Why the tragedy of "Winter Cherry" can be repeated

The supervision system fails, the business saves on construction and operation, inspections and exercises are conducted formally and irregularly.
What is wrong with supervision

Over the past 20 years, the surveillance system in Russia has gradually evolved from a single to a disjointed one, and in 2007 there was a final split in the whole building rationing system, says the former advisor to the chairman of the central council of the All-Russian Voluntary Firefighting Society Denis von Mekk: they made amendments to the Urban Development Code, which, depending on the life cycle of the project, divided the control over it in the part of fire safety supervision. Previously, every stage of the construction of the facility - design, construction and commissioning - was supervised by a fire inspection. After 2007, the situation changed. Now the design is checked by expertise, construction - construction supervision, which is usually subordinated to municipal authorities, putting the building into operation - the State Fire Supervision, which is under the authority of the Ministry of Emergency Situations. All three inspection bodies do not have the practice of reconciling their visions of entangled demands, says von Meck. Managing Partner of PFM Solutions Evgeny Grikhanov confirms: until the commissioning of the facility, the fire inspectorate does not see the object, and a specialized accredited organization prepares the project documentation for the building's compliance with fire safety standards.

Because of the many standards at each stage, difficulties arise with their interpretation and application, notes von Meck: business is becoming a hostage to the inconsistency of the actions of various departments. At the same time, since the Soviet era, there are still contradictions between the standards for fire safety and the requirements of other departments, he continues. Anti-terrorist requirements are contrary to fire-fighting requirements. "It was always like that, even during the Soviet era, the extra-departmental security required to put bars on the windows, and firemen - so that they open unobstructed," recalls the fire inspector of one of the supervisory activities departments reporting to the EMERCOM of Moscow. Von Meck as an example leads psychiatric hospitals or a cabinet for storing narcotic drugs in ordinary hospitals: according to the instructions of the Ministry of Health, grills should be installed on the windows of such offices, the rules of fire safety in principle prohibit the use of gratings on windows, which sometimes remain the only possible way of evacuation in a fire .

Another problem is that in Russia there is still no set of universal rules for the construction of shopping centers (TRC), as it is done, for example, for high-rise buildings (i.e., public above 50 m and houses above 75 m), notes von Meck. There are building codes and rules, which presuppose the existence of a project for the construction of any major building, points out Grikhanov. At the same time, according to him, each land plot has its own peculiarities, and the architectural solutions of buildings are extremely complicated, as a result, it leads to the fact that the current norms are difficult to fulfill or even impossible. But there is a legal way to begin construction of an object of any complexity - special technical conditions (STU). In fact, these are the norms developed and approved for a specific facility for capital construction and containing additional requirements for fire safety, either established or not, says von Meck. After agreeing, these special conditions are given the status of a normative document applicable to a single building, Vedomosti interlocutor points out. STUs may not meet some general rules, but formally this is not a violation, but an assumption with respect to an individual object, indicating compensating measures to ensure fire safety, says Grikhanov. The TSA must be coordinated by organizations accredited to the MSU or state structures.

Today in Russia, almost all large shopping and entertainment centers are built on the basis of STU, von Meck and Grikhanov confirm. The most striking example, says the fire inspector of one of the supervisory departments, subordinate to the MOE in Moscow, is the placement of children's play areas. According to the construction norms and rules approved by the Ministry of Construction in 2009, they should be placed no higher than the second floor and not more than 20 m from the emergency exit, he says. However, in practice, when building large centers, these requirements are neglected. In most large shopping centers, children's zones are located on the third and fourth floors - it is more cost-effective, besides it is easier to provide a non-standard height, one of the interlocutors confirms. The lawyer of the Bar Association "Yukov and Partners" Margarita Zakharova explains: "The owner or the management company of the facility can agree to the STU, according to which such a zone can be located no higher than the fourth floor and subject to the availability of additional (or expanded) opportunities for the evacuation of visitors." Such conditions, as a rule, are coordinated by the Ministry of Construction.

One of the few examples of placement of children's establishments on the ground floors is the Mega shopping centers of the Swedish giant IKEA. The children's playgrounds in Megah have been designed and placed in such a way that in the event of an emergency the evacuation took place as quickly and efficiently as possible, says IKEA Centres Russia representative (managed by Megami): in those Mega shopping centers where children playground operators work or educational and entertainment centers, in case of evacuation of the shopping center, evacuation of children is carried out according to a separate scheme and along barrier-free routes.

