Are You Up to Speed on the New Smoke Alarm Legislation?

Auscan Services brings you the latest information on smoke alarms in residential properties, keeping you up to date and in compliance with new legislative requirements.

Smoke alarms save lives. Reports have found that the risk of death in a house fire is reduced by more than half if properly maintained smoke alarms are installed.

Queensland now has the most comprehensive smoke alarm legislation in Australia after coronial recommendations into the tragic death of 11 people in a Slacks Creek house fire in 2011.

What you may not have known is that the Queensland smoke alarm legislation has changed as of the 1st January 2017. The new legislation specifies the type, positioning, and interconnectedness of alarms, which are critical factors for an early warning and quick escape, as well as meeting landlord obligations for rental properties.

The new legislation is being rolled out over a period of 10 years. 

The new legislation states that when replacing smoke alarms, they must be of a photoelectric type which complies with the Australian Standard (AS) 3786-2014. 

The photoelectric smoke alarms see smoke and alert you early, providing the most effective way of detecting a fire hazard in your property. These devices are critical to the new standard, as when you sleep, your sense of smell also sleeps. If a fire starts, toxic fumes can also overcome you, so it is important to upgrade your existing smoke alarms to the new standard when possible. If your existing smoke alarms were manufactured less than 10 years ago, and are still in good working order, they will comply with the new legislative requirements. Smoke alarms manufactured more than 10 years ago must be replaced, as described by the new legislation. To determine the age of your smoke alarms, the date of the manufacture is stamped on them for easy reference. Smoke alarms that do not operate when tested must also be replaced immediately. 

Thinking of Building or Doing Major Renovations?

All new building approvals, since 1st January 2017, will be required to comply with the new laws. If you are doing any major renovations to your home (for example moving walls, adding additional rooms etc) you are also required to comply with the new laws governing smoke alarms. 

How to Comply with the New Legislation

To meet the minimum requirements of the new Queensland smoke alarm legislation, the following conditions must be met.

Installation Requirements:

– A smoke alarm must be installed in every bedroom of your property

– A smoke alarm must be installed in every hallway outside of bedrooms of your property

– A smoke alarm must be installed on all levels of a home, preferably in an egress area if it is not located near a bedroom (eg. If you only have open plan living area on ground floor of your home, a smoke alarm would be located between the stairwell and the front door)

– In the case of a Queenslander with an enclosed room (eg. Laundry under the house), a smoke alarm must be installed

Interconnection Requirements:

– All smoke alarms installed are to be connected by either being wired together by a qualified electrician, AND/OR

– Smoke alarms are to be interconnected by wireless technologySmoke alarms can be interconnected with a mixture of these technologies

Smoke Alarm Type:

– Only 10 year lithium battery photoelectric smoke alarms with wireless technology can be interconnected with all other smoke alarms in a property 

Want to actually see the difference between traditional and photoelectric smoke alarms? Check out the video below.

Properties Being Leased or Sold

For properties being sold or leased, or if an existing lease is renewed, the new laws also state specific requirements for property owners and managers to adhere to. 

Properties being sold or leased need to be in compliance with the new laws by the  1st January 2022. 

From 1 January 2022

Smoke alarms in homes must adhere to each of the following:

– Be photoelectric (AS 3786-2014)Not also contain an ionisation sensor

– Be less than 10 years oldOperate when tested

– Be interconnected with every other smoke alarm in the dwelling (all activate together)

– Be either hardwired or powered by a non-removable 10-year battery.

Smoke alarms must be installed on each storey:

– In each bedroomIn hallways which connect bedrooms and the rest of the property (if there is no hallway, between the bedrooms and other parts of the storey)

– 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.

In addition to the above, property owners/managers must:

– Test and clean smoke alarms and replace any flat or nearly flat batteries within 30 days before the start or renewal of a tenancy

– Not remove a smoke alarm or a battery (other than to replace it), or do anything to reduce the effectiveness of the alarm (e.g. painting it)

Tenants must:

– Test and clean (by vacuuming or dusting) smoke alarms at least once every 12 months

– Replace any flat or nearly flat batteries

– Advise the property owner/manager if there is any issue with the alarm (apart from batteries)

– Allow the property owner/manager right of entry to install smoke alarms

– Not remove a smoke alarm or the battery (other than to replace it), or do anything to reduce the effectiveness of the alarm (e.g. painting it)

Talk to us today about your home’s specific requirements, and we’ll be happy to offer a free home smoke alarm inspection to determine your home’s needs in meeting current and upcoming smoke alarm legislation deadlines. For rented properties, we will be happy to work with your Property Manager and tenants to organise suitable times to inspect your property.  We take pride in quality workmanship, care and attention. With our expertise and experience we give you professional cost-saving advice, affordable solutions and 5-star service. At Auscan, all of our team are licensed and trained in the latest technology.

Call us today, we are ready to be of service! 

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