Smoke Alarms certainly aren’t the most interesting topics; however, they are one of the most important. Having sufficiently working smoke alarms must be a priority in your home. When we sleep or are away from our home, smoke alarms allow our home a fighting chance not to be burnt to smithereens.
A house fire can be absolutely devastating, we want to help ensure your home is as safe as possible to avoid any avoidable accidents. The Queensland Government changed smoke alarm legislations in 2017, specifying all dwellings must have interconnected photoelectric smoke alarms.
These smoke alarms must be located in all bedrooms, hallways that connect bedrooms and with the rest of the dwelling on every level. This phase will roll-out for 3 years commencing January 2017, by 2020 all homes must reflect the new QLD smoke alarm legislation.
As advised by the QLD Government, this means that:
- From 1 January 2017: in all new dwellings and substantially renovated dwellings (this applies to building applications submitted from 1 January 2017).
- From 1 January 2022: in all domestic dwellings leased and sold.
- From 1 January 2027: in all other domestic dwellings.
When it is time for your property’s alarms to be upgraded, those alarms must:
- Be photoelectric and comply with Australian Standard 3786-2014
- Not also contain an ionisation sensor; and
- Be less than 10 years old; and
- Operate when tested; and
- Be interconnected with every other ‘required’ smoke alarm in the dwelling so all activate together.
Any existing smoke alarm being replaced from 1 January 2017 must be a photoelectric-type alarm which complies with Australian Standard 3786-2014.
If a smoke alarm which is hardwired to the domestic power supply needs replacement, it must be replaced with a hardwired photoelectric smoke alarm.
In existing domestic dwellings, it is possible to have a combination of smoke alarms (240v and battery operated) and interconnectivity can be both wired and wireless.
- On each storey
- In every bedroom
- In hallways which connect bedrooms and the rest of the dwelling
- 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 should be installed in the most likely path of travel to exit the dwelling.
- All smoke alarms should be interconnected.
To get everyone out safely during a house fire, it is essential to also have a well-practised fire escape plan.
All existing private homes, townhouses and units will require photoelectric interconnected smoke alarms. These must be either a hardwired (eg. 240v) or non-removeable 10-year battery powered type alarm.The legislation requires smoke alarms must be installed in the following locations:
Where practicable smoke alarms must be placed on the ceiling and placed within:
- 300mm of a corner of a ceiling and a wall
- 300mm of a light fitting
- 400mm of an air-conditioning vent
- 400mm of the blades of a ceiling fan.
If you have stairways, sloping ceilings, and ceilings with exposed beams, there are additional requirements to be adhered to. Every residence will differ, so it’s important to assess yours.
These smoke alarm symbols are not photoelectric.
Smoke alarms must comply with the Standard AS 3786-2014 and should have the following labels.
Landlords are responsible for the installation of smoke alarms that comply with new Smoke Alarm legislation, introduced on 1 January, 2017.
- Within 30 days prior to a new tenancy in a domestic dwelling, you are required to clean all smoke alarms within the premises.
- All smoke alarms in the dwelling must be cleaned and tested by the landlord every 12 months.
- Testing can be completed via pressing the ‘test’ button on the smoke alarm. Follow manufacturers instructions for cleaning (this is often vacuuming the smoke alarm).
- You do not need to be qualified or licenced to clean or test a domestic smoke alarm.
You can outsource smoke alarm maintenance for additional fees and request a “certificate of compliance” for servicing proof. This is not a legal requirement, however, might be of the best interest to you or part of the real estate agent’s processes in tenancy management.
Learn more about Lighting and Powerpoint installations and maintenance here.
Landlords/real estate agents are responsible for complying with the new legislation requirements.
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. All smoke alarms should be interconnected within the dwelling.
Any person can legally install a battery powered smoke alarm. However, 240-volt smoke alarms connect to the electricity supply and must be connected by a licenced electrician. For more information read the Smoke Alarm Installation Information Sheet.
If you are concerned about your smoke alarms and the safety of your home, contact your real estate or landlord as soon as possible.
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, annually.
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.
All new homes being built in Queensland from 2017 require the installation of hardwired, photoelectric interconnected smoke alarms.
Smoke alarms in the dwelling must comply with the 2017 legislation described above.
The legislation requires smoke alarms must be installed in the following locations:
- You must be in compliance with the 2017 Queensland Smoke Alarm Legislation described above.
- It is essential to also have a well-practised fire escape plan.
Existing landlord’s and tenant’s obligations continue. Property sellers must continue to lodge a Form 24 stating the requirements of the legislation have been met.
So there you have it folks, the 101 on smoke alarms.