Fire and smoke alarms: changes to the law
Changes to current legislation
Every home in Scotland must have interlinked fire alarms by February 2022. Interlinked means if one goes off, they all go off, so you will always hear an alarm wherever you are in your home. The new law has come about because of the Grenfell fire in London in 2017, and it applies to all Scottish homes. It is the property owner's responsibility for meeting the new standard.
What this means for homeowners?
By February 2022 every home must have:
- 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
These can be hardwired and installed by a trained electrician, or a have sealed battery unit which can be installed yourself. To be compliant with the new legislation, alarms must comply with the following British Standards:
- smoke alarms: BS EN14604:2005
- heat alarms: BS 5446-2:2003
- carbon monoxide detector: British Kitemark EN 50291-1
What this means for tenants?
It is the responsibility of your landlord to ensure your property meets this standard. This includes private landlords, housing associations and, in the case of council owned properties, Perth and Kinross Council. If you have any concerns as to the current provision of detection in your home we would recommend raising this matter with your landlord.
Financial help may be available to older and disabled homeowners on low income to assist with the cost of installing any new system through local care and repair schemes. In Perth and Kinross, the care and repair scheme is administered by Caledonia Housing Association who can be contacted via telephone on 0800 678 1228 or via e-mail at email@example.com.
If you are unsure about the alarms you already have, or would like to have extra support in ensuring the safety of your home against fire, a can be requested from Scottish Fire and Rescue Service by calling 0800 0731999 or text "FIRE" to 80800.
Do I need a building warrant?
The tolerable standards allow for sealed battery or hard-wired detectors to be installed, providing they are interlinked. Detectors can be linked by radio technology or via a wired connection. If you chose to install a hard wired system, you may be required to obtain a building warrant prior to installation in certain properties.
If your property is a flat, including maisonettes and flats with their own independent entrance, you need a building warrant to carry out electrical works to your property, including installing hard-wired mains powered detectors. If you live in a house where the floor level of the top most storey is more than 4.5m from the adjacent ground level, which in most cases consists of 3 or more storeys, you will also require a building warrant prior to carrying out any works.
For information on how to apply for a building warrant, view our applying for a building warrant page.
Who can assist in installing smoke and heat detectors within my property?
As noted previously, it is the property owner's responsibility to ensure compliance with the new tolerable standards. If you are unable to install these yourself, we would recommend contacting an electrician to carry out the installation on your behalf. There are a number of trade bodies available which will allow you to search for a competent electrician in your area such as NICEIC, SELECT and NAPIT.
We would always recommend that where a hard-wired system is preferred, that the installation is carried out by a person who possesses technical knowledge, relevant practical skills, and experience for the nature of the electrical work undertaken. Although in some cases no building warrant is required to carry out the works, there is still a requirement that works must meet the standards. If you wish for an electrician to evidence compliance with the standards you can request an installation certificate for the alarm system - this certificate should refer to BS 5839 Part 6. We would recommend making the installer aware of this request prior to carrying out the works to ensure they are able to provide such.