Homeowners in Scotland may need to upgrade their current fire alarm system before a new law comes into effect next year.
In the wake of the Grenfell Tower fire disaster, the Scottish Government established a requirement to review Scotland’s existing fire and smoke alarm regulations for all household properties.
Following the prioritized review, it was proposed the law would change in February 2022 for all homeowners and landlords in Scotland will include. Covid-19 has resulted in this change being delayed for logistical reasons. The Scottish Government did plan to implement this in February 2021 but the pandemic pushed back the change in legislation.
Smoke alarm requirements
• One smoke alarm installed in the room most frequently used
• One smoke alarm in every circulation space
Heat Alarm requirements
• One heat detector installed in every kitchen
In line with the new regulations, at least one smoke alarm should be fitted in the following spaces:-
• Living room/main living space
• Loft conversion
These conditions relate to all residential and domestic properties in Scotland, including social housing and private rented properties.
All alarms should be ceiling mounted and interlinked so that the alarms can be heard throughout the property. Carbon monoxide (CO) detectors are also required in all areas where carbon fuelled appliances are installed, such as boilers, heaters and stoves. Always make sure any CO detectors are powered by a long-life battery and it complies with BS EN 50291. It’s equally as important to make sure your CO alarm is regularly tested, maintained and in full working order.
Alarms should either be mains wired by an electrician or powered by a long-life lithium battery. Mains wired alarms will generally be less expensive to install, however, the additional cost of fitting the alarm by a qualified electrician should be considered. Further detailed information on the requirements of the standard, including types of alarms, is set out in the Tolerable Standard Guidance Chapters 16 and 17.
If you currently have these alarms fitted in your property but they are not yet interlinked, per the requirements you should have these interlinked by the time the regulations come into force in February 2022.
Any associated costs for upgrading your smoke alarms is the homeowner’s responsibility and the Government have estimated the cost to be in the region of £200 per household, depending on the existing alarm system.
If you are a tenant living in a private rented property, these requirements are already in place for rented properties in Scotland so your landlord should already be complying with the standard. Any cost to upgrade the alarm system is the responsibility of your landlord.
Fire claims in residential properties can be devastating and very costly to repair, so it’s vitally important that you regularly check that your smoke and fire alarms are in full working order. If you have advised your insurance provider that you have functional fire alarms in your property, but it’s later discovered following a fire that they were not working, your insurer could decide not to pay the claim, leaving you with a hefty bill to pay.
Ensure you're ready by visiting myscot.gov for further information, including the types of alarms you'll need and how to find an approved tradesperson near you. Or have any further questions on how these changes may affect your insurance, please get in touch with us here and we would be delighted to assist.