Smoke Alarm Compliance

Our friends at Complied Australia have broken down the new smoke alarm legislation from 2022.


Legislation was passed in Queensland Parliament on the 31st of August, 2016, meaning households in Queensland are set to become the most fire safe in the nation. This legislation has eventuated as a result of the recommendations handed down following the tragic 2011 Slacks Creek house fire. A move that is welcomed by Complied Australia.

 

What are the new laws?

The major changes are:

  • All smoke alarms must be photo-electric.
    Building Fire Safety (Domestic Smoke Alarms) Legislation Amendment Regulation 2016 – Part 5A Section 55E (1)(b) and (c)
    – Ionisation alarms will no longer be permitted to be installed in domestic dwellings (where required to meet compliance). This includes dual sensor alarms with an ionisation sensor.
  • All smoke alarms must be AS3786-2014 compliant.
    Fire and Emergency Services (Domestic Smoke Alarms) Legislation Amendment Bill 2016 104RB (2)
    – 
    only smoke alarms that meet with AS3786-2014 will be permitted to be installed in EXISTING domestic dwellings as both new installations and replacements (where required to meet compliance).
    This does not include new installations at the time of build. These alarms are subject to the Building Regulation 2006 and will be prescribed and approved on the certified plans.
  • Smoke alarms must be installed in all bedrooms.
    Building Fire Safety (Domestic Smoke Alarms) Legislation Amendment Regulation 2016 – Part 5A Section 55C (2)(a)
  • Smoke alarms must be installed at egress paths between storeys.
    Building Fire Safety (Domestic Smoke Alarms) Legislation Amendment Regulation 2016 – Part 5A Section 55C (2)(c)
    – at the top and bottom of stairways that connect the storeys and levels of the dwelling.
  • All smoke alarms must be interconnected.
    Fire and Emergency Services (Domestic Smoke Alarms) Amendment Bill 2016 104RBA (5)(e)
    – to clarify, this amendment applies to all existing domestic dwellings in Queensland, regardless of their age.
    In many cases, wireless (Wi-Fi/Radio Frequency) technologies will need to be utilized to meet these requirements.
  • Smoke alarms must be installed outside dead air spaces (applies only to the additional smoke alarms that are prescribed under new Qld regulations)
    Building Fire Safety (Domestic Smoke Alarms) Legislation Amendment Regulation 2016 – Part 5A Section 55C (3)
    – must be installed away from wall corners, lights and forced air circulation (fan blades, air con ducts/intakes, split cycle air conditioners etc) and must not be installed too low on walls.
  • Smoke alarms must be replaced no later than ten years from the date of manufacture.
    Fire and Emergency Services (Domestic Smoke Alarms) Amendment Bill 2016 104RC (1)
    – previously, alarms were to be replaced in accordance with the manufacturers expiry information. In most cases, this was ten years from the date of manufacture, however in some cases, the manufacturer expiry date was greater than ten years from the date of manufacture. This requirement falls under AS3786, however has now been clarified under FESAB2016 104RC(1) as most consumers do not have access to AS3786.
  • All smoke alarms must be powered by consumer mains power or if battery operated must have a ten year non-removable lithium battery.
    Building Fire Safety (Domestic Smoke Alarms) Legislation Amendment Regulation 2016 – Part 5A Section 55D
    – this is in addition to existing minimum requirements set down by the National Construction Code (BCA), eg. Dwellings built or substantially renovated after 1 July 1997 must have 240v hard-wired alarms installed in the minimum locations prescribed by the BCA.
    Additional alarms prescribed by the Building Fire Safety (Domestic Smoke Alarms) Legislation Amendment Regulation 2016 can be 9v battery operated photo-electric with a 10-year non-removable battery, however wherever possible, 240v hard-wired alarms are recommended.
    Effectively 9v stand alone battery operated smoke alarms with removable batteries will be phased out by 1 Jan 2027.
  • All existing consumer mains powered (240v) smoke alarms that are required for compliance must be replaced with 240v smoke alarms.
    Fire and Emergency Services (Domestic Smoke Alarms) Amendment Bill 2016 104RC (3)
    – this now requires all dwellings that were built prior to 1 July 1997 that had not undergone any renovations but do have existing 240v hard-wired alarms, where the current minimum requirement is only 9v stand alone battery operated alarms, that any 240v alarms that are required for compliance must be replaced with 240v alarms and cannot be replaced and/or substituted with 9v stand alone battery operated alarms.
    Effectively bringing older dwellings with 240v hard wired alarms in line with the existing requirements for dwellings built after 1 July 1997 where 240v hard wired alarms must be replaced with 240v hard wired alarms.
  • All non-mandatory (not required for compliance) expired, damaged or faulty smoke alarms must be removed.

 

The above referenced amendments will be integrated into the Fire and Emergency Services Act 1990 and the Building Fire Safety Regulation 2008.

 

The new laws don’t affect everybody straight away

There is a phase in period of ten years ending 1 Jan 2027.
Prepare and become familiar with the new requirements and when and how they will affect you.

 

When do I need to comply?

 

FROM 1 JAN 2017

  • Any new or replacement smoke alarm being installed in ANY EXISTING DOMESTIC DWELLING of ANY AGE or ANY CIRCUMSTANCE and WHERE REQUIRED FOR COMPLIANCE must be photo-electric and must be AS3786-2014 compliant.
    – no more ionisation alarms (or dual sensor ionisation/photo-electric alarms) to be installed.
    Business as usual at Complied, as we have only ever offered photo-electric alarms.
  • All new properties submitted for Building Development Approval or existing dwellings that undergo substantial* renovations must meet the requirements of the new laws entirely and will be prescribed by a building certifier.

FROM 1 JAN 2022

  • At the first point of sale or lease after 31 December 2021, a property must meet the requirements of the new laws entirely.
    – this will be applicable to the majority of our clients (rental properties).
    eg. If a property has a 12 month lease renewal effective in December 2021, then the requirements of the new laws will not be required to be met until December 2022.

 

For more information including FAQ's, visit the Complied Australia website.

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