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New standards for fire and smoke alarms announced

The Scottish Government has announced the new standards for fire and smoke alarms, which housing associations have until February 2021 to comply with.

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The new standards require that there is one smoke alarm installed in the room most frequently used for general daytime living purposes, one alarm in every circulation space on each storey, such as hallway and landings and a heat alarm installed in every kitchen.

All the alarms should be ceiling mounted and interlinked, and there is also a requirement for carbon monoxide detectors to be fitted where there is a carbon-fuelled appliance (such as boilers, fires (including open fires), heaters and stoves) or a flue.

In a shared property such as a tenement or block of flats there is no requirement for different properties to be linked to each other.

All homes, regardless of tenure, will be covered by the new standard, and it will be the property owner or landlord’s responsibility to meet the new standard. The standards will be monitored by the Scottish Housing Regulator, who may intervene as they deem appropriate for any non-compliance.

In its guidance, the government is estimating it will cost around £200 per average home, however an interest-free loan fund for housing associations and RSLs is in development.

The standards follow the Grenfell Tower fire in London, after which the government set up a Ministerial Working Group on Building and Fire Safety to review Scotland’s building and fire safety regulatory frameworks. As part of its work, the group agreed that a consultation on fire and smoke alarms, originally planned for later this year, should be prioritised.

Further information on the requirements of the new standard, and how to meet it, is available in the Tolerable Standard Guidance.