Russell Brittain, Electrical & Lighting Buyer at Toolstation, the trade and DIY supplier, discusses the Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm Legislation
From 1 October 2015, private sector landlords have been required to install a smoke alarm on every storey of their properties and a carbon monoxide (CO) alarm in any room that contains a solid fuel burning appliance, such as a coal fire or a wood burning stove. The government also issued guidance notes to encourage landlords to install CO alarms in rooms where there are gas appliances as an additional precaution.
With landlords now legally required to install CO and smoke alarms, there remains confusion among the general public about their use. A recent study conducted by Toolstation on the attitudes towards CO and smoke alarms has revealed that 25% of homeowners in Britain are unsure about whether they should fit CO alarms and worryingly 17% don’t think they are necessary at all.
So, almost six months on, it’s worth looking again at some of the ‘ins and outs’ of the legislation and checking you are fully compliant, especially when it comes to any new tenancies you may be securing this year.
For every new tenancy landlords must check that all the required alarms are in working order on the first day of the tenancy – this can be done and recorded as part of the inventory. The guidance from the government says that tenants should be advised to test alarms on a monthly basis for their own safety and get in touch with their landlord if there are any problems.
If you are replacing or installing alarms for new tenancies there are a huge range of smoke and carbon monoxide alarms available, both battery and mains powered. The government leaves it up to landlords to make an informed decision, choosing the best products for their properties and tenants.
Like many products, these alarms have become much more sophisticated over the last few years with all those stocked by Toolstation performing to the required standards. Whilst some also feature smart technology such as thermally enhanced optical technology, LED displays showing both CO levels and room temperature and even wireless interlink technology that can remotely locate, test or silence alarms. Also many of our CO alarms feature self-diagnostic fault and end of life alarms, so landlords and tenants alike can feel secure.
Both smoke and CO alarms have British Standards which are marked at Toolstation with the British Standard logo and all alarms come complete with the manufacturers’ comprehensive installation instructions. Generally, smoke alarms should be fixed to a ceiling in a circulation space like a hall or a landing and carbon monoxide alarms should be positioned at head height on a wall or a shelf, no more than three metres away from the potential source.
One thing to remember – heat detectors are not a substitute for smoke alarms – the Regulations are quite clear on this point, specifying smoke alarms. However, for ultimate peace of mind, landlords can install heat alarms in addition to CO and smoke detectors. The heat sensors react to large flames and so are particularly useful in the kitchen, where over 50% of accidental house fires start.
Toolstation offers a wide range of smoke and CO alarms at very competitive prices. For further information and to see the latest range of smoke and CO alarms, visit your local Toolstation branch or www.toolstation.com