News

Proposed delay to fire alarm regulations

Published: 20 Oct 2020 20:46

Change to implementation due to coronavirus impact.

The Scottish Government will ask parliament to delay new regulations on smoke and carbon monoxide alarms by 12 months due to the impact of coronavirus (COVID-19)

Legislation due to come into effect in February 2021 meant the standard which currently applies to private rented property and new-builds would have been extended to all homes in Scotland.

Due to the practical difficulties likely to be faced by homeowners seeking to make the necessary changes to their homes, the Scottish Government will now seek to move implementation back to February 2022.

Kevin Stewart, Minister for Local Government and Housing, said:

“Fire safety is an absolute priority for the Scottish Government, and we remain committed to implementing these improved regulations, which will mean everyone will benefit from the same level of protection, whether they own their home or rent from a social or private landlord.

“Given the impact of COVID-19, and the difficulties this is likely to create for people seeking to install new smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, we have listened to concerns and decided to ask the Scottish Parliament to delay implementation.

“If this delay is approved, we will continue to work with partners to spread awareness of the changes before the new deadline. Our focus will be on supporting householders to ensure satisfactory fire alarms are installed so we can improve the safety of their homes.”

Background:

The legal duty on complying with the legislation will rest with local authorities and not with individual householders.

The improved standards will mean every home in Scotland must have a smoke alarm fitted in the living room or lounge, and in circulation spaces such as hallways and landings. The changes also mean every kitchen must have a heat alarm, and the alarms will have to be interlinked so they can be heard throughout the property. There must also be a carbon monoxide alarm where there are fixed combustion appliances. 

Homeowners can install tamper proof long-life lithium battery alarms themselves. Mains-wired alarms are also available and are generally cheaper than the tamper proof long-life battery alarms but should be installed by a qualified electrician. Both types of alarm are widely available in general hardware outlets and online.

The Scottish Government has made more than £15 million of loan funding available for Social Landlords ensuring that social tenants are safe in their homes, and provided funding of £870,000 each year for two years to the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service to support their Home Safety Visits to ensure vulnerable and high risk people can get the necessary alarms installed at no cost to them so that they are safe in their homes.