The Team

Your home now needs interlinked smoke alarms
Your home now needs interlinked smoke alarms

New legislation promulgated in 2019 following the Grenfield Tower fire has now come into effect. From 1st February 2022, every home in Scotland needs to be fitted with interlinked smoke alarms. The introduction of this legislation was delayed due to the restrictions imposed during the coronavirus pandemic.

The legislation aims to ensure that every home is protected. It applies to home owners and to private landlords. That means tenants living in private rented accommodation should make sure their landlords install the interlinked smoke alarms.

How many alarms does a house now need?

That depends mainly on home many floors, halls, kitchens and frequently used living areas you have.

Essentially, the main living room used by the family every day needs to have a smoke alarm fitted. You will need a smoke alarm in the hall and if you have a two storey (or more) house, you will need a smoke alarm in the hall or landing on each floor.

A heat alarm needs to be installed in the kitchen.

The smoke and heat alarms must be interlinked. That means if one goes off, they all go off! This is to ensure that if you are in, say, the kitchen and there is a fire in the living room, the alarm sounding in the kitchen will alert you to there being a fire elsewhere in the house.

In addition to the smoke and heat alarms, a carbon monoxide detector must be fitted where there is a carbon burning appliance. That means in the room where your boiler is located or on any room where there is an open (or closed) fire. The carbon monoxide detector does not need to be linked to the smoke and heat alarms.

What if there are already have alarms installed in my house?

You will need to check if they are interlinked smoke alarms. If they are not, you need to replace them with the interlinked type.

The new type of smoke and heat alarms, if battery operated, need to be sealed units. That means you cannot replace the batteries and when the batteries expire, you need to replace the whole unit. Fortunately, these types of alarms have a lifespan of 10 years.

It is also important to check that you have the right standard of smoke alarm. There are specific standards specified in the legislation. They are:

  • Heat alarms – BS 5446-2:2003
  • Smoke alarms – BS EN14604:2005
  • Carbon monoxide detector: British Kitemark EN50291-1

Instead of battery operated alarms, you might opt for mains powered alarms. If you do take that option, please ensure that you employ a suitably qualitied installer.

Are there any penalties for failing to install these alarms?

It is not a criminal offence if you do not install these alarms. Local authorities throughout Scotland are responsible to policing this legislation. They will not, however, enter your home or issue fines to householders or tenants.

However, if you decide to sell your house, the lack of interlinked smoke alarms will be noted on the Home Report. Also, whilst insurers have indicated that they will not cancel cover if you do not install these alarms, you must check your renewal notice for indication of these requirements.

What about financial help for the installation?

A limited amount of financial assistance is available through Care and Repair Scotland. The Scottish Government has recently provided an additional £500,000 to help vulnerable older and disabled people with the installation costs.

To quality, you must own and live in your own home. The house must be in Council Tax Bands A – C. In addition, you must be of state pension age and in receipt of Guaranteed Pension Credit. Otherwise, you must have a disability and be in a support group for Employment and Support Allowance.

Is there more information about interlinked smoke alarms anywhere?
You can find out more information on interlined smoke alarms on the Scottish Government website by clicking here.