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Consultation, Scotland: Smoke and Fire Alarms

Monday 09 October 2017

Laws in Scotland relating to fire safety are already among some of the toughest, but in a bid to plug the gaps that aren't covered by existing laws, the Scottish Government have launched a consultation on standards for smoke and fire alarms across the nation.

The aim of the consultation is to gauge opinion on a range of options available which will introduce consistently tough standards across the sector regardless of tenure type or housing type.  

The Scottish Government have said that they consider standards to be at their highest in the Private Rented Sector (PRS). Therefore, they would like to use current regulations for smoke and fire alarms within the PRS as a basis to bring standards across other types of housing up to that of the Private Rented Sector.

Timescales

The consultation have been brought forward, due to the high priority given to fire safety across the UK following the Grenfell tragedy in June, and much of the focus of the consultation is around the use of smoke and fire alarms in flats and high rise buildings. The closing date for responses is 1 December 2017.

Why the consultation?

The Common Housing Quality Standard Forum, established in 2015, noted that the scope of the existing standards for social and private rented housing are linked to specific types of tenancy and therefore it is possible that some housing falls between the gaps and is not covered by either standard.

The Scottish Government’s view is that the standard currently applied to private rented housing represents the current best practice. They therefore consider that the most appropriate option to improve standards for fire and smoke alarms is to extend this standard to all tenures.

To extend standards, the following options are given in the consultation document:

  • Applying a new standard to social rented housing
  • Applying a standard to flats, irrespective of tenure
  • Applying a standard to flats in high-rise buildings, irrespective of tenure
  • Applying a standard to all housing, irrespective of tenure

The Scottish Housing Quality Standard (SHQS) could also be amended to include a more demanding standard for fire and smoke alarms in place of the existing element 44, which says there must be at least one smoke detector present in the property. The Scottish Government do recognise that changes made to the standard for social housing could have a much bigger impact on some landlords than others, depending on previous improvements.

Respond to the online consultation

You have until 1 December 2017 to respond to the consultation.  

If you prefer, you can respond to Tim Douglas, Propertymark's Policy and Campaigns Officer.