Fire alarms are a necessity in every business and home. However, due to the extremely high number of fires that have occurred in recent years, fire alarm regulations in the UK have become increasingly strict.
Fire detectors include devices such as heat detectors, smoke detectors, and carbon monoxide detectors. The fire alarm regulations on smoke alarms in homes in the UK vary depending on where you live.
If you are unsure about the type of fire alarm that is required or how to install one properly, we can help! In this post, we’ll be taking a look at various UK Fire Alarm Regulations as well as what it takes to get a fire alarm installed in your home or business.
Fire Safety Statistics
Also, whether it’s a rented property or your own. In England, Wales and Scotland, it’s a legal requirement to have at least one smoke alarm installed on every storey of your property. Each year there are 152,608 fires that occur in the UK. Most of these fires are caused by cooking accidents, faulty appliances or leaving smoking materials unattended. In addition to the 152,608 fires, there are 229,844 false alarms where the fire brigade is called out and fire is not present. We are now making progress to install reliable fire alarms that sound soon enough for the homeowner to extinguish the fire if necessary. As soon as the fire becomes uncontrollable it is necessary to call the fire brigade and evacuate the building immediately.
The Cost Of UK Fire Alarms
The cost for a two-storey house looking to install battery-powered interlinked smoke alarms is around £220. This would include two smoke detectors and a heat detector. In addition, if you require a tradesperson to do the work, there will be an additional charge for installation. To kit out a 3 storey house it will cost you £240. This will include three smoke detectors and a heat detector. Any carbon monoxide alarms required will cost £20-£30.
When buying your alarms, please ensure they meet the following standards:
- Smoke alarms: BS EN14604:2005
- Heat alarms: BS 5446-2:2003
- Carbon monoxide detectors: British Kitemark EN 50291-1
Additionally, if you’re a landlord or a tenant in the UK, it is important to know what fire alarm regulations apply. There are two types of smoke alarms that can be installed:
- The Smoke Alarm (England) Regulations 2015.
- The Smoke Alarm (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2022.
- Under The Renting Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) (Wales) Regulations 2022.
Home Insurance Policies
If you are worried about how the new legislation might affect your home insurance policy, contact your insurer directly. Your policy should be up to date and in good standing. Additionally, you should also check that your smoke alarms are in working order every year, preferably using a test button on the device. If you do not have a working smoke alarm, or if the batteries are low, you should replace them immediately.
If you need any help with this or any other home maintenance issue, please get in touch with one of our friendly team members.
Fire Alarm Regulations, The UK
In England and Wales, it is a legal requirement outlined in our fire alarm regulations to have at least one smoke alarm installed on every storey of your property. This is also applicable to the fire alarm regulations in Scotland. However, authorities there recommend that you install more than a single smoke detector device.
England Fire Alarm Regulations
In England, you are required to install a smoke alarm on every storey of the premises. Firstly, living accommodation is classed as a room that is used for the primary purposes of living or a room in which a person spends a significant proportion of their time.
Rules Of The Fire Alarm Regulations In England
The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (Amendment) Regulations 2022 will come into force on 1st October 2022. This legislation forces landlords to:
- Install a smoke detector in rooms used wholly or partly as living accommodation.
- Install a carbon monoxide alarm where any solid fuel-burning appliance exists.
- Ensure smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms are repaired and/or replaced once they become faulty.
Failure To Comply
If any of the above is not adhered to then a £5,000 fine can be imposed on the landlord.
The regulations do NOT stipulate between hard-wired or battery-powered CO, smoke or heat alarms.
- Smoke alarms must be compliant with BS 5839-6 standards.
- CO alarms must be compliant with BS 50291 standards.
- Landlords are responsible for repairs and ensuring installation.
The new fire alarm regulations in England must be adhered to by homeowners, businesses and commercial premises.
The UK Government have reported that around 4,000 people are hospitalised each year through CO poisoning. Of these 4,000 people hospitalised, 20 people will die from carbon monoxide poisoning each year.
Following this report, the government have stated that the deadline for installation of a CO alarm is the 15th July 2023.
Which Tenancies Are Exempt From These Regulations?
The following tenancies are excluded from the regulations:
- shared accommodation with a landlord or landlord’s family
- long leases
- student halls of residence
- hotels and refuges
- care homes
- hospitals and hospices
- low-cost ownership homes
- other accommodation relating to health care provision
Scotland Fire Alarm Regulations
The fire alarm regulations in Scotland changed as of the 1st of February 2022. In addition, the most significant change is that every home in Scotland is now required to have interlinked fire alarms. An interlinked system means that if one alarm goes off, then they all will sound. Also, an interlinked system is a safer system because it ensures that the alarm will be heard all over the house/apartment.
