CO Advice, Social Housing

Are carbon monoxide alarms required in all residential buildings in Wales?

Guidance is soon to be published following the Welsh Government's consultation on the installation of carbon monoxide alarms to ensure everyone is protected from the risks of carbon monoxide poisoning in their homes.

Thousands of people are admitted to hospital every year with suspected injuries caused by carbon monoxide poisoning, although medical experts believe there are many wrongly diagnosed and under-reported cases.

Following a consultation by the Welsh Government, guidance is soon to be published on whether to amend the statutory guidance (Approved Document J) supporting Part J of the Building Regulations, to require carbon monoxide alarms to be fitted alongside the installation of flued fixed combustion appliance of any fuel type in all dwellings.

What was the consultation about?

The government are proposing to amend the current guidance to include the installation of a CO alarm for the installation of all flued fixed combustion appliances of any fuel type in all residential dwellings, including private dwellings.

The policy will mean that all the following fuel types will be covered: oil, gas (including LPG) and solid fuel in all residential dwellings.

Currently, carbon monoxide alarms must be installed in all residential buildings when a fixed solid fuel burning appliance, such as a wood burning stove, is installed. This requirement is set out in Building regulations guidance: Part J (Heat producing appliances) and applies to installations regardless of tenure in private and social rented homes and in owner occupied homes.

Are carbon monoxide alarms not already a legal requirement in domestic properties in Wales?

are carbon monoxide alarms required in residential buildings in wales

According to the Welsh Housing Conditions Survey report April 2017 to March 2018, most dwellings in Wales (82%) used gas to heat their homes and only 46% of homes had a working carbon monoxide detector.

However, following implementation of the Renting Homes (Wales) Act in July 2022, landlords now need to ensure properties are in repair and fit for human habitation in all rental property. To meet these obligations, a working carbon monoxide alarm must be present in any room which has a gas, oil or solid fuel-burning appliance. This applies to all rented properties, both social and private rented.

In addition, the Welsh Development Quality Requirements 2021: Creating Beautiful Homes and Place sets out the minimum functional quality standards for new and rehabilitated affordable homes. The requirements stipulate that new homes should be fitted with mains powered hard wired carbon monoxide detectors with battery back-up.

What is carbon monoxide and why is it dangerous?

Carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning is a serious and preventable form of poisoning. It is produced from the burning of any carbon-based fuel such as mains gas, liquefied petroleum gas, oil, coal, coke and wood, which are used in many household appliances.

CO poisoning can occur when an appliance has been incorrectly fitted or used, badly repaired or poorly maintained. It can also occur if flues, chimneys or vents are blocked. It is colourless, odourless and tasteless, which is why the use of a CO alarm is vital for early detection. If left undetected, mild poisoning can cause headaches and flu-like symptoms, whilst higher concentrations can lead to collapse, coma or death.

Keep tenants safe with an audible CO alarm

are carbon monoxide alarms required in residential buildings in wales

FireAngel’s range of carbon monoxide alarms use intelligent sensing technology for a rapid reaction to rising levels of CO. All alarms are calibrated and rigorously tested in‑house to ensure every alarm meets our high quality standards. FireAngel’s latest range of CO alarms also comply with the revised European Standard EN 50291‑1:2018 to ensure maximum protection.

Keep your tenants, family or neighbours safe from ‘the silent killer’. Explore our enhanced CO alarms today.