Small Project Practitioners

1.  Hardwired Smoke Detectors

Posted 03-23-2013 17:48
Hi guys,

I have a question regarding hardwired smoke detectors. For a kitchen remodel we're working with the International Residential Code 2006, which I'm not as familiar with. There's a reference for home alterations in existing houses to provide hardwired smoke detectors if not already installed. In the world of cost effectiveness I've looked into the available exceptions on this rule. Do you know if most jurisdictions actually home owners to provide these? I'd appreciate your feedback. 

Curious AIA in Chicago,


2.  RE:Hardwired Smoke Detectors

Posted 03-25-2013 18:50

In Ann Arbor, hardwired smoke detectors are required for pretty much any home remodeling project, for good reason. It can be difficult to install them, but if there's a fire in the basement and everyone is sleeping on the second floor of a home, having hardwired, interconnected smoke detectors save lives.
Dawn Zuber AIA
Studio Z Architecture
Canton MI

3.  RE:Hardwired Smoke Detectors

Posted 03-26-2013 17:39
The requirements for smoke detectors in the 2006 IRC are found in R313.2.1 for alterations, repairs and additions and they do require hard wired smoke detectors be installed when work occurs that requires a permit or where sleeping rooms are added or created in existing dwellings. In your case, even though the remodel is limited to the kitchen, if a permit is required then compliance with R313.2.1 would be necessary, unless (big unless) you meet either of the 2 exceptions in that section. Hope this helps.

Steven Thorsell AIA
Program Coordinator - ICC-ES Environmental Programs
ICC Evaluation Service
Country Club Hills IL

4.  RE:Hardwired Smoke Detectors

Posted 03-27-2013 17:56
I don't know about your jurisdictions, but CO are also required now in ours.  In fact, I was required to install them for my own house appraisal and refi a few months back.  That was without undertaking any type of renovation.

Ken Brogno AIA
Architect AIA LEED AP
San Francisco CA

5.  RE:Hardwired Smoke Detectors

Posted 03-25-2013 18:54
Hi Jaime,

A hardwired smoke detector is not required in a kitchen unless it is the only space on that particular floor (one detector per floor + inside and outside all bedrooms). Burnt toast will certainly set off an alarm so I typically place a heat sensor (when budget allows) in my kitchen renovations. For clients, the cost of a hardwired alarm is quite reasonable when the life saving potential is taken into account.

Of course your local building department or inspector may still require a hardwired detector for any renovation work. I've also been required to rewire all older detectors in a house if one is added or altered, since detectors need to be interconnected. 

If your clients have a security alarm it's an easy and preferred solution to include the smoke detectors with that system.

I hope this helps. I work with the IRC 2003 and 2009 in my practice.

John Black AIA
Lapis Design Partners LLC
Honolulu HI