Electrical Contracting News (ECN) May 2016 - Page 48

SPECIAL FEATURE FIRE DETECTION & SECURITY UNRAVELLING THE REGS Rex Taylor of Kidde Safety makes sense of the latest – sometimes complicated and contradictory – requirements for smoke and carbon monoxide alarms in housing, with some fresh opportunities for installers. W ith occupants at least four times more likely to die in a house fire where there is no working smoke alarm, new measures aim to help prevent up to 26 deaths and 670 injuries a year. The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015 apply to all private rented premises in England occupied on or after 1st October last year. In essence, the new Regulations call for a smoke alarm on each floor where there is accommodation and a carbon monoxide alarm in any habitable room with a solid fuel appliance. The landlord, managing agent or other representative must check that alarms work at the start of each tenancy and replace any that do not, highlighting the need for long term reliability. Code of practice The new Regulations do not specify the type, location or power source of smoke alarms. However, these aspects are covered in the Code of Practice BS58396:2013. British Standards take the form of guidance and recommendations, and are not in themselves mandatory, although they are used as a benchmark in housing standards, legal or insurance claims and other situations. The latest, 2013 edition of BS5839, Part 6 – Code of practice for the design, installation, commissioning and maintenance of fire detection and fire alarm systems in domestic premises – covers both new and existing homes, whether for single families or HMOs consisting of self-contained units. It lists the minimum Categories – effectively, in which areas smoke/heat alarms are required – recommended for different types of housing. For most existing, as well as new houses up to three storeys and individual flats, the Code recommends Category LD2, which means smoke alarms in any areas where fires might start, such as living rooms, heat alarms in all kitchens and smoke alarms in all escape routes. In contrast, the 2015 rental Regulations generally match Category LD3 with smoke alarms in escape routes only. This is similar to Building Regulations Approved Document B, although that does call for 48 48-50 FD&S – Kidde.indd 48 11/04/2016 14:32