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Smoke alarm legislation UK: Do you know about the changes?

Following the tragic Grenfell Tower fire in 2017, the Scottish Government reviewed building and fire safety regulations. This review resulted in new legislation ensuring all homes offer the same protection, whether owned or rented.

From February 2022, every home in Scotland must comply with new fire alarm laws. If you haven't already upgraded your fire alarm system, don't leave it too late. Here's how the new rules will affect you as a property owner.

What does this new smoke alarm legislation mean?

All Scottish homes will need to have ceiling-mounted alarms that are interlinked. This means if an alarm is triggered in one room, it communicates with other alarms in the house, alerting everybody to a fire regardless of which room they're in.

To comply with this new fire alarm legislation, you'll need to install alarms throughout the home as follows:

  • one smoke alarm in the living room or the room you use most
  • one smoke alarm in every hallway or landing
  • one heat alarm in the kitchen.

If you have a carbon-fuelled appliance – such as a boiler, fire, heater, or flue, you'll also need to have a carbon monoxide detector in the same room. This will not need to be linked to the fire alarms.

What types of alarms are suitable?

Although there isn't an approved list of suppliers or fitters, there are two types of interlinked fire alarms that meet the new rules:

  • Sealed battery alarms that you can install yourself. They should be tamper-proof and contain long-life (ten years) batteries.
  • Mains-wired alarms are cheaper than sealed battery alarms, but they need to be installed by a qualified electrician. You'll need to replace these every 10 years.

If your carbon monoxide detector is battery operated, it must have a sealed battery for the duration of its lifespan, which can be up to 10 years.

You need to check that each alarm complies with the following standards:

  • smoke alarms BS EN14604:2005
  • heat alarms BS 5446-2:2003
  • carbon monoxide detector British Kitemark EN 50291-1

How much will it cost?

The cost of a sealed battery system for an average two-storey house is expected to be in the region of £220, and because you can install them yourself, you'll avoid having to pay electrician fitting costs.

Who's responsible?

It's the responsibility of homeowners and landlords to comply with these new smoke alarm laws – as with other housing standards. This includes arranging and paying for the alarm system to be installed in the property, along with any ongoing maintenance. However, financial support is available if you can't afford to buy a new interlinked alarm system.1

Smoke alarm legislation for landlords

If you're a landlord, you may be able to access financial support from the Scottish Government's £15m government loan funding. The standard will be monitored by the Scottish Housing Regulator, which may intervene as they deem appropriate for any non-compliance.1

How will these rules affect home insurance?

Home insurance policies have different terms and conditions that you must comply with for your home insurance to be valid. If you are not sure how the new smoke alarm legislation requirements affect your policy, please get in touch with your home insurer, or if you would like advice from a local Insurance Broker, please get in touch with Marsh Commercial here.  

 

Sources: 
1. https://www.gov.scot/publications/fire-and-smoke-alarms-in-scottish-homes/

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