Changes to the tolerable standard guidance

The tolerable standard has been amended and a house now only meets the standard if it complies with the relevant requirements in relation to satisfactory smoke and heat alarms and satisfactory carbon monoxide (CO) alarms.

The standard has been amended by the Housing (Scotland) Act 1987 (Tolerable Standard) (Extension of Criterion) Order 2019 and now includes two new element covering smoke and heat alarms and CO alarms. 

For the first time, assessors will consider the presence, type and condition of smoke and heat alarms in a house when deciding if the house meets the tolerable standard. Assessors will also consider the presence, type and condition of CO alarms in a house when deciding if the house meets the tolerable standard. These criteria, which already formed part of the repairing standard, now apply to all houses.

The introduction of smoke and heat alarms in the tolerable standard is in recognition of the danger fire poses to the occupants of a house, and is intended to reduce the risk of loss of life, injury and damage to property in the event of fire. 

Now in order to meet the tolerable standard a house will need one smoke alarm installed in the following areas: the room most frequently used for general daytime living, i.e. hall, in every circulation space such as a hall and in every kitchen. The smoke and heat alarm require to be ceiling mounted and also interlinked. The alarms can be battery powered but require to be tamperproof long-life lithium battery. 

The introduction of CO alarms in the tolerable standard is in recognition of the danger posed to the occupants of a house by CO in concentrations hazardous to health, and the vital role early detection and warning in buildings can play in the protection and safety of the occupants. 

Now in order to meet the tolerable standard a house requires CO detectors to be fitted in all rooms where there is a fixed combustion appliance (excluding an appliance used solely for cooking) or a flue. 

The Scottish Government have produced guidance which aims to provide the information and advice needed to carry out an assessment and can be accessed here

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