Smoke and Carbon Monoxide

Smoke and CO detectors

For New Homes

For a long time, BC Building and Fire Codes have required that all homes be equipped with interconnected smoke detectors.  Recently though, for new homes, there has been some upgrades to those requirements.

  • On each floor without a bedroom
  • In each bedroom
  • Between the bedrooms and the rest of the floor
  • In a hallway serving bedrooms

Also, there has been the addition of Carbon Monoxide detectors to the requirements. If your home has a storage garage and/or a fuel burning appliance like a fireplace, wood stove, gas furnace, or gas stove, a carbon monoxide detector is needed in each bedroom or in a hallway within 5 meters of each bedroom..

There is also a combination type detector available so you don’t need to install two detectors in each bedroom.

For Older Homes

Every home built after March of 1979 was required to have hardwired and interconnected smoke detectors.  However, not every home was built with proper permits and with a consideration for safety.  I highly recommend that you have a look at your own system and determine if it is capable of protecting you and your family in the event of a fire.

Before March, 1979, homes didn’t need to have smoke detectors.  But in 2010 the the BC building code required the owners of those homes to install a minimum of battery operated smoke detectors.

Owners of newer homes that don’t meet current code are only obligated to upgrade their system when:

  • A renovation requires additional smoke alarms. Such as finishing a basement or adding a bedroom to an existing space.
  • Any size of addition is built on the house.
  • A substantial Electrical upgrade. Such as a service upgrade or replacing aluminum wiring.
  • Adding a fuel burning appliance like a fire place or gas stove.
  • If there is a change of use. Like converting to a bed and breakfast or child care facility.

Of course, just because you don’t have to, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t.  Working Smoke and CO detectors save lives. It is highly recommended that you upgrade your home to meet the current building code standards.

Further Reading

If you want to read a bit more about smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, the city of Burnaby has some good write ups. They are based on the same building code that is applied throughout the province.

Smoke Alarms

Alarm upgrades for dwellings

Carbon Monoxide Alarms