New fire alarm regs (Scotland)

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New fire alarm regs (Scotland)

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I briefly mentioned about ordering fire alarms yesterday in the "what did you do with your Panda today" thread. I was actually heaping praise on Mick and the S4p folk for the great service they'd given regarding a part for my boy's Punto and mentioned the fire alarms in passing. This morning 2 neighbours have mentioned how difficult they are finding it to get these alarms and I know the lady at the end of our road is having to wait for at least a month before a tradesman can come to do her installation (I think she's gone for hard wired) There'd been very little publicity informing us, the general public, of the need to get these alarms, although you can read about it on the Scottish Gov website: https://www.mygov.scot/home-fire-safety#:~:text=The law in Scotland has,somewhere else in the house. When the legislation came into effect (Feb of this year) there was a brief burst of exposure in the press and on the TV which quickly faded from sight under the weight of the recent horrific events in Ukraine - Dear God, or whoever, can't we put a stop to this insanity? I'm not ashamed to say I've actually been in tears watching some of the TV footage.

Back to the alarms, a lot of people, like me, either hadn't done anything about it or didn't even know about it. For instance, we recently had new smart meters installed for our gas and electricity. I mentioned about the alarms in conversation with the installing engineer and he thought I was pulling his leg, he had never heard of it! I did an online search but supplies were short with suppliers inviting you to pay now to reserve against future delivery, mostly quoting mid to end of March. Then I tried local electrical factors and hardware stores. Some had limited stock of some items, all seemed to be waiting new deliveries but, more importantly to me, the prices were pretty steep. By now we are past the date for compliance so, technically, I'm now breaking the law. The Scottish gov have said they won't be taking enforcement action for a while but I'm worried my home insurance will be invalidated if I were to make a claim so I thought I'd try ebay, although I was a bit worried about quality and compliance of product going this route. Almost immediately I saw the smoke alarms on sale and at a good price too. When I clicked through to the seller it turned out to be a fairly local Scottish company in Cumbernauld so I emailed them with my specific requirements and a few worries I had concerning how difficult it is pairing the alarms. As supplied the alarms aren't radio linked, you have to synchronize them by pressing buttons and watching flashing lights before fitting. I got a very informative email back almost immediately which settled most of my worries but I then emailed him again about something I hadn't thought of and got another very nice email back very quickly. Very nice people to deal with.

I already have a smoke alarm on my upstairs landing and a Co alarm near the gas boiler. I also was just about to fit another smoke alarm downstairs when they brought out the new legislation, so it's still in it's box:

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Maybe I'll try selling the unboxed new one on Gumtree? Don't think there'll be many takers though as it doesn't comply with the new regs.

With that second email was included the info that a delivery had just been received that day So if I ordered soon stock was available to supply immediately. As the Co alarms don't have to be radio linked I decided I'll just keep the one by my boiler (it's a 10 year jobbie which is only about 3 years into it's life time) so I ordered another stand alone Co alarm for the livingroom gas fire and 4 smoke alarms for Living room, hall, upstairs landing and garage (as the garage is built into the bottom of the house) and a heat alarm for the kitchen - think that's got it covered! Ordered about midday on the Thursday arrived midday post on the Saturday - I thought that was very good. Here's the "haul":

P1100233.JPG


4 smoke alarms on the left, then the heat alarm (which looks like the smoke alarms) and, on the right, the stand alone Co alarm. all in at £179.95 Vat inc and free shipping. I'm very pleased with the price, the quality of goods received, the speed of delivery and the service given by supplier so I think they deserve a mention here in case anyone else needs someone they can buy from with confidence. They are Alert 4 Less: https://www.alert4less.com/

Hope I'm not breaking any forum rules by making this recommendation? Moderators please feel free to immediately remove this post and give me a rap on the knuckles if I'm out of order. Just thought this might be helpful for any other Scots (or anyone needing this sort of kit) who are struggling to get it. Now all I've got to do is get them synched up and secured to my ceilings in appropriate places.
 
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Informative as ever Jock (y)

Its not anything Ive seen.. but doesnt directly effect me ( yet..at least)

As we have conversed over the years.. batteries dropping in performance is the biggest issue..

