SINGAPORE: Starting June next year, it will be mandatory for all new homes to be installed with smoke detectors, also known as Home Fire Alarm Devices (HFADs).
Existing homes which undergo fire safety works will also be required to install them, Mrs Josephine Teo, Second Minister for Home Affairs announced on Thursday (Nov 16) at the Fire Safety Asia Conference Singapore 2017.
The Government said at a Parliament sitting last October that it was considering making the installation of such alarms in homes mandatory.
The HFADs provide occupants with an early warning so that they can extinguish the fire or evacuate, according to the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF).
The requirement for HFADs will apply to building plans submitted after Jun 1, 2018.
The number of smoke detectors required will depend on the size and layout of a residential unit. This will be specified in the updated Fire Code, which will be released next year.
For new residential projects, the cost of installing the detectors will be borne by developers. For existing homes, the cost will be borne by the owners.
According to SCDF, these devices cost around S$50 to S$80 each, excluding installation costs.
The Government will install the smoke detectors in Housing and Development Board (HDB) rental flats, at no additional cost to the tenants. More than 50,000 rental households will be covered, and the installation is expected to be completed by 2021.
HDB will also install the smoke detectors in many of its ongoing public housing projects even though these already have building plans submitted before the slated date.
Currently, the Fire Code requires multi-storey buildings that provide accommodation, such as hospitals and hotels, to be installed with automatic fire alarm devices, while public and private residential premises are exempted from this requirement.
Mrs Teo also announced that under new requirements in the updated Fire Code, large unmanned premises such as warehouses will require a video image fire detection system to enhance fire surveillance of non-residential buildings.
"The system uses video analytics and advanced image processing to detect incipient smoke or fires. It will thus complement existing fire alarm systems which have smoke and heat detectors," said Mrs Teo.
"With video imaging, building owners will be able to quickly ascertain the presence and extent of the fire and activate the appropriate response plans. False alarms can also be easily verified," she added.