Thromde: Five-storey and above buildings in thromdes across the country will no longer be required to install lifts unlike in the past.

This is an outcome of the fifth Annual Thromde Coordination Meeting (ATCM) that started in Phuentsholing yesterday.

In its presentation, Phuentsholing Thromde (PT) opened up the issue of having difficulty in implementing the mandatory rule of installing lifts in five storeys and above buildings.

The discussion expanded as Thimphu Thrompon Kinlay Dorjee also said that Thimphu had the same issue.

Deliberating further, in presence of the minister for works and human settlement and its secretary, it was decided that building owners could, henceforth, keep the provision for lifts to be installed later.

“They can do it whenever they are economically prepared,” works and human settlement ministry’s secretary, Phuntsho Wangdi said.

Although installation of lift was mandatory in line with the Bhutan Building Rules 2002, not many have complied, it was learned from the discussions.

Thimphu Thrompon Kinlay Dorjee said that all was well until 2011 when the government decided to implement the requirement for lifts in buildings that are five-storeys and more.

“Most commercial buildings and institutions have lifts,” Kinlay Dorjee said, adding that even some buildings with three to four storeys installed lifts.

However, Thrompon Kinlay Dorjee expressed concerns over lifts that were constructed and not used. Spaces for lifts were allocated, but the lift passages were left hollow, he added.

He also said that this happened because installing lifts was expensive as well. “Reliability and maintenance are major issues,” he said. “It is also risky.”

Most officials participating in the coordination meeting also shared that it was expensive to install lifts. More than Nu 2-3 million was required to install a simple lift system. And it was also highlighted that it would be “a strong imposition” to compulsorily ask building owners install the lifts.

Thrompon Kinlay Dorjee said that lifts should be kept optional, as it is not necessary that all buildings in urban areas should be 100 percent disabled-friendly.

Phuentsholing Thrompon Uttar Kumar Rai said that the thromde put up the issue for discussion as they faced issues related to this. “We didn’t have an answer and couldn’t justify,” he said, explaining that some people were giving examples of Thimphu building owners.

Meanwhile, various other issues related to the four thromdes and their development were also tabled for discussion at the ATCM yesterday.

Discussions on more issues will follow today. The meeting also concludes today.

Works and human settlement minister Dorji Choden said that practical problems can be done away with for friendly enforcements.

Rajesh Rai | Phuentsholing