Fire and smoke alarms: the Tolerable Standard

The Tolerable Standard is defined in Housing Legislation and prescribes a minimum standard a property must meet to be considered suitable for human habitation. It specifies standards for criteria such as:

  • Structural stability
  • Rising and penetrating dampness
  • Ventilation and heating
  • Natural and artificial lighting
  • Toilet and bath/shower facilities
  • Drainage
  • Hot and cold water provisions
  • Cooking of food
  • Electricity provision
  • Access to external doors and outbuildings

The Scottish Government has confirmed new fire and smoke alarm standard applies from February 2022. This is introduced through the implementation of the Housing (Scotland) Act 1987 (Tolerable Standard)(Extension of Criterion) Order 2019.

View details of the fire and smoke alarm standards on the Scottish Government website.


There is a requirement to have satisfactory equipment for detecting fire and carbon monoxide (where there is a carbon-fuelled appliance).

Fire detection

Satisfactory equipment for detecting fire and giving warning in the event of fire, or suspected fire, includes:

  • one smoke alarm installed in the room most frequently used for general daytime living purposes (normally the living room/lounge);
  • one smoke alarm in every circulation space on each storey, such as hallways and landings;
  • one heat alarm installed in every kitchen;
  • all smoke and heat alarms to be ceiling mounted and interlinked

There is no requirement for these alarms to be connected to mains electricity. You may install 10-year battery operated, interlinked alarms yourself if you feel capable of doing so.

Carbon monoxide detection

Where there is a carbon-fuelled appliance such as boilers, fires (including open fires) and heaters or a flue, a carbon monoxide (CO) detector is also required which does not need to be linked to the fire alarms.

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.

Failure to meet requirements

Where a property fails to meet the Tolerable Standard, it may be inspected by the Environmental Health Team and a recommendation made for a Closing Order to be served on the property.

This would prohibit the occupation of the property until such times as the defects have been satisfactorily addressed.

Contact us

Should you wish further advice, please contact the Environmental Health team.