Smoke Alarm Legislation Is Changing, And It Could Impact You

 by Gavin Godfrey

17 Nov 2021

The humble smoke alarm is one of the most important safety devices in any home, ensuring everyone inside is kept safe from the ever-present threat of fire. To help provide that safety to everyone, the government has introduced an expansive range of legislation related to smoke alarms in the past, mandating the installation of a specific selection of devices to attempt and prevent any more lives from being lost unnecessarily to fires. Come the new year, though, that legislation will be updated and expanded upon, creating a whole new host of requirements for homeowners and landlords. Fortunately, here at Ironside Building, Pest, & Pool Inspections, we're experts at all matters related to building inspections, ensuring homes are compliant with legislation related to smoke alarms, and we can help break down the changes to make sure you understand exactly what's expected of you.

For Existing Leases Or Sales In Progress

Between the period of January 1st, 2017 and January 1st, 2022, any dwelling that is already in settlement, being leased, or has an existing lease that will be renewed, the smoke alarm requirements will remain as they currently stand. Landlords and tenants will have a variety of requirements related to the installation and testing of these smoke alarms, and any property being sold will still need to have Form 24 lodged with the Queensland Land Registry Office detailing how the requirements put forward in the current smoke alarm legislation have been met, but there will be no new requirements imposed on you.

The Changes

For any property that is being sold or leased post-January 1st, 2022, there are a host of new requirements that will need to be met. Smoke alarms will need to be installed on every floor of the property in a variety of key locations, including one in each bedroom, any hallways that connect bedrooms to the rest of the home (or, if there is no hallway, somewhere between the bedrooms and the rest of the home), and, if there are no bedrooms on any given floor, there must be at least one smoke alarm present somewhere in the path most would take to exit the building. The alarms must be photoelectric as per standard AS 3786-2014 and cannot contain an ionisation sensor, which may mean you'll need to purchase new smoke alarms to meet this requirement. This may be fortunate, however, as smoke alarms cannot remain in service for more than 10 years and must be replaced once they reach that age, which may mandate a fresh set of alarms nonetheless. When it comes to functionality, not only must each alarm be connected with every other alarm in the building to make sure they activate together, they'll also need to operate when tested, which is a critical requirement of the legislation. Either a hardwired connection to the home's electrical grid or non-removable batteries rated for 10 years of use is required for the alarms, or a combination of the two.

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