional to conduct an inspection and to advise you accordingly
- insure your business from fire
- ensure that the premises in which you propose to lease has an appropriate fire insurance cover over it too
- you may consider agreeing with the landlord that you will only lease the premises on the basis that no other business that has a higher risk of causing fire rents an area close to you
- ensure that the landlord has fire hydrants or other fire protection equipment installed within close proximity to your business operations