16th February 2022

Ring the Alarm: A change to Fire Alarm Regulations in Scotland

As you may or may not be aware as of the 1st February 2022 there is a new law in Scotland that requires every household to have an interlinked smoke alarm system. The legislation has come about following the Grenfell disaster in 2019 but due to the pandemic enforcement was delayed until now.

Under the new legislation it is now a legal requirement that every home must have the following;

  • a smoke alarm installed in the room that is used the most during the day (most likely a living-room)
  • one smoke alarm in each circulation space (hall/hall-way or landings) on each storey of the home
  • one heat alarm installed in every kitchen

It is essential that these alarms be ceiling mounted and interlinked. There are two main ways in which alarms can be interlinked which met the new regulatory standard:

  • Option 1 is either hardwired, with wires physically connecting each alarm. These need to be installed by a qualified electrician. You may also require a building warrant if you live in a house or block of flats more than two storeys high. We would recommend that you contact your Local Authority as they should be able to confirm whether you need to obtain a building warrant for your property. We would also advise that if your property is a listed building you should confirm with your Local Authority if listed building consent is needed before you install a mains-wired alarm system.

or

  • Option 2 would be to have the alarm system interlinked wirelessly with radio frequency (RF) technology. The alarms do not require any wires but need be tamper-proof with a long-life lithium battery. Therefore, the whole unit will need to replaced when the battery dies.

Additionally, if you have a carbon-fuelled boiler, fire, including an open fire, heater or a flue then a carbon monoxide is also needed. However, there is no requirement for carbon monoxide alarms to be interlinked to the fire alarm system.

It is important to note that it will be the responsibility of the property owners to pay for and install the alarms. It is reported that for an average three-bedroom house, which requires three smoke alarms, one heat alarm and one carbon monoxide detector the cost will be approximately £220.

Whilst, it has been confirmed by the Scottish government that property owners will not be prosecuted for failure to comply with the new rules, you may find that when you decide to sell your home you will need to be able to show that your fire alarm system meets the standard as compliance checks will now form part of any Home Report when you come to sell your home. If your property does not meet the standards under the legislation any prospective purchasers could try to reflect this in any price offered for your property. Nevertheless, it is unknown if your property fails to have a compliant system if this will have any effect on buyers as the rules have only just come in to force.

Even if you are not looking to sell to your home these new rules could also affect you as it may invalidate your home insurance depending on the specific wording of your policy or it could also affect any financing options as lenders could require confirmation your property is compliant within their mortgage conditions.

Don’t be alarmed, if you have any questions or concerns about the new relegations and how they may affect you or your property then please get in touch with our Residential Conveyancing Department working in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Dundee, Perth or Aberdeen.

Ashleigh Urwin, Associate Solicitor
Residential Property
Blackadders LLP
@Lawyer_Ashleigh

www.blackadders.co.uk

 

 

The opinions expressed in this blog are of the author only and do not necessarily represent the opinions of Blackadders LLP.

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