Reply To: BS5839-9 Update

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Ben Milligan

In Scotland a change is being made to the tolerable standard under section 86 of the Housing (Scotland) Act 1987.

From the 1st of February 2021 an amendment to the tolerable standard which will require that all houses, regardless of tenure, must have satisfactory provision for detecting fires and for giving warning in the event of fire or suspected fire.

The government guidance defines the term satisfactory for fire detection equipment to mean the following:
•One smoke alarm installed in the room most frequently used for general daytime living purposes (normally the living room/lounge);
•One smoke alarm in every circulation space on each storey, such as hallways and landings;
•One heat alarm installed in every kitchen;
•All smoke and heat alarms to be ceiling mounted; and
•All smoke and heat alarms to be interlinked.

The tolerable standard is listed in the SHQS standard. Compliance to the SHQS standard is monitored through the annual ARC returns sent to the Scottish Housing Regulator. So what will be very interesting is whether we see a big drop in SHQS compliance this year when associations complete their ARC submissions.

So to answer your question, in Scotland the expectation is to meet this standard by 2021 which I do not see happening. I know many planned maintenance teams will be looking at extensions and abayances to try and justify not meeting this standard. Doing it through the 5 year inspection would not work in Scotland nor would having a void led solution. Associations need to dig deep so the next couple of years are going to be interesting, we are still looking at feasibility as to how we will comply.