Rules of the fire alarm regulations in Scotland
Every home in Scotland is now required to have:
- 1 smoke alarm in the room you spend most of the day in e.g. living room
- 1 smoke alarm in every circulation space on each storey e.g. landing
- 1 heat alarm in the kitchen
- 1 carbon monoxide alarm in any room where you have a carbon-fuelled appliance
Both of the types of alarms mentioned above can be interlinked by radio frequency and do not need wifi. However, if the carbon monoxide alarm is battery-operated, it must have a sealed battery for the duration of its lifespan. This can be up to 10 years.
All the smoke and heat alarms should be mounted on the ceiling and interlinked. You should check the manufacturer’s guidance on each alarm. These instructions will demonstrate where the alarm should be placed.
Sealed battery alarms: These should be tamper-proof long-life (can be up to 10 years) batteries. You are able to fit these alarms yourself.
Mains-wired alarms: These alarms are cheaper than the tamper-proof long-life battery alarms but need to be installed by a qualified electrician. These require replacement every 10 years.
1st of February 2022.
Wales Fire Alarm Regulations
The new smoke alarm regulations in Wales mean that all rented properties must have a minimum of the following.
Rules Of The Fire Alarm Regulations In Wales
- At least one hard-wired smoke alarm powered by the mains on each level of the home.
- All hard-wired alarms are required to be interlinked.
- Interlinking can be via a wireless radio-linking system or through a wired interlinking system.
- A carbon monoxide alarm in any room with a fuel-burning appliance such as gas, oil or solid fuel.
- A heat alarm in the kitchen.
There is a deadline by which landlords will have to comply with these new fire alarm regulations. The date for compliance is the 15th July 2022.
IF a landlord has a tenancy currently in place then they may have an extension on smoke alarm installation until the 15th July 2023. This doesn’t affect the CO alarm deadline, this remains as the 15th July 2022.
The UK Fire Alarm Regulations are there to protect people and their property from fire. It’s important that you understand your obligations under these regulations so that you can comply with them and keep your premises safe. Failure to do so could result in a fine or even prison time for those found guilty of breaking the law.
As you can see, there are a number of different types of fire alarms available. Each type has its own benefits and disadvantages, so it’s important to make sure you choose the one that is right for your home as well as one that complies with the regulations. The most important thing is to ensure that you have a fire alarm on your property. The new fire alarm regulations mean that landlords will be required to provide them, but it’s also a good idea for homeowners not in rented properties to purchase their own alarms and install them in their homes. This way, you will know that your family is safe at all times.
What Is A Smoke Alarm?
A smoke detector is a device that senses the presence of smoke, typically used to detect fires. Smoke detectors are most commonly housed in plastic enclosures, which may be round or rectangular and vary in size. They are designed to be mounted high up on a ceiling or wall and 300mm away from light fittings or other obstructions. Smoke detectors can be powered by either mains or batteries and often the battery-powered devices will last up to 10 years.
Smoke detectors in large commercial and industrial buildings are usually connected to a central fire alarm system. This system can be set up to notify building occupants that there is a fire and to evacuate the building. In the typical UK home, you will find smoke detectors, co detectors and heat detectors. These devices are all part of a building’s fire safety system and in businesses, they will be monitored by a central station.
Household smoke alarms can make either audible or visual alarms. If your home has multiple interconnected detectors, which is the best option, they’ll all sound off if just one detects smoke.
Optical Smoke Alarms
Optical smoke alarms, also known as photoelectric detectors are less likely than ionisation models to produce false alarms. In addition, optical smoke alarms are quicker than ionisation models to detect slow-smouldering fires that produce a lot of smoke. An optical smoke alarm has a really high sensitivity to large particles in the air.
The optical sensing chamber is set up to detect and ‘see’ smoke that’s present. They do this by observing the way infrared light scatters when met with large particle blocks of smoke.
Ionization Smoke Alarms
Ionization-type smoke alarms have radioactive material between two electrically charged plates, which ionizes the air and causes a current to flow. When smoke enters the chamber, it causes ions to flow less easily, which in turn reduces current and activates the alarm.
What Is A Heat Alarm?
Heat alarms are used to detect the presence of excessive heat on a property, which could indicate a fire. They can be used in commercial or domestic premises and work by detecting the change in temperature that occurs when smoke enters the air. A heat alarm will often set off when temperatures of 57°C are exceeded. Heat alarms are designed to be used in conjunction with smoke alarms. They can be used on their own but will only pick up on the presence of excessive heat, not smoke.
What Is A CO Alarm?
A carbon monoxide detector or CO detector is a device that detects the presence of carbon monoxide gas to prevent poisoning. In homes, carbon monoxide alarms can be set off by any fuel-burning appliances such as gas cookers or boilers. Small traces of CO are given off by all of these appliances, but levels rise slightly when adequate ventilation isn’t provided, or the venting is blocked.
A carbon monoxide detector is essential if you have a carbon-fuelled appliance, though this does not need to be linked fire alarms. Note that gas cookers and hobs do not require a carbon monoxide detector to be installed.
Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colourless, odourless, tasteless gas that is produced by burning carbon-based fuels such as oil and coal. Even a small amount of poison can produce headaches and flu-like symptoms, but more concentrated doses can cause fainting or even death.