''Lower floors of most shopping centres are not suitable for cinemas owing to low ceilings''

It is possible that cinemas and children's entertainment zones in shopping centres will be relocated: pros and cons

''Lower floors of most shopping centres are not suitable for cinemas owing to low ceilings'' Photo: Dmitry Reznov

Shopping centres' owners may face unplanned relocations: the State Duma of the Russian Federation is considering to relocate cinemas and children's entertainment areas to the lower floors of the complexes. According to deputies, only after such changes it will be much safer. Realnoe Vremya asked the opinions of the parties, who are mostly not ready to agree with the radical option.

We should not drive ourselves into a dead end

The State Duma of the Russian Federation is preparing a draft bill to oblige the owners of shopping centres to relocate cinemas and children's entertainment areas to the lower floors of the complexes. Despite the fact that the sanitary regulations already define the requirements of the second floor for children's areas, deputies believe that this is not enough. They should add cinemas, wordings should be tightened. It is expected that by the end of the year all the work in terms of legal regulation will be completed, and this year all the shopping centres will be engaged in reorganizations.

Almost immediately after the tragedy in Kemerovo, Yevgeny Revenko, a member of the State Duma Committee on information policy, information technologies and communications, together with his Duma's colleagues Dmitry Sazonov and Yury Shvytkin submitted a request to Russian minister of construction Mikhail Men. In the letter dated March 29, the deputies asked to change the building regulations to cinemas and children's entertainment zones and to locate them not above a certain floor – what particular will be studied by the ministry. Last week, it was organized an entrepreneurial platform, where together with representatives of the ministry of emergency situations, entrepreneurs, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Russian Federation they discussed what should be changed. Yevgeny Revenko commented on how the work on changing the rules of fire safety was going.

''It is obvious that at least children's zones must be equipped with additional fire extinguishing systems,'' Evgeny Revenko believes. Photo: bryansktoday.ru

''A number of systematic problems that need to be addressed has been revealed. It is several systematic questions, but we shouldn't 'nightmarize' businesses right now because of it. The main thing now is security issues, including business responsibility. It is necessary to build a chain of fire control, there are questions to stroynadzor [the Building Supervision Service], why are the requirements not met? There is no agency that would check whether changes in the shopping centres are made. It doesn't provide where cinemas must be located. It is obvious that at least children's zones must be equipped with additional fire extinguishing systems,'' Evgeny Revenko explained to Realnoe Vremya.

The logical question is why we need another agency that would control the shopping centres after commissioning? ''We should not drive ourselves into a dead end. We should not fight against ourselves, the main question here is whether we want safety, whether we are ready to ensure it afterwards. Again, we do not aim to 'nightmarize' the businesses,'' clarified the deputy of the State Duma.

At the time of the publication, the official response to the request to the ministry of construction and housing of Russia has not been received.

A delusional initiative

Nail Sagidullin, the former head of the cinema Kinomechta, considers the draft bill to be at least strange.

''Lower floors of most shopping centres are not suitable for cinemas simply because of insufficient height of the ceilings, there will be technical difficulties for relocation. It will be very difficult to realize in the majority of complexes of the beginning of the 2000s. Besides, hypermarkets are usually located on the first floors, do they also need to be relocated somewhere? It's wrong. The initiative is delusional and difficult to implement. If we talk about the complexes under construction, it is still possible to fulfill such requirements,'' says Nail Sagidullin.

The interlocutor also considers the potential creation of a new body that would oversee the shopping centres after the start of work unnecessary. ''We have the emergency ministry, the prosecutor's office, why multiply them? It would be better to give jobs to ordinary people,'' said the cinema businessman.

''Hypermarkets are usually located on the first floors, do they also need to be relocated somewhere? It's wrong.'' Photo: Anton Zhuravlyov

If the draft bill is passed, the issue of costs will arise.

''It is only unnecessary expense. It is impossible to redo everything again, cinemas are not accidentally located above the ground floor because of high ceilings. I do not see the point in the proposed measures, emergency exits are enough. But if they are cluttered, it doesn't matter whether they are on the fifth or the first floor. We do not oppose so far, but, probably, the film community will challenge the decision if it is adopted,'' the representative of Korston cinema believes.

In the press-service of Karo cinema they have already said that they consider such alterations impossible due to economic and construction features.

Doors should be alternately opened and closed

Radik Mingazov, the manager director of Moskovsky shopping centre and Azino shopping centre, initially spoke out for possible changes, but later recalled that different agencies sometimes write conflicting requirements.

''A lot depends on human factor, sometimes it is not only the owner to blame, there are also questions to customers on fire safety. In general, these changes incur high costs for owners, maybe they shouldn't put the question so drastically? Because at one time in the framework of anti-terrorist exercises there were the requirements that the emergency doors must be closed, now, on the contrary, they check whether they are opened. Unambiguous decision is always bad for all sides, and throws us from side to side. We need a reasonable middle,'' says Radik Mingazov.

In his opinion, it would be better to pay attention to the existing weaknesses in fire safety and change them rather than changing the rules.

Valentina Sakhabeyeva, the director of the department of trade centres UD Group, agrees with her counterparts.

''Instead of strengthening control over safety systems, they are discussing the transfer of zones to the first floor, but what if safety systems don't work there, then what?.. To move everyone into space? Not the location is important, but the system itself to ensure this safety. As for existing shopping centres, this does not solve the problem at all. In cinemas, the ceiling height is from 10 to 14 metres, how can they be relocated on the level below? If we relocate one anchor tenant downstairs, then we have to relocated the other one upstairs. The attendance of film theaters and grocery stores differs hugely. As a result, the security situation is getting worse. The solution of the problem — control over work of life-support systems of buildings, inspection authorities, owners of the property,'' Valentina Sakhabeyeva believes.

By Yulia Kosolapkina
Tatarstan