Sweeping Changes To Queensland’s Smoke Alarm Laws


SSKB - Strata Managers reminds you to check your smoke alarms April 1

Queensland strata communities are being urged to upgrade smoke detectors to comply with new state laws passed at the end of August.

From 1 January, 2017 all new buildings will be required to have interconnected photoelectric smoke alarms in all bedrooms of the home and hallways where bedrooms are connected.

This is part of a 10 year roll out plan after which every home in Queensland will be required to have these new smoke alarms installed.

Interconnected alarms means if one smoke alarm sounds, all other smoke alarms in a premises will sound; so it won’t matter what part of the house the fire starts in, the alarm closest to you will quickly alert you to a fire danger. Photoelectric smoke alarms are more likely to alert occupants to a broader range of fires in time to escape safely.

We explain the difference between photoelectric smoke alarms and ionization smoke alarms here. (Source: )

The Queensland Government has announced the timetable for the roll out of this new law:

Interconnected photoelectric smoke alarms to be required:

  • 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.

The responsibility for complying with his new legislation rests with individual lot owners and not the body corporate, but SSKB recommends that all committees add a notation to their minutes to remind everyone of the changes to the law.

Selecting the right smoke alarm Any new smoke alarm being installed or existing smoke alarm being replaced from 1 January 2017 must also be a photoelectric-type alarm which complies with Australian Standard 3786.

If a smoke alarm is more than 10 years old it must be replaced with a photoelectric smoke alarm.

A smoke alarm which is hard wired to the domestic power supply must be replaced with a hard wired photoelectric smoke alarm. Be sure to check your alarm’s date of manufacture (which should be stamped on it). Any smoke alarms that do not operate when tested must also be replaced immediately.

Identifying a photoelectric smoke alarm To tell if you have a photoelectric-type smoke alarm look on the front, back or inside of the smoke alarm unit for the word ‘photoelectric’, ‘optical’, ‘photo optical’ or the symbol ‘P’. If it does not contain these words or symbols your alarm should be replaced.

Alternatives to mains powers smoke alarms Queenslanders who own existing homes can either have their smoke alarm system hardwired into their home’s electrical wiring or have their smoke alarms powered by a tamper proof, 10-year battery. All smoke alarm systems must be interconnected to comply with the new laws. Hardwired smoke alarms are interconnected by the household wiring. Battery-powered smoke alarms can be interconnected by wiring or by wireless radio technology. The packaging must state that the alarm complies with Australian Standard 3786.

The new legislation does allow for a combination of hardwired and wireless smoke alarm systems subject to them meeting the criteria of interconnectivity. You would need to check with the smoke alarm manufacturer or distributor or your electrical contractor to see if the smoke alarms chosen are compatible for interconnection.

Where smoke alarms need to be installed The new legislation means that interconnected photoelectric smoke alarms will need to be installed on each storey and:

  • 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
  • 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.

Additional information Queensland Fire and Emergency Services has a free “Safehome” program where Queenslanders can request a visit from local fire fighters who will advise them of the best locations for smoke alarms and suggest other fire safety initiatives around the home.

To request a Safehome visit call 13QGOV or visit www.qfes.qld.gov.au/communitysafety/freeprograms/safehome



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