Perhaps you already know these benchmarks, but here you go anyhow, just in case. The National Fire Alarm Code (NFPA 72) (prior to 1993, the standard was named Standard for the Installation, Maintenance and Use of Household Fire Warning Equipment- NFPA 74), requirements for smoke alarms in newly constructed residential homes have changed over time:
· Prior to 1989, single-station, battery-only-powered smoke alarms were typically required to be installed in homes, new or existing.
· In 1989, newly constructed residential homes were required to have interconnected (hardwired) smoke alarms on every level of the home and outside the sleeping areas. With interconnected smoke alarms, all the smoke alarms will sound if any individual smoke alarm detects smoke.
· In 1993, the standard required the installation of hardwired smoke alarms inside bedrooms or sleeping areas. Smoke alarms were required in bedrooms to address the concern associated with sound level losses when occupants sleep with the bedroom doors closed.
· In 1996, the requirement to have hardwired smoke alarms with battery back-up in new construction was added to address non-operability during power outages.
Granted, these codes may or may not have had the force of law where you operate on these dates, but just general information to pass along. I suspect that some of you may call out the lack of, or inadequacy of, smoke alarms in homes you inspect.