After the tragic fire on 14 June 2017 at Grenfell Tower in London, the Scottish Government set up a Ministerial Working Group ("the Group") to oversee a review of Scotland's building and fire safety regulatory frameworks. The issues which the Group are tasked at looking at include the requirement for sprinklers, the risk of electrical fires and fire safety guidance.
The Group agreed to prioritise a consultation on fire and smoke alarm standards in Scottish homes. At present there are different requirements in place for fire and smoke alarms in different types of housing (including new-build, privately or socially rented or owner-occupied properties). The consultation will review whether or not a uniform standard should be applied across all types of housing. Annie Mauger, an executive director of the Chartered Institute of Housing Scotland said “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.”
The consultation is also seeking views on the types of alarms which should be installed, the location of alarms, how often alarms should be replaced and how any improved standard could be implemented to encourage compliance. The introduction of universal fire and smoke alarm standards in Scottish homes is to be welcomed as an important step in increasing safety and reducing the risk of house fires. These standards may have an impact on assessing liability in future claims. We will provide regular updates on the progress of this consultation, the application of any universal standards and the impact of these standards on assessing liability.
This consultation is now open for submissions, which can be made here. The consultation will close on Friday 1st December 2017.