Is your property ready for 2022 Smoke Alarm Legislation ?
Changes to Queensland's smoke alarm legislation
New smoke alarm legislation will make Queensland households the safest in Australia in relation to fire safety.
The new legislation specifies that all Queensland dwellings will be required to have interconnected photoelectric smoke alarms in all bedrooms, in hallways that connect bedrooms with the rest of the dwelling and on every level.
A 10-year phased rollout of interconnected photoelectric smoke alarms in Queensland will happen over three specific periods starting from 1 January 2017.
What does this mean for your home?
To comply with legislation, interconnected photoelectric smoke alarms are 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.
From 1 January 2017
Landlords are responsible for the installation of smoke alarms that comply with new Smoke Alarm legislation, introduced on 1 January, 2017.
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.
Landlords and renters
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, at least once every 12 months.
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.
From 1 January 2022
From 1 January 2022, at the commencement of a new lease or lease renewal, you must ensure your dwelling / unit meets the requirements of the domestic smoke alarm legislation. This may involve installing interconnected photoelectric smoke alarms into the bedrooms in addition to the currently required smoke alarms. For further information see below.
What's required by law?
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/or wireless.
What to buy?
Smoke alarms must comply with the Standard AS 3786-2014. The body of the alarm must be marked with AS3786-2014.
What to avoid?
Smoke alarms with this symbol are not photoelectric.
Exactly where should they be placed?
Where practicable smoke alarms must be placed on the ceiling.
Smoke alarms must not be 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.
There are special requirements for stairways, sloping ceilings, and ceilings with exposed beams.
Avoid installing smoke alarms in dead air space. This is an area in which trapped hot air will prevent smoke from reaching the alarm. This space generally occurs at the apex of cathedral ceilings, the corner junction of walls and ceilings, and between exposed floor joists.
Avoiding nuisance alarms
Every dwelling is different so you will need to assess yours. Avoid installing smoke alarms near windows, doors, fans or air-conditioners. Excessive air movement may prevent smoke and gases from reaching the smoke alarm or cause nuisance alarms.
Accidental alarms can be a nuisance and become dangerous if home owners remove the alarm batteries or disable an interconnected system to silence the alarm.
Nuisance alarms can be avoided by not placing alarms in or near kitchens where cooking smoke can set them off, or in or near bathrooms where steam often causes accidental alarms.
Also avoid insect infested areas, as insects can trigger an alarm.
For information about the compliance of your Sunshine Coast property contact First National Real Estate Coastal on 07 5444 0800.