Massachusetts REALTOR News - New Smoke Detector Requirements Coming January 1st, 2010

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New State Smoke Detector Requirements
11/6/2009

On January 1, 2010, a new regulation regarding the installation and maintenance of smoke detectors will become effective.

These new regulations were enacted by the Massachusetts Department of Fire Services and will apply to single and
multi-family homes built or most recently substantially altered prior to Jan. 1, 1975 and sold on or after January 1, 2010. Homes built or substantially altered on or after Jan. 1, 1975 are governed by the State Building Code, which already imposes the same requirements & restrictions.

The regulations currently require two different types of smoke detectors to be in place depending upon the location in the home. In zones within 20 feet of a kitchen or bathroom, smoke detectors using photo-electric only technology will be required. Outside of the 20-foot kitchen and bath zone(s), both ionization and photoelectric technology must be installed. The battery/hard-wire rules are not changing at the state level.

These requirements were developed, in part, based upon research that shows that ionization smoke detectors tend to give false alarms due to fumes given off from typical cooking or steam from a shower. Frequent false alarms often lead residents to disable smoke detectors by removing their batteries.


527 CMR 32.00: Approved Smoke Detectors

32.01: Purpose and Scope
32.02: General Requirements
32.03 Installation of smoke detectors in the vicinity of a kitchen, bathroom or other areas

32.01: Purpose and Scope
Pursuant to the Board’s authority under M.G.L. c. 22D, s. 4 to develop a comprehensive fire safety code and under the general regulatory authority of M.G.L. c. 148, sections 10 and 28, the purpose of 527 CMR 32.00 is to enhance public safety by providing further technical qualification to the definitions of “Approved monitored battery power smoke detector” and “Approved primary power smoke detector”, as those words are used in M.G.L. c. 148, sections 26D, E and F.

This regulation shall be effective as of January 1, 2010, and shall be the applicable standard for sellers to comply with the provisions of M.G.L. c. 148, s. 26F upon sale and transfer of certain buildings or structures occupied in whole or in part for residential purposes.

31.02 General Requirements
(1) Except for smoke detectors located in the vicinity of areas regulated by 527 CMR 32.03, an approved monitored battery power smoke detector, shall consist of a working device, as defined in M.GL.c148, s. 26D, that employs both ionization and photoelectric technology, in either a single unit or by means of two separate units.

(2) Except for smoke detectors located in areas regulated by 527 CMR 32.03, an approved primary power smoke detector, shall consist of a working device, as defined in M.GL.c148, s. 26D, that employs both ionization and photoelectric technology, in either a single unit or by means of two separate units.


32.03 Installation of Smoke Detectors In the Vicinity of a Kitchen, Bathroom or Other Areas
No smoke detector employing ionization technology shall be installed within 20 feet of an entryway to a kitchen, or bathroom containing a bathtub or shower. The 20-foot measurement shall include and extend into common areas of a multi-family dwelling, if applicable.

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