Smoke Alarm Legislation

Federal Legislation

Landlords must ensure their rental property is properly fitted with the required number of working smoke alarms, complying with the Australian Standard (3786:2014), and they are installed as outlined in the Building Code of Australia (BCA) part 3.7.2. This legislation is applicable to all states of Australia. Current Requirements means the legislative requirements stipulated by the Development Regulation 2008 and the National Construction Code. Considerations around compliance of the smoke alarms at the Inspection Address are the types of smoke alarms and smoke alarm installations, build dates, including dates of significant renovations, and building classes.

New dwellings and dwellings being substantially renovated

From 1 January 2017 The development approval process for new dwellings and substantial renovations will ensure that building approvals received on or after this date will bring dwellings into compliance with the new laws.

For existing dwellings, dwellings being sold, leased or an existing lease is renewed

From 1 January 2017 When replacing smoke alarms, they must be of a photoelectric type which complies with Australian Standard (AS) 3786-2014. From 1 January 2022 Existing landlords and tenants’ obligations regarding the installation and testing of smoke alarms continue. Property sellers must continue to lodge a Form 24 with the Queensland Land Registry Office stating the requirements of the smoke alarm legislation have been met.

Replacing Smoke Alarms

Existing smoke alarms manufactured more than ten years ago must be replaced. (Note: Smoke alarms should have the date of manufacture stamped on them). Smoke alarms that do not operate when tested must be replaced immediately. Existing hardwired smoke alarms that need replacement must be replaced with a hardwired smoke alarm. From 1 January 2027

State Legislation

Dwellings – houses, townhouses (Class 1A) and units (Class 2). Photoelectric – the method the device uses to detect smoke. Hardwired – connected to the domestic dwelling’s electricity supply. Interconnected – if one smoke alarm sounds all the other smoke alarms will also sound. Interconnection can be wired or wireless. Substantial – work carried out under a building development approval or the total building works equals 50% of the dwelling over 3 years. Storey – a space within a building which is situated between one floor level and the floor level or roof above.

Smoke alarms must be installed on each storey

As Indicated: – in each bedroom; and – in hallways which connect bedrooms and the rest of the dwelling; or – if there is no hallway, between the bedrooms and other parts of the storey; and – if there are no bedrooms on a storey at least one smoke alarm must be installed in the most likely path of travel to exit the dwelling. – Smoke alarms must be either hardwired or powered by a non-removable 10-year battery.

Prescribed locations for installing smoke alarms

Where practicable smoke alarms must be placed on the ceiling. Smoke alarms must not be placed: – within 300mm of a corner of a ceiling and a wall; – within 300mm of a light fitting; – within 400mm of an air-conditioning vent; – within 400mm of the blades of a ceiling fan. There are special requirements for stairways, sloping ceilings, and ceilings with exposed beams. Specific requirements will be explained in the Building Fire Safety Regulation 2008. If impractical for the prescribed location requirements to be met (e.g. may be affected by steam from shower or fumes from cooking), the owner may put the alarm at another location that will provide a warning to occupants of the dwelling.

Smoke alarms in the dwelling

Must Be: – be photoelectric (AS 3786-2014); and – not also contain an ionisation sensor; and – be hardwired to the mains power supply with a secondary power source (i.e. battery); and – be interconnected with every other smoke alarm in the dwelling so all activate together.

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