No end of news reports mention incidents with non.working smoke alarms

Maybe 'going greener' will lessen the need for CO detectors though

Charlie
 

chris3234

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Wow seems rather over the top


What you need to do​

Every home must now have:

  • 1 smoke alarm in the room you spend most of the day, usually your living room
  • 1 smoke alarm in every circulation space on each storey, such as hallways and landings
  • 1 heat alarm in the kitchen
All smoke and heat alarms should be mounted on the ceiling and be interlinked. Check the manufacturers guidance on each alarm for instructions on where the alarm should be placed.

If you have a carbon-fuelled appliance, like a boiler, fire, non-electric heater or flue you must also have a carbon monoxide detector. This does not need to be linked to the fire alarms. Gas cookers and hobs do not need a carbon monoxide detector.
 
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Pugglt Auld Jock
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Informative as ever Jock (y)

Its not anything Ive seen.. but doesnt directly effect me ( yet..at least)

As we have conversed over the years.. batteries dropping in performance is the biggest issue..

No end of news reports mention incidents with non.working smoke alarms

Maybe 'going greener' will lessen the need for CO detectors though

Charlie
To quote you Charlie - "It's not anything I've seen" - You and many others up here in Scotland it would seem!

Interestingly, perhaps? both my boys had to include installing these provisions throughout their properties, including the parts already built, as part of the building permission when they applied for permissions to build the extensions to their houses. Not a great expense in the grand order of things but it was another unexpected expense.
 
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Pugglt Auld Jock
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Wow seems rather over the top
Exactly the reaction from a fireman friend. Don't take that wrongly, he's strongly in favour of fire prevention but he came round a wee while ago and looked at my alarms - smoke alarm upstairs landing and Co alarm for boiler - and suggested I put a smoke alarm in the hall downstairs just outside the kitchen door for maximum effect.
 

chr1s

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We have no less than nine (mains-wired) smoke alarms in our house, fitted as part of the regulations for the loft conversion done by the previous occupants in 2015 ! So there is therefore a smoke alarm installed in every room except bathrooms, kitchen and utility room!
 
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Pugglt Auld Jock
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We have no less than nine (mains-wired) smoke alarms in our house, fitted as part of the regulations for the loft conversion done by the previous occupants in 2015 ! So there is therefore a smoke alarm installed in every room except bathrooms, kitchen and utility room!
Yup, my boy's alarms are mains wired devices whereas I've gone with the 10 year battery devices - on the grounds that we may not outlast them, or my kids will have had us committed to a home by then! Anyway, I can easily fit them myself.

My younger boy's alarms went off some weeks after the conversion was completed but for no obvious reason - no burnt toast or anything - It wasn't a constant tone, intermittent but highly annoying beeping. "Granddad" was called in to investigate before they called the builder back and after a bit of dismantling I discovered that, although mains powered, they all contain a 9v backup battery and one of these batteries had failed. This seemed to trigger all the others. Put a new battery in and all has been well since.

Of course neither my boy or his wife could remember having been given an instruction booklet but I found it in the back of one of the drawers in the new kitchen units whilst childminding the week after. I'll have a read of it next time I'm out there to see if this is what's meant to happen when the standby battery gives out.
 
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Pugglt Auld Jock
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A final post now to bring you all up to date with the fire alarms.

They've been lying on the kitchen dresser (see above photo) for a while and I've done no more than read the instructions because we were getting over our Covid. Then, on Wednesday just passed, Steven - the mobile tyre man - came by and fitted the remaining 3 Falkens to Twink (our Ibiza), so now we have a complete set of 4. I like the service he gives. His prices are extremely competitive and he does a good job of balancing on his "Corgi" balancer. Because he comes to the house it means I can do the jacking up so ensuring no problems with damage to jacking points etc and I can do my own wheel nut tightening so ensuring I'm not going to have problems with wheel nuts if I need to do a roadside wheel change (puncture etc). He's a very local provider, pretty much covering the greater Edinburgh area only, but for anyone around here I can thoroughly recommend you giving him a ring for anything tyre related: https://www.citymobiletyres.com/

Anyway, back to the Alarms. Having removed and refitted the 3 wheels to the car I realized I am feeling much better and more robust following the Covid so, I thought to myself, no reason now to delay tackling the fire alarm installation. My newfound friend, the fireman from 3 houses up our street, popped in and recommended where best to site them. Turns out he's part of their team doing the free installations for people who qualify up here and it turns out there are a number of things to take note of which I wouldn't have considered. Physically the fitting is quite simple - the kits actually include 2 sided sticky pads, but I decided against these as we have "lumpy" artex'd ceilings - 2 small holes for each one with plugs to accept the screws. Once again though I found my bi-focals a pain to work with as I need to look through the bottom - "near sighted" - part of the lens whilst drilling the ceiling but can really only see through the top part! Anyway, 12 holes successfully drilled.

