Government launches consultation on protecting homes against fire and smoke

fire-1211809_960_720A consultation to ensure all homes are fully protected against fire and smoke in the wake of the Grenfell tragedy in London has opened for submissions today by the Scottish Government.

With different requirements for fire and smoke alarms currently in place for different types of housing, the consultation will look at whether the same standard should be applied across all housing – whether it is new-build, privately or socially rented or owner-occupied.

The consultation will also seek views on what types of alarms should be installed, where they should be located, how often they should be replaced, and how any improved standard might be implemented to encourage compliance.

Police believe around 80 people died when Grenfell Tower was engulfed by flames in June.

Following the fire, a Ministerial Working Group on Building and Fire Safety was established to review Scotland’s building and fire safety regulatory frameworks. As part of this work, the Group agreed that consultation on fire and smoke alarm standards, which had originally been planned for later this year, should be prioritised.

Housing minister Kevin Stewart said: “Scotland has rigorous standards for smoke and fire alarms developed over time, with new-build and private-rented housing at the highest standard. I want everyone to benefit from the same level of protection - so this consultation proposes that the same standard should apply for everyone, whether you own your home, or rent from a social or private landlord.

“Fires and fatalities from fires are decreasing but there were still more than 5,600 fires in homes in Scotland with 39 fatalities last year, and every death is one too many. As we saw from the tragic events at Grenfell Tower, building and fire safety is of utmost importance, which is why this consultation has been brought forward as a priority. I encourage everyone to have their say.”

Chartered Institute of Housing Scotland executive director, Annie Mauger, added: “This consultation seeks to address a longstanding anomaly in the relative levels of protection against fire and smoke that the law currently provides for different tenures of housing. It has to be sensible that residents should receive the same level of protection irrespective of the type of housing tenure they occupy. Following on from the recent Grenfell Tower tragedy, we therefore strongly welcome the Scottish Government’s initiative in bringing forward this consultation.”

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