South China Morning Post
Deputy chief fire officer Chui Man-leung said 53 facilities had shut down after receiving notices. But Hong Kong Mini Storage Association chairman Peter Hung Kai-kei said more than 100 had shut down over the past year for various reasons.
The Fire Services Department sets out space requirements for facilities as well as the need for clear escape route directions and rescue windows.“Usable space will be cut down to 30 to 40 per cent if the requirement is met,” said Luigi La Tona, executive director of the Self Storage Association Asia.
According to Chui, the department had accepted an alternative to the requirement for a 2.4-metre gap between storage units after discussions with industry representative. Operators will now be allowed to bypass the arrangement if they use materials that can withstand a fire for 30 minutes, allowing a longer time for fire fighters to arrive.
But the industry is now bargaining for an alternative to another rule – a requirement for headroom of one metre. This is the most stringent [requirement] in the world,” La Tona said. “We can meet the principle of smoke and heat distribution by perforation.
The Mini Storage Association agrees. “Experts we have hired suggest making holes in parts of the units’ walls extending into the headroom,” Hung said.