Now for the bit I was really nervous about, "Pairing up" the individual alarms. These alarms have to be taught to recognize the others in the system. On the ones I've bought, this is done by first turning them all on and than selecting one alarm (I chose the heat alarm for the kitchen) and pressing and holding the black button on the back until it's little red LED on the front comes on and stays on - you get 30 seconds then it goes out again. Then, while the "master" light is on, you take another of the alarms and press it's button twice. if the pairing is successful then it's LED will flash indicating it's paired. Then you take another and repeat. If the LED goes out on the "master" while you're doing this, then you have to press it's black button until it's LED lights up and stays on again. Unit's already paired will still be paired so you just pick up another unpaired one and carry on until they are all paired. I managed to get 2 done in the 30 seconds so had to reinitiate the "master" once. After fitting all the alarms to their baseplates I pressed the "Test" button on the one in the kitchen and was rewarded with an absolute cacophony of deafening noise throughout the house. I ran around the house checking they were all sounding and, hurrah, they are! Job done - No way we could possibly sleep through that!

If I later want to add more heat or smoke alarms to the system I can do this at any time by just pairing the new one in the same way. My fireman friend told me this is not something all systems let you do - with some you can only do one pairing operation and so you can't add to the system later. I hadn't thought about this being a problem until he said "what do you do with a system like that if one of the alarms fails early"? With mine I would just buy another (batteries in these are not renewable) and pair it to the system. With the other type you would be renewing all the alarms because you can't pair in another alarm later!

The CO alarms do not have to be system linked so the one I already have near my boiler meets compliance and I intentionally went for a stand alone CO alarm for the living room gas fire mainly because it was quite a bit cheaper but also because I thought, in the event the alarm system activated, it would complicate identifying which alarm was the one which set the others off. An actual fire should be self evident as to where it was but if it was CO valuable time might be wasted due to there being no visible evidence. My fireman friend was in agreement with this thinking.

A final parting thought from the fireman was the advice to close all internal doors before going to bed. I have to say we haven't really given this much thought but he pointed out that a closed door will delay the fire spreading and, with our new alarms waking us up, give us extra time to either fight the fire if it's a wee one or escape the building. He went on to say that, with internal doors closed and a rapid attendance by the fire brigade, the "collateral" damage to the rest of the house is invariably much less

So there we are, pairing up the alarms was no "big deal" and I'm now fully compliant with the new Scottish regulations so, hopefully, that'll reduce the options for my insurance company to reject a claim should I need to make one.
 

perelaar

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Just stumbled on this post by accident. Living in Belgium, smoke alarms are mandatory (one per level in your house) but almost no one bothers.

I did install one in my attic years ago, and it did save our house when we had a chimney fire last December. Damn thing started beeping while we were watching a film downstairs. The wife went to check, and found the attic smelling like smoke (nothing visible yet!). Exthinguished the fireplace, opened all windows, called the fire brigade. They told me it was a bird's nest that caught fire, and that without the smoke detector we would at least have lost our roof, and possibly everything since all our floors are wood constructions...

I now installed 6 others: basement (where the heater system lives), living room (fireplace), garage, 2 on the first floor, 2 in the attic.
When we move to our new house in May smoke detectors will be the first thing I install, that's for sure...
 
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Excellent point about an Alarm 'sensing' combustion in a roofspace :-(


Unfortunately that wouldneed to be 'mains power'.. or a low battery CHIRP would wake me on Winters mornings..
:-(
 

perelaar

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Excellent point about an Alarm 'sensing' combustion in a roofspace :-(


Unfortunately that wouldneed to be 'mains power'.. or a low battery CHIRP would wake me on Winters mornings..
:-(
All detectors here are battery powered (also allowing me to place them where they are most effective, not where there is mains electricity). Never had an issue with low battery alarms waking me up, I test them every year and replace the batteries by default every 4 or 5 years.
 
