The National Bank does not have the ISU approval for fire cases

George Marinescu
English Section / 27 octombrie 2023

The National Bank does not have the ISU approval for fire cases

Versiunea în limba română

The National Bank of Romania does not have a fire safety authorization from the Bucharest-Ilfov Emergency Situations Inspectorate. I learned that information during an event that took place at the beginning of this week and in which Governor Mugur Isărescu launched his book: "The role of central banks in contemporary economies: beyond price stability".

As you can see from the image attached to this article, the BNR officials respect the law and announce, through a poster pasted next to an electric panel, those who enter the central bank headquarters that the building on Doamnei str. no. 8 does not yet hold that authorization. In other words, once you have been informed and - according to President Klaus Iohannis - you consider yourself informed, participating in any event presided over by Mugur Isărescu or his subordinates is at your own risk.

Or is it not so?

It is certain that, in the absence of this fire safety authorization required by the legislation in force regarding the management of emergency situations, the BNR organized many events, conferences, debates, each of which took place in the presence of a maximum of 200 people, with whom there was always a high risk in the event of a fire. We do not mention here those who receive the acceptance to visit the museum of the central bank.

People probably entered the BNR building confident that nothing could happen to them in a sumptuous building, where the best quality marble takes pride of place, and with the thought that the National Bank has all the necessary authorizations for that building .

Well, it isn't!

After noticing the lack of fire safety authorization, we wanted to find out information about this aspect and sent a set of questions to the National Bank of Romania and the Bucharest-Ilfov Emergency Situations Inspectorate.

The first to respond to our request were the BNR officials. From the address received from them, we note that the National Bank of Romania started the procedure for obtaining the fire safety authorization for the building in Bucharest, 8 Doamnei str., since 2016.

In the quoted document it is stated: "In 2018, the contract for design services was concluded with the company SC Topalis Engineering SRL, in order to comply with the building, to obtain the fire safety authorization. The technical documentation developed by SC Topalis Engineering SRL, in accordance with Regulation P118/1999, in conjunction with the provisions of Law no. 422/2001 on the protection of historical monuments, did not obtain the fire safety approval, although several rounds of technical discussions took place /audiences with the representatives of the Inspectorate for Emergency Situations, revisions according to their requests, resubmissions".

Since the first technical documentation was rejected by ISU Bucharest-Ilfov, on October 31, 2022, BNR terminated the contract with SC Topalis Engineering SRL, and is currently waiting for the completion of the procurement procedure for the objective "Works necessary to obtain the fire safety authorization for the BNR Doamnei buildings no. 8 and Lipscani no. 25 - design", as it was approved in the Annual Procurement Strategy for the year 2023.

In other words, the authorization procedure was at a standstill at the end of last year, it was resumed, but if we take into account that from 2018 the company Topalis Engineering needed four years to draw up the technical documentation rejected by ISU Bucharest-Ilfov, probably also the company that will win the ongoing public procurement will need a similar time or a minimum of three years.

According to BNR officials, the steps to obtain the fire safety authorization for the central bank headquarters are:

- Completion of the procurement procedure for design services for the execution of the works required to obtain the fire safety authorization for the BNR buildings in Strada Doamnei no. 8 and Lipscani Street no. 25;

- Elaboration of technical documentation;

- Obtaining approvals in accordance with the provisions of the urban planning certificate (including fire safety approval, building permit;

- Execution of works required by the project/opinion of the Inspectorate for Emergency Situations;

- Submission to the Inspectorate for Emergency Situations of the documentation for obtaining the fire safety authorization, together with the reception report upon completion of the works in order to issue the fire safety authorization;

"Currently, it is not possible to estimate a deadline for obtaining the fire safety authorization", BNR officials told us, for the procedure started seven years ago.

According to article 3 of the Order of the Minister of Internal Affairs no. 180/2022 for the approval of the Methodological Norms regarding fire safety approval and authorization iu and civil protection, requests to issue fire safety notices or authorizations ""submitted before the entry into force of this order shall be resolved according to the provisions in force on the date of submission".

Practically, the BNR cannot defend itself by claiming that the respective authorization was not obtained last year due to the new rules, because the refusal of ISU Bucharest-Ilfov and the termination of the contract with the company Topalis Engineering took place two months before the entry into force of Order no. 180/2022 of the Minister of Internal Affairs, which entered into force on December 27, 2022.

According to law no. 307/2006 on fire protection, art. 45, point V letter b, the putting into operation by the beneficiary of the investment of new constructions and facilities or of existing ones that have been carried out modification works, as well as the continuation of operation, without obtaining the fire safety permit. In addition to this measure, the ISU can order, according to GD 915/2015, the complementary measure of stopping the operation or use of constructions or facilities that do not have a fire safety permit.

Fortunately for the NBR, the measure provided for in GD 915/2015 can only be taken for buildings that have an area of more than 200 square meters and are intended for trade, culture or tourism. Taking into account that the headquarters of the central bank has none of the three destinations, the shutdown measure cannot be applied to it.

We also tried to find out the point of view of SC Topalis Engineering SRL regarding the reason why ISU Bucharest-Ilfov rejected the technical documentation drawn up by the company for the BNR headquarters last year.

The representatives of the respective company answered our phone call and told us: "There are various reasons. They can reject a technical documentation just because you didn't submit it properly. In the case of old buildings, where only certain aspects of fire safety are complied with, it is possible that certain modifications may not have been found to be compliant with the regulations. The notice issued by ISU Bucharest-Ilfov did not reach us, but only the beneficiary, and the company has a confidentiality clause with the BNR and we cannot provide you with more information".

Unfortunately, the company's representatives did not answer our question about how a confidentiality clause can work in a contract which, according to the address sent by the BNR to the Editor, was terminated on October 31, 2022.

We waited until the close of the edition and the answer to the questions addressed to ISU Bucharest-Ilfov, questions in which we also referred to the measures imposed by the inspectorate on the central bank, but apart from a registration number of our request received a few days ago , I have not received anything from the Emergency Situations.

We hope that until they answer us or until the BNR obtains the fire safety authorization, there will be no fire at the headquarters of the National Bank during the period in which debates, book launches and other events attended by several hundred people are organized people. After all, eight years have passed since the tragedy at Colectiv and seven years since BNR started the procedure for obtaining the fire safety authorization, and it seems that the officials dealing with authorizations and checks within the ISU have kept the same metehne, since the Crevedia tragedy was possible in August 2023.

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