Renfrewshire Council

Fire and smoke alarms

You may have heard about the new requirement for all Scottish homes to have an 'interlinked' fire and smoke alarm system from February 2022. 

This is a Scottish Government initiative. It is aimed at improving fire safety after the Grenfell disaster in 2017.

You can read the Scottish Government's guidance on this new requirement here:

These are some frequently-asked questions - but should read the Scottish Government's full guidance, if you have other questions not answered below.

What do I need to do?

By February 2022, every Scottish home must have:

  • one smoke alarm in the living room or the room you use most
  • one smoke alarm in every hallway or landing
  • one heat alarm in the kitchen

All smoke and heat alarms should be mounted on the ceiling and be 'interlinked'.

If you have a boiler, fire, heater or flue in any room, you must also have a tamper-proof carbon monoxide detector in that room. 

What do you mean by 'interlinked' and 'tamper-proof'?

Interlinked means if one alarm goes off, they all go off, so you will always hear an alarm wherever you are in your home.

There are two ways they can be connected to each other:

  • Wired (Mains): The alarms are joined together by electrical wire
  • Wireless (Battery): The alarms are connected via radiofrequency

Tamper-proof means that you should not be able to remove the battery from the unit itself, as this can lead to failure. Tamper-proof units come with a battery sealed inside which will last for 10 years.

Is this change a legal requirement, or is it just a recommendation?

The Scottish Government are making this change to improve safety for every Scottish citizen.  It is required by law, although that does not mean you will commit a criminal offence by not complying. 

What are the likely effects if I don't comply?

This could affect the sale of your home in future. It's likely you would have to have the installation carried out before any marketing takes place.

More worryingly, as this is a change in law, it's likely that non-compliance could affect your home insurance. While your home insurance may not currently specify the smoke alarm standard, there is likely to be a general term that state that your home must meet all legal standards. If you make a claim after 1 February 2022 and you do not have the correct system installed, your claim may fail. Contact your insurance provider directly if you are concerned.

Will I commit a criminal offence if I don't comply?

No. The Council has enforcement powers in relation to the standard of homes, but they would not be used as a matter of course for this requirement. They could be used where a landlord was refusing to install the correct systems in their rented properties, because that poses a safety risk to their tenants.

Who is responsible for doing this work?

Home-owners are responsible and must pay for any work needed on their own property. 

As with other housing standards, the home-owner must meet this new safety standard.

I'm a tenant - who is responsible for installing my alarms?

If you are a private tenant, your landlord is responsible and your property should already be compliant.  Contact your landlord to check this with them.

If you are a council or housing association tenant, we are working to make sure your home meets the new standards.

Do I need to have wi-fi for radiofrequency alarms to work?  I've been told I do.

No - you do not need any form of internet access for this. The radiofrequency connection is built into the alarms.

Does the carbon monoxide detector have to be linked to the smoke and heat alarms?

No. This detector does not need to be linked to the fire alarm system.

The compliance date is really close - what if I can't do it in time?

The law allows flexibility for people to fit the necessary alarms in due course if they are unable to do so by the February 2022 deadline. 

There is no legal sanction for not having this done in time - but you should have it done as soon as possible because of the effect on your home insurance.

Where can I get a system? Is there an approved list of alarms or fitters?

Unfortunately, there is no list of approved suppliers or fitters. You can buy both types of alarms online, or in-store from a number of retailers, and any qualified electrician can fit the mains-wired type.

You need to check that each alarm complies with the following standards:

smoke alarms BS EN14604:2005
heat alarmsBS 5446-2:2003
carbon monoxide detectorBritish Kitemark EN 50291-1


I already have a system - won't that be enough?

Unless you've installed a new system in the last year, or purchased a new build property, it's very unlikely that your current system complies.

As well as being interlinked, units must be 'tamper-proof'.  For battery-operated units, this means you should not be able to remove the batteries yourself - it will be a completely sealed unit.

If you've had alarms installed by Scottish Fire & Rescue services in the last year, you should still check that they are the new type - don't assume they are correct.

How can I check if my alarms are interlinked?

Most alarms have a test push button as standard. Press this test button for approximately five seconds and the alarm should sound. If other detectors at the property are interlinked, they will all sound.

How much should I be paying?

Unfortunately, costs are difficult to estimate as they depend on stock available. 

The Scottish Government estimate that the cost for an average three bedroom house (needing three smoke alarms, one heat alarm and one carbon monoxide detector) will be between £200-300. This estimation is based on using the type of alarms that you can install by yourself without the need for an electrician.

Can't someone, like Scottish Government, the Council or Scottish Fire & Rescue recommend a system for me?

No, unfortunately we cannot recommend a system.  It's up to you to choose one which meets the requirements, and your own home and budget. Any system you install must meet the British Standards as stated above, and in the guidance.

If any trader says that their system or services are endorsed or recommended by any of our organisations, please be aware that this is not correct. 

Any misleading statements like this can be reported to our partners in Advice Direct Scotland at or  0808 164 6000.

I've had a telephone call from a company saying they can install my alarms - should I use them?

Cold calling is a legal method of trade, but it's a problem because it adds pressure to give your details or accept a product you might not usually accept.

These callers may suggest that you are eligible for a grant, or that they are offering a special deal that day. 

We would not recommend giving any details to a company either telephoning or calling at your door. Take your time to make your own enquiries.

Where can I choose a reputable trader to install these for me?

Renfrewshire Council support a Trusted Trader scheme which has local, vetted traders who may be able to carry out this work on your home.  You can find out more at

My home is in a block of flats - does my alarm need to be linked to my neighbours?

Different homes in a shared building like a block of flats do not need to be linked to each other.

There is also no need for alarms to be fitted in communal areas such as entry halls and stairways.

Where can I dispose of my old alarms?

Some, but not all, types of alarms can be recycled at household waste recycling centres. Look on the alarm for information or check with the manufacturer.