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Pugglt Auld Jock
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All detectors here are battery powered (also allowing me to place them where they are most effective, not where there is mains electricity). Never had an issue with low battery alarms waking me up, I test them every year and replace the batteries by default every 4 or 5 years.
The alarms you have to install to comply with the Scottish regs are very specific. Either mains powered or lithium 10 year battery powered with non renewable battery packs and compliant to a specific BS kitemark. The type where you can renew the battery (often a 9 volt PP9) are not compliant. Pity because that is the type I fitted some years ago. However, rather than "retiring" them, I think I'll probably recycle them by fitting them in other rooms (spare bedrooms etc) where I don't have to have "regulation compliant" devices - although they are BS rated of course.
 

The Panda Nut

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The alarms you have to install to comply with the Scottish regs are very specific. Either mains powered or lithium 10 year battery powered with non renewable battery packs and compliant to a specific BS kitemark. The type where you can renew the battery (often a 9 volt PP9) are not compliant. Pity because that is the type I fitted some years ago. However, rather than "retiring" them, I think I'll probably recycle them by fitting them in other rooms (spare bedrooms etc) where I don't have to have "regulation compliant" devices - although they are BS rated of course.
If the law doesnt apply to the uk Prime Minister and Chancellor why bother? I fit smoke and CO alarms as safe practice. If the Government try and enforce it I will not be complying. The law is for others....(mugs) not for me! Oh deers did I say that out loud............
 
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If the law doesnt apply to the uk Prime Minister and Chancellor why bother? I fit smoke and CO alarms as safe practice. If the Government try and enforce it I will not be complying. The law is for others....(mugs) not for me! Oh deers did I say that out loud............
Have to say I sympathize with your sentiments and, had it not been a legal requirement I would have been happy to stay with my old renewable battery devices. I complied mainly because I didn't want my insurance company to have an easy "out" in the event I might need to make a claim.

Interestingly perhaps? because the house is not that large, so you can hear all the alarms anywhere in the house, my fireman neighbour thought that the new alarms were unlikely to give us any real advantage over my existing old PP9 battery powered alarms. In terms of the actual alarms themselves we now have a heat alarm in the kitchen but the rest of the house is covered by smoke alarms, and a CO alarm by the central heating boiler - just as it's been for years - with a new CO alarm in the living room to cover our recently fitted balance flue (so room sealed) gas fire. Really all the new setup has added in terms of protection is the CO alarm in the living room, which I would have been doing very soon anyway following the installation of the new fire.
 

vexorg

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1 smoke alarm in the room you spend most of the day, usually your living room
I dont quite get that one, to quote warf "you'd be standing in the fire!"

It means for me I'll have 2 alarms a few feet apart. Though strictly speaking, I probably spend most of my time in the bedroom asleep
 

DaveMcT

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We now have Labour going ape about the PM's lockdown parties, only to discover that Starmer and what's her name were also having lockdown parties. All pre-arranged by email with security officers in attendance. At least the Russians were not allowed in.
 
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I dont quite get that one, to quote warf "you'd be standing in the fire!"

It means for me I'll have 2 alarms a few feet apart. Though strictly speaking, I probably spend most of my time in the bedroom asleep
"alarms a few feet apart" Same for me. If I stand in my hall and look up I see this smoke alarm:

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standing in the same spot and looking into the living room I see another smoke alarm with a CO alarm (gas fire in the living room) behind it:

P1100295.JPG

Then, a quarter turn to the left and I'm looking into the kitchen where I see this Heat alarm:

P1100296.JPG

The boiler is in the room through that glass door you can see in the kitchen shot so there's another CO alarm in there and on the top landing, at the top of the staircase and directly above the hall alarm, there's another smoke alarm. There's also a smoke alarm in the garage which I decided to do as it's integral with the house.

D'yu think I've got it covered? The problem with the regs is that they are blanket provision which attempts to cover all possibilities but actually cover almost non efficiently.

Ps do you like my "very 80's look" ceilings?
 

DaveMcT

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Ps do you like my "very 80's look" ceilings?
A builder friend skimmed the ceiling as his local gym to cover the artex. Nice little job. A month later he had a call... Some of the new skim had fallen off complete with Artex and hit a client. No major worries but he now had to fix the problem. He suspected the wet plaster had caused the Artex to separate so none of it was safe. At his own cost, he boarded out the whole lot and plaster skimmed. All done at night because the gym was open 6 am to 10 pm.
 
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