What are the owners saving on?

In Russia, according to the consulting company CBRE, 764 professional shopping centers with a total leasable area of ​​22.8 million square meters. m of which 238 malls - in Moscow (6 million sq. m.) and 116 - in St. Petersburg (2.8 million sq. m.). The commissioning of new areas in shopping centers in 2017 was a record low for the last five years, according to the consulting company JLL: in comparison with the previous year, it fell by more than 2.5 times. Only three large shopping centers are open in Moscow: Vegas Kuntsevo (113,400 sq. M.), Vidnoe Park (24,000 sq. M.) And a shopping mall with IFC Fili Grad (12,000 sq. M.). This year, as analysts expect CBRE, will be introduced 12 malls with a total area of ​​274,000 square meters. m in Moscow and 17 facilities for 471,000 square meters. m in the regions.

Crises do not encourage developers and builders to pay special attention to security systems, notes Grikhanov: when the facility is put into operation, banks threaten to stop credit lines, the owner has to sacrifice something. Standard savings methods - replace original materials with cheap analogs, do not finish installation and commissioning of the fire protection system in the expectation that this will be done in the future by the building maintenance service. She, in turn, also tries to save, especially as the number of visitors and their purchasing power are falling, rental income is declining, and loans need to be paid. All this happens even though the cost of fire alarms is usually less than 1% in the total cost of construction, says Grikhanov. Therefore, he notes, it is always cheaper to provide a building with quality fireproof solutions at the construction stage, rather than exploitation.

Also, due to lack of time, the owner often does not complete the start-up and commissioning work. Grikhanov says that often buildings are put into operation with only partially working fire alarm. At the same time, if the construction control documents are signed, then the firemen follow him, too, take the object. According to the expert, the inspector can show principle and check everything thoroughly, but in practice this does not happen. In addition, the regulations allow the reception of fire equipment, if it can be started manually - by pressing a button by the responsible person, says Grikhanov. However, in practice, the responsible person may not have time to do it.

The general director S.A. Ricci Alexander Morozov notes that in Moscow and St. Petersburg in large shopping centers, as a rule, the situation with fire safety is good: there are competent architects and designers, experienced developers, management companies adhere to the rules, and inspections of shopping centers in the two capitals are conducted regularly. In the regions, developers, Morozov continues, are not always ready to incur additional costs for both design and construction, as well as for ensuring security in already operating shopping centers, which was shown by the tragedy in Kemerovo. Formally, the "Winter Cherry" had warning and firefighting systems, but they did not work. In addition, it turned out that the staff was not trained in behavior in emergency situations.

On what save managers

As a rule, the maintenance company is responsible for the safety of the mall after its input. However, in this role is often the owner's own structure of the object - the internal service, which often does not have the appropriate experience, says Grikhanov. Often, such services are not in a position to even track changes in regulations. In Russia, shopping malls are not often outsourced to professional companies (as is the case, for example, in the hotel market), especially in the regions, he continues. As an example, the interlocutors of Vedomosti again bring IKEA Centres Russia: it is built according to the western pattern and monitors compliance with security requirements, says the top manager of a large management company. While in Moscow and St. Petersburg the share of professional management companies is growing, in regions the owners try to maintain the buildings themselves, he says. This is confirmed by the deputy director of real estate management "FM-Kraft" Alexander Minkovsky.

The story of "Winter Cherry" can be repeated in other shopping centers of the country, says the top manager of another major management company. In 2017, the Syndica construction market near Moscow almost completely burned down, major fires occurred in the Moscow SEC "Rio" on the Dmitrov highway and "Filion" near the metro "Bagrationovskaya". On the "Syndicate", according to her representative, the fire alarm system worked on time, and the facility itself had a large number of evacuation exits. Victims managed to escape largely thanks to the work of the staff, who did not let people into the parking lot, where, according to one version, the fire started, adds the top manager of a large management company.

