General Information on Smoke and Fire Alarms

Like fire extinguishers, many people assume that smoke and fire alarms last forever and don’t need maintenance or replacement once they’re installed. But, in fact, you need to check and maintain these alarms regularly. Aside from replacing their batteries or power sources once they’ve run out, you’ll also need to test them regularly to make sure they’re functioning properly. Smoke and fire alarms that are running low on power or not working properly are practically useless.

Upgrading Smoke Alarms (Ref: https://www.qfes.qld.gov.au/community-safety/smokealarms/Pages/default.aspx )

Old ionisation smoke alarms can be slow to react, and may not give you or your loved ones enough time to escape.

That's why there's new legislation to install photoelectric smoke alarms, which have been proven to be more effective in the domestic home.

Upgrading your smoke alarms today could save a life.

Landlords​​​​

From 1 January 2017

Landlords are responsible for the installation of smoke alarms that comply with new Smoke Alarm legislation, introduced on 1 January, 2017.

Existing smoke alarms manufactured more than 10 years ago, as well as any smoke alarms that do not operate when tested, must be replaced with photoelectric smoke alarms that comply with Australian Standard 3786–2014.

Landlords and renters

Within 30 days before the start of a tenancy in a domestic dwelling, the lessor/landlord must test and clean each smoke alarm in the dwelling.

During a tenancy in a domestic dwelling, the tenant must test and clean each smoke alarm in the dwelling, at least once every 12 months.

To test a smoke alarm, press the 'test' button. Cleaning should be done according to the manufacturer's instructions, which is usually vacuuming.

You do not need to be qualified or licenced to clean or test a domestic smoke alarm.

Some real estate agents may outsource smoke alarm maintenance to another company with associated fees paid by the landlord. The real estate may request a "certificate of compliance" from these companies as proof of service. This is not a legal requirement but may be part of the real estate agent's internal process.

From 1 January 2022

If you are not compliant by 1 January 2022, you will not be legally able to rent your property. You will be forced to lose any current tenants and cover the costs to find new ones.

For An Owner Occupier

For existing dwellings from 1 January 2017

Existing smoke alarms manufactured more than 10 years ago must be replaced with photoelectric smoke alarms which comply with Australian Standards (AS) 3786-2014. (Note: the date should be stamped on the back)

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 photoelectric smoke alarm.

From 1 January 2027

All existing private homes, townhouses and units will require photoelectric interconnected smoke alarms. These must be either a hardwired (eg. 240v) or non-removable 10 year battery powered type alarm.

The legislation requires smoke alarms must be installed in the following locations:

  • on each storey
  • in each bedroom
  • in hallways that connect bedrooms and the rest of the dwelling
  • if there is no hallway, between the bedroom 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.

New Dwellings and Dwellings Being Renovated

From 1 January 2017

As part of a building approval process, requiring a Building Certifier, all new homes and renovations should have the required smoke alarms installed pursuant to the requirements of the National Construction Code (NCC), formally known as Building Code of Australia (BCA) and the Building Regulation 2006.

What are the standard requirements?

Smoke alarms in the dwelling must:

  • be photoelectric (AS3786-2014); 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.

The legislation requires smoke alarms must be installed in the following locations:

  • on each storey
  • in each bedroom
  • in hallways that connect bedrooms and the rest of the dwelling
  • if there is no hallway, between the bedroom 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 hardwired, or for existing dwellings, they can also be powered by a non-removable 10-year battery

Its always important to stay on top of requirements.  The Queensland Fire Emergency Services website will provide current requirements regarding Smoke alarms.

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