Commons Committee calls for CO alarms

Commons Committee calls for CO alarms

The House of Commons Communities and Local Government Committee has added to pressures for a change to Building Regulations requiring hard-wired carbon monoxide (CO) alarms in all new homes.

In its March review, the CLG Committee picked up on discrepancies in approach between Building Regulations and the new Green Deal standard. Under the Part J Approved Document, which applies to England and Wales, CO alarms are only required with new or replacement fixed solid fuel heating appliances. In contrast, the new Green Deal Installer Standard will include a requirement for installers to assess the impact of their work on air-tightness and any associated increased risks of CO poisoning, irrespective of fuel type. If there is any increase, a CO alarm must be installed.

The CLG Committee said: “We welcome the inclusion of carbon monoxide alarms in the Green Deal standard. Confusion between government departments, particularly in respect of public safety issues, is unacceptable and we conclude that the Government needs a comprehensive policy. We recommend that Part J should go even further and require audible, wiredup EN 50291 compliant carbon monoxide alarms to be fitted wherever a relevant heating appliance is installed in any new-build or existing homes.”

Kidde Fyrnetics say there are interesting parallels here with Regulations for hard-wired smoke and heat alarms in housing. With domestic fires, current requirements do not attempt to predict specific sources of fire but cover all situations. Mandatory smoke/heat alarms in all new housing today therefore provide an effective, low-cost means of detecting and warning of fire.

By its very nature, carbon monoxide justifies exactly the same approach. Building Regulations should demand CO alarms in new homes and wherever any combustion appliance is fitted in existing dwellings, not just focus on specific risks such as solid fuel heating. The logical solution is a comprehensive system of hard-wired smoke, heat and CO alarms in every home. This can be accommodated by the latest products such as Smart Interconnect which enables a number of Kidde Fyrnetics hard-wired CO, smoke and heat alarms to be interconnected.