Legal changes to require all homes in Scotland to have interlinked smoke alarms have been delayed until 2022, following concerns about lack of advance publicity and the cost to home owners at a time of recession.
The rules changing the tolerable standard for all houses, which would mean a cost of at least £220 for a three-bedroom home, were due to come into force in February 2021.
Under the new legislation, all home owners and landlords must ensure they have a ceiling-mounted smoke alarms in their livingroom, hallways and landings, and a heat alarm in every kitchen. The system must be interlinked, either through fixed wiring or a wireless system, so that if one alarm is activated it will trigger the others.
A carbon monoxide alarm must also be fitted where there is a fuel burning appliance or a flue.
Little advance publicity had been given until last week when the Scottish Government published a guide to the new rules (click here for news item) – at which point widely shared fears were raised about the cost to householders and lack of time to arrange tradesmen. One company distributed leaflets to householders using the Scottish Government logo, giving the impression of an endorsement of its services, which Housing Minister Kevin Stewart later said had not been signed off by ministers and should not have been sanctioned.
In a letter to all MSPs, Mr Stewart emphasised that the regulations were intended to improve fire safety following the Grenfell Tower tragedy, but said that MSPs would be asked to approve a 12-month delay.
He wrote: "Given the impact of COVID-19, and the difficulties this is likely to create for people seeking to install new smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, we have listened to concerns and decided to ask the Scottish Parliament to delay implementation."