New Regulations for Carbon Monoxide to Impact Condominiums in 2011

The building code adopted in 2010 by Washington State has a new provision that requires Carbon Monoxide (CO) detectors in the immediate vicinity of the bedroom in all dwelling units.  For new construction this requirement takes effect on January 1, 2011.  More important, EXISTING dwelling units (read that as any residential condo unit) must be equipped with CO alarms by July 1, 2011.

The code makes no exceptions for homes with electric heat, and no exceptions for existing construction.  Compliance can be achieved with battery operated devices that can be purchased for around $30 each.  It is unknown if any building departments or fire officials will enforce compliance, but we know that at least one western Washington fire district is currently enforcing requirements to retrofit existing buildings with fire alarm systems as a result of a code change a few years ago that required existing buildings to have systems, even if they met code requirements at time of construction.

CO alarms can be found on the internet or at local home improvement stores.

See International Building Code section 907.2.9 and 907.2.10.

If you have any questions we can answer, please feel free to leave a comment or contact us directly.  We look forward to continuing our conversation with you in our future posts!

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3 Responses to New Regulations for Carbon Monoxide to Impact Condominiums in 2011
  1. M H
    February 8, 2011 | 7:53 am

    Please provide citations to the relevant code.
    As far as I could find the Washington State Building Code does not require detectors until 2013, (e.g. 907.2.10.2 “Existing dwelling units … by January 1, 2013”) and then only in units with attached garages or fuel burning appliances.

    The Seattle Fire Code has some requirements that may apply in July 2011.

  2. M H
    February 8, 2011 | 8:12 am

    If this item is referring to the Seattle Fire Code (rather than the WA State Building Code) then I have a question about what the code really means. The fire code is written very strangely with regards to CO detectors.
    In the beginning of section 907 (907.1), it says that “The requirements of Section 907.2 are applicable to new buildings and structures.”

    Likewise the title of section 907.2 is “Where required – new buildings and structures”
    But then they have added sections like
    907. Existing sleeping units
    907. Existing dwelling units
    907.2.10.2 Existing dwelling units

    There is no mention of CO detectors in section 907.3, or in chapter 46 (which are the sections that apply to existing buildings.)

    What does this mean?
    Does it mean that the CO detectors are only required in existing units that are part of new construction?
    They might have intended it to apply to existing units, but if they messed up and contradicted themselves, what does it really mean?


  3. Valerie Farris Oman
    February 10, 2011 | 8:36 pm


    Please see today’s post ( for an update that will hopefully answer your questions!

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