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Scotland to Become First UK Nation of Homeowners to Require Interlinked Smoke Alarms

A new campaign urges homeowners to install interlinked smoke and heat alarms in a new campaign ahead of fire safety laws coming into effect next year. A Ministerial Working Group on Building and Fire Safety initially brought the legislation to the forefront of considerations following London’s 2017 Grenfell Tower tragedy.

The change was originally intended to come into effect earlier this year, however the date was pushed back to February 2022 due to the pandemic. The new law will require all homeowners in Scotland to have interlinked alarms installed, significantly reducing fatalities by alerting everyone within the household of a fire. Private rented and new build homes must already meet these standards, but the law will apply to every home in Scotland from February 2022, regardless of age or tenure.

Homeowners will be responsible for the fixture costs, with The Scottish Government estimating that the average household will spend £220, based on a three-bedroom home which would require three smoke alarms, one heat alarm and one carbon monoxide detector. The government have also pledged to contribute £500,000 towards helping disabled and older people meet the new criteria.

Having the interlinked fire alarms means that when one goes off, they all go off, effectively alerting everyone wherever they are in the house.

The new legislation means that homeowners will need to ensure that:

• there is one smoke alarm in the most frequently used room, such as the living room
• one in every circulation space on each floor, such as hallways and landings
• one heat alarm is in each kitchen

All alarms should be ceiling mounted, and where there are carbon-fuelled appliances such as a boiler, a carbon monoxide detector is also required.

Homeowners can opt to fit their alarms by choosing long-life tamper-proof battery operated alarms. Alternatively, mains wired alarms will require a qualified electrician to install, which will bear an additional cost.

Whether you are already on the property ladder or a first-time buyer seeking your first home, it is essential to be aware that compliance with the new legislation will form part of the home report when a house is brought to the market.