Smoke Detection – Updated Regulations

From 1 March 2019 landlords will be permitted to install either mains-operated alarms or tamper proof long-life lithium battery alarms.

Landlords whom already have mains powered alarms installed can leave these in place until the end of the manufacturers recommended lifespan and thereafter, these can be replaced with battery or mains powered units.

Mains-operated alarms (with battery backup) are permitted and tamper proof/sealed/long life lithium battery alarms (not PP3 type or user-replaceable) are also permitted. The expiry date should be visible on each alarm.

Smoke alarms should conform to BS EN 14604.
Heat alarms should conform to BS 5446-2
Multi-sensor alarms should confirm to BS EN 54-29 or BS EN 14604

Alarms should be interlinked via wires (hardwired) or wirelessly (by radio communication). Where adding to an existing hardwired system, care should be taken to ensure that all alarms are interlinked, with all alarms sounding when any one device is activated.

Alarmingly, there were 5,310 reported fires in properties during 2017/2018 in Scotland, which resulted in 44 deaths and 1,113 injuries.

According to national fire statistics dwelling fires in which smoke alarms raise the alarm continue to:

1. Be discovered more rapidly (less than 5 minutes) after ignition: and
2. Are associated with lower fatal casualty rates

Private rented properties in Scotland must comply with the “Repairing Standard” as per the Housing (Scotland) Act 2006. To comply with the Repairing Standard, regard must be given to the most up to date Building Regulations available.

To comply with the repairing standard there should be at least:

• One functioning smoke alarm in the room which is frequently used by the occupants for general daytime living purposes (normally the living room or lounge)
• One functioning smoke alarm in every circulation space on each storey, such as hallways and landings, or in main room if no landing in upper storey
• One heat alarm in every kitchen
• All alarms should be ceiling mounted, and
• All alarms should be interlinked

The fitting of a mains-operated smoke/hear alarm system may require a building warrant and landlords should consult the Building Standards department of the local authority for details, this is also the cause should the property be a house in multiple occupation (HMO), where more stringent standard of provision for detecting and giving warning of fire is required.

Landlords may be able to offer a lesser level of protection if they are able to justify why this might be appropriate in a particular home. Reasons could include:

1. Where the proximity of an open fireplace would make a smoke detector impracticable, a heat detector may be fitted
2. Where the layout and design of the house means that one detector can combine the protection required by individual detectors in different areas, such as a kitchen/diner or open plan layout, or in small flats where the living room and hall can be covered by one smoke alarm
3. Where the landlord intends to install detectors within a reasonable timescale as part of a programme of upgrading the property.

Landlords should ensure that smoke and heat alarms are regularly maintained in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations.

February 22, 2019