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Lviv "mamads": What private shelters in new apartments will be

Residential buildings in Tel Aviv have a lot of glass on the outside, but inside each apartment has a “mamad”. Photo: Bar Orian Architect Studio

Residential buildings in Tel Aviv have a lot of glass on the outside, but inside each apartment has a “mamad”. Photo: Bar Orian Architect Studio

The City Council of Lviv has adopted new standards for the safety of housing construction, obliging developers to create safe rooms in new buildings according to the Israeli model.

Now houses in the city will be built taking into account the emergency situations.

The requirements for fire safety and the installation of video surveillance systems were tightened for the developers of the new generation of houses. When planning construction, entrepreneurs are advised to focus on improving the social, engineering and transport infrastructure for residents.

New regulations imply enhanced security in new buildings. In particular, these are:

  • safe room on the floors (Israeli experience),
  • adaptation of underground parking lots and other premises for shelter,
  • accessibility of shelters,
  • fireproof walls and windows,
  • observance of humane altitude,
  • preventing overcrowding of buildings, etc.

Mamad or "safety room": What is it and what does it look like

The model that Lviv officials have adopted as a model for enhancing home safety is of Israeli origin.

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"Mamads", as they are called in Israel, are separate armored rooms in an apartment, which are usually used as children's rooms. If there's an alert, all family members hide in this shelter room with enhanced security systems. They can save from fragments of missiles and shells, as well as chemical weapons and earthquakes.

There is also an air filter for chemical protection. Usually the shelter has beds, communication lines, including the Internet, food and water supplies.

Public buildings also necessarily have such a room — it must be located on every floor where there are people. Without the mamad, the city authorities will not allow construction of the building or its commissioning.

Lviv "mamads": Pros and cons

Lviv Mayor Andriy Sadovyi considers the decision on safety rooms revolutionary and stresses that the developers' compliance with these standards will be taken into account when giving town-planning conditions and restrictions.

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As Anton Kolomieitsev, the chief architect of Lviv, explained in a commentary to The Page, the decision was made given that in the last month, air raid alerts have become more frequent at night.

Quote"A couple nights ago there were two air raid alerts lasting two hours. And it became obvious that the protection rooms that we introduced into the housing construction standards in Lviv are a vital thing. These are safety issues, the psychological health of our children and parents. Last week, during the shelling, air defenses went off, but the buildings were damaged by debris. We have cases where a piece of a missile hit an office center and punched through a brick wall. There was no one there, it was at night. But if someone was there, there would be victims," the official explained.

According to Kolomieitsev, the recommendations were prepared taking into account the practices of Israel, the country has experience in building premises with enhanced security in the dwellings since 1992.

Lviv's enhanced security rooms will look like ordinary residential premises, the architect says. However, they will differ from other rooms in massive, 30-centimeter reinforced concrete walls, thickened ceilings, and metal sealed doors that can withstand a blast wave.

Lviv offers developers to build rooms with a minimum area of 9 sq.m, where the walls and ceilings are made of reinforced concrete. Windows should be protected by steel shutters, but they should be at least 1.5 meters from the floor. The door and windows must withstand the pressure of the blast wave. As a rule, 70% of the walls of protected premises are placed on foundations.

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The architect explained that such rooms do not protect from a direct hit of a missile in the building, but they protect from a blast wave and debris. Therefore, if possible, pne should go down to the shelter.

If there is a direct hit to the house, then being in an underground shelter will save a life. And if it's a threat of air strikes in the middle of the night or the one that wasn't warned about, the family can sleep in a "protective" room. It's safer than hiding in the bathroom, the official believes.

According to the chief architect, the safety component will increase the cost of apartments by 2-3%. Today in Lviv, a square meter in new buildings costs an average of $1,000.

Quote"When we talk about reinforced walls and concrete, cost is not a problem. There is the problem of formwork and vertical concreting — they are rare in our market and are quite expensive. In Poland, for example, there is a tradition to make all walls monolithic. We do not have such a tradition. After the war, technologically monolithic walls will prevail in our market," the architect explained.

However, the city council says that they do not have the opportunity to influence construction companies to comply with these recommendations, but they hope for their social responsibility.

Developers and architects consider the use of Israeli experience in shelters ineffective.

Firstly, as architect Anna Iskierdo noted in a commentary to The Page, the decision about shelter rooms is not entirely suitable for our realities. Because our countries have different spatial parameters. In addition, we have already built a very large housing stock and there is no point in rebuilding it.

Quote"Mamads appeared because Israel is shot through with missiles in 30 seconds. That is, the room should be available for 20-30 seconds. We have up to 10 minutes upon alert to hide somewhere. People can get to better equipped and more reliable protection systems," the architect explained.

Rosttslav Melnyk, CEO of the RIEL real estate corporation, is also opposed to this idea. He stresses that shelters in apartments are inappropriate and greatly increase the cost per square meter in new buildings.

According to him, in the Ukrainian case, it would be more appropriate to tighten the requirements for shelters in underground facilities, parking lots in new residential complexes.

Quote"This will significantly reduce the number of buyers — simply because the apartment has a bunker. And let's imagine what kind of bunker it should be — in an apartment on the 10th floor, into which a missile will conditionally hit, and it will withstand it. It is much more dangerous when people are sitting in a bunker on the 10th floor during shelling than going down to the basement. And it is impossible to create an apartment in which you can stay during missile attacks — this is self-deception," Melnyk stresses.

In addition, for the construction of "mamad", Israel has adopted special technical characteristics of protective structures at the state level: from the composition of concrete to explosion-proof doors and windows, utility systems (pipes, sockets). The Ukrainian state does not yet have such developments.

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