Regulations for Smoke alarms change to ensure greater protection

Following a recent government consultation, the regulations for Smoke and Carbon Monoxide alarms in England are set to expand for both privately and socially rented homes. The amendments will seek to increase resident safety and bring more consistency to regulations between the rental sectors.

The consultation proposed to amend the Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015 and Approved Document J, with the aim of extending the existing private rented legislation to socially rented properties; it also considered the important question of whether the existing legislation was sufficient.

The amendments will improve fire safety within social housing, with landlords being required to install at least one Smoke alarm on each storey of their properties.

There are several amendments to the requirements for Carbon Monoxide alarms to bring greater protection to residents. The first requires all private and social landlords to install a Carbon Monoxide alarm in any room of a property that has a fixed combustion appliance, such as boilers, warm air heaters, fires and water heaters (excluding gas cookers). In addition, it will be a legal obligation for landlords to install a Carbon Monoxide alarm in any home when a new fixed combustion appliance is fitted (excluding gas cookers). Although gas cookers are exempt from the proposed legislation changes, it is still recommended within the British Standards that these appliances are also covered.

By law, all landlords will also be required to repair or replace alarms once notified of a fault, however regular alarm testing will remain the residents’ responsibility.

The consultation also suggests that more information should be provided on the siting of alarms and that the guidance will signpost towards the relevant British Standards for installation. Any alarms used should be 3rd party certified to the relevant British Standards – BS EN 14604 for Smoke alarms and BS EN 50291 for Carbon Monoxide alarms.

National Technical Manager for Aico, Andy Speake, says of the consultation “At Aico, we strive to promote best practice and deliver safer homes, so it’s great to see the proposed amendments to the Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015 and Approved Document J, be so well received. The recommendations are welcomed by all of us working in the industry, and the expansion of the regulations will certainly bring greater levels of protection to residents of rented homes across England.”

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