Fire & CO Alarms

Think aheadto meet increased demand

The government’s focus and recent financial commitments to housing should start to increase the number of new homes built – and therefore also increase demand for the smoke and CO alarms required in them. But there are other factors that could increase the market too, as Kidde Safety Europe explains.


n February, the newly-renamed Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government announced an

£866m investment to help unlock potential for 200,000 new homes. Every one of these ‘extra’ homes will require smoke alarms and many carbon monoxide alarms to comply with Building Regulations. But the Regulations themselves are in the spotlight with various reviews and consultations in hand, and more to come. And these should result in a wider use of smoke and CO alarms, with more per dwelling. After all, smoke and CO alarms are the first line of defence against fire and carbon monoxide poisoning in housing, providing critical early warning for occupants at low costs. For example, the Building Regulations Part B ‘Approved Documents’, covering England and

Wales, currently require only smoke alarms in hallways and landings, plus a heat alarm only in kitchens open to escape routes. This conflicts with the Code of Practice BS 5839- 6:2013, which the Approved Documents claim to be based on. However, the recently published ‘Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety’ interim report, following the Grenfell Tower fire, considers Part B to be “not fit for purpose” and it should therefore be replaced.

More smoke and heat alarms This is an opportunity to increase its smoke and heat alarm requirements, at the very least in line with the Code, with smoke alarms in living rooms, as well as escape routes and heat alarms in all kitchens. Furthermore, the Code itself is currently under review, which could lead to upgraded recommendations for alarms.

Kidde’s ‘Smart Interconnect’ automatically alerts occupants of fire or carbon monoxide.

And there is also a case for smoke alarms or sounders in bedrooms, as recommended in the Irish standard I.S. 3218:2013. Mains smoke and heat alarms with backup

are a Building Regulation requirement and recommended for most existing housing, as well as all rented properties under the Code. But there may still be urgent situations where battery smoke alarms can provide immediate protection – particularly where no alarms are present at all. Here, Kidde’s 10Y29 optical smoke alarm, with a full 10-year guarantee covering both the alarm and sealed-in lithium battery, can be quickly and easily installed by anyone.

Kidde’s mains CO alarms can be linked to its Firex smoke and heat alarms using ‘Smart Interconnect’. (Photo courtesy of Thakeham)

More CO alarms Requirements for CO alarms are also under the spotlight, with a consultation on regulations for private rented properties currently under way. These currently only demand a CO alarm alongside a solid fuel heating appliance,

●Continued over March 2018 electrical wholesaler | 19

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