According to the regulations, fire fighting systems should be checked by the operating organization at least once a quarter, says Grikhanov. Actually, the same systems do not work everywhere, admits the top manager of a large management company. The reason, he said, is that systems often announce false alarms. Therefore, management companies prefer to turn off notification systems, because any evacuation leads to idle facilities, which means that their owners incur losses. Alexei Vanchugov, Managing Partner of Vanchugov & Partners (managing commercial real estate) agrees: "The most common problem is the false triggering of smoke detectors. Almost all developers and management companies face this problem. Smoke detectors can react to steam in cooking, dust during finishing works of one of the premises for a new tenant. This can happen several times an hour, and managers - maybe even not in the person of the manager, but simply on duty managers - often turn off these sensors, because they interfere with them. "

Sometimes the doors of the evacuation exits are closed. For example, because through them in the SEC can be penetrated bypassing the guard. In addition, the door closers are broken, and, in order not to repair them every time, the door is locked with a key, which at best hangs next to the glass.

Who supplies the equipment

The fire safety system is in every shopping center, says the top manager of a large company that manages such facilities. So, among the manufacturers of fire safety systems there is a serious competition, says a specialist in fire safety of a large owner of shopping centers in Russia. In the market of fire fighting systems and warning systems, the largest player is the Moscow-based "Bolid", he says and confirms Minkowski from FM-Kraft, specializing in the management of commercial real estate. According to the estimations of the latter, "Bolid" systems are installed in about half of Russian shopping centers. Its main competitors are "Rubezh" from Saratov, St. Petersburg "Arguspektr", American Honeywell, German Siemens. This is confirmed by Dmitri Petrenko, general director of ASPT spetsavtomatika (installs fire safety systems and produces gas fire suppression systems). Minkowski says that the difference in quality between Russian and foreign systems - both between Russian and foreign cars, but also at a price, they differ by 2-2.5 times. There is no significant quality difference between Russian and foreign systems, the fire safety specialist of a major owner of shopping centers in Russia does not agree. Modern systems of automatic fire alarm and warning systems of domestic and foreign manufacturers meet modern requirements and are able to detect fogging in the early stages, Petrenko believes.

How to avoid victims

On the objects of commercial real estate training evacuations should be regularly conducted, says Mikhail Safonov from Knight Frank. According to the rules, this should happen at least every six months, says the top manager of a large management company, but in fact this is usually done formally and without the participation of visitors. With rare exceptions: almost IKEA Centers Russia, of almost a dozen owners of large Moscow shopping centers, confirmed that the company conducts training and evacuation exercises at least twice a year, including with the participation of buyers. The representative of FM Kraft, the manager of the TRC "Domodedovo" in Moscow and the SEC "Planeta" in Novokuznetsk and Krasnoyarsk, said that he conducts complex exercises involving the city administration and the Ministry of Emergency Situations twice a year. In this case, usually the exercises are held in the morning - at this time, fewer buyers, the interlocutor adds "Vedomosti". Exercises for employees of the management company are held once a month, says a representative of FM-Kraft. The representative of the owner of the SEC "European", the company "Kievskaya Ploshchad", noted that the company "always pays special attention to security issues": evacuation ladders are inspected 2-3 times a week, and once a month there are complex inspections of the fire protection system of the building. Vice-president of TPN Real Estate (SEC "Oceania", "Good!", Etc.) Igor Vdovichenko assures that in every shopping center of their company there is even a preventive group for extinguishing fires.

The representative of "Kiev Square" did not provide comments on other objects. Other major owners of the mall in Russia - Tashir, Regions Group of Companies, - as well as representatives of Aviapark did not answer Vedomosti's questions.

Mandatory fire insurance would increase the responsibility of the SEC, said Alexander Gulchenko, chairman of the supervisory board of the Russian anti-terrorist insurance pool: an insurance audit would effectively complement the current supervision. It is necessary to insure risks of both owners and operators, Grikhanov agrees: experts of the insurance company in this case would check objects much more rigidly than any supervision, because in case of emergency, it will compensate losses.

Any management company always insures its risks to third parties, says NAI Becar Vice President Viktor Kozin, depending on the type and condition of the facility, the amount of insurance can reach hundreds of millions of rubles. For large shopping centers, the cost of such a policy can reach up to several million rubles, said the general director of the insurance company "Alliance" Nikolai Klekovkin. The executive director of the insurance company MAKS Andrey Martyanov considers the idea of ​​compulsory insurance of the responsibility of the SEC and the operating companies to third parties to be ambiguous. On the one hand, insurers would be glad to the new obligatory market and the opportunity to develop. On the other hand, it will become an additional burden on the business and cause opposition from it.

The issue of imposing compulsory insurance of risks for large shopping malls can be considered at a Duma commission created after the tragedy in Kemerovo, said first deputy speaker of the State Duma Alexander Zhukov.