24 August 2012
The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents in Scotland has welcomed the release of new homes in Kirkcaldy, Fife, which feature a complete set of the charity’s home safety recommendations.
Tenants who have moved into the Fife Council new-build properties have discovered that their homes incorporate all the recommendations from RoSPA Scotland’s Can the home ever be safe? policy document.
The 32 houses at the Ostlers Way development - a mixture of two, three and four-bedroom properties - feature the full suite of “safer by design” recommendations, which seek to reduce injuries from falls, poisoning (including carbon monoxide poisoning), burns, electrical accidents and fire:
- Provision of a second handrail to staircases
- Height of stair risers to be reduced
- Provision of secure cupboards for storing chemicals/medicines
- Staircase with provision for fixing a European Standard BS EN1930: 2000 safety gate
- Fireplace with adequate provision for fixing a British Standard fireguard BS8423: 2002
- Provision of wall substructure for grab rails in all bathrooms
- Installation of window restrictors on windows above ground level
- Adequate provision of electrical sockets
- Fitting of hardwired carbon monoxide detectors as a second line of defence
- Fitting automatic water suppression systems (domestic sprinkler systems).
Jennifer Henderson, RoSPA Scotland’s home safety officer, said: “Home accidents result in many thousands of hospital admissions across Scotland each year. In fact, in 2010/11, they resulted in more than 13,000 emergency hospital admissions among people aged over 15 and more than 2,500 emergency hospital admissions among children aged under 15. We are, therefore, delighted at the approach being taken by Fife Council and its partners in incorporating all of our accident prevention recommendations into these new-build homes. Providing these safety measures at the construction stage is cost effective and shows commitment to reducing accidents in the home, particularly where young children and the elderly are concerned.”
Among the new tenants are Andrew and Diane Lowndes, and their four children, who have moved into one of the four-bedroom properties in Dothan Road, which is part of the scheme. Diane said: “The house is perfect and we have so much room now. An added bonus is the sprinkler system - we can sleep a little easier at night knowing that’s there to protect our family.”
Coun Neil Crooks, chairman of the Kirkcaldy Area Committee, said: “These new homes are a great addition to the housing stock in Kirkcaldy and will create a chain of lets so even more people will benefit from a home that meets their needs. The safety features installed in these properties, such as the sprinkler systems, prove we are taking all measures to ensure our new homes are as safe as possible.”
The development was project managed by Kingdom Housing Association on behalf of Fife Council and built by local contractors Campion Homes. The total project cost of building the houses was £3.5million. A grant subsidy of around £1million was provided by the Scottish Government, with the remaining £2.5million being funded by Fife Council. A series of new-build council house developments is being provided across Fife.
In addition to including RoSPA’s home accident prevention features, the new houses are also designed to be energy efficient, with highly insulated building fabric and solar hot water panels.
Can the home ever be safe? was first published in 1999, with revisions in 2002 and 2005 and then, in 2008, for Scotland. The RoSPA Scotland version is available at www.rospa.com/homesafety/Info/Scotland/can-the-home-ever-be-safe-scotland.pdf.