New domestic smoke alarm laws

From January 2017, new fire smoke alarm laws apply to domestic building owners.

As of January 2017, any new dwelling or dwellings that are being substantially renovated must comply with the new regulations.

 

This includes:

  • Only photoelectric smoke alarms are to be installed
  • Any smoke alarm over 10 years old must be replaced by a photoelectric alarm
  • Any replacement of an existing alarm must be with a photoelectric type.

Photoelectric alarms are more advanced and are widely regarded as being superior to ionisation alarms in most circumstances. They respond faster than other alarms to most fire types and are less likely to cause false alarms.
They are particularly effective at detecting smouldering fires, which provides the earliest possible warning of a small developing fire. If your smoke alarm has a radioactive warning symbol on it, it is an ionisation smoke alarm.

From January 2022, all homes or units sold, leased or prior to a lease renewal must comply with the new regulations. The new regulations will require photoelectric smoke alarms to be hardwired to mains power with a backup power source or powered by a non-removable 10 year battery.

The smoke alarms to be installed:

  •  In all bedrooms
  •  In all hallways that connect bedrooms to rest of the dwelling
  • If there is no hallway, between bedroom and other parts of the storey
  • If more than one storey building at least one smoke alarm in each 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 exist the building
  • All alarms must be interconnected with all other alarms for all to activate together.

Whilst most alarms are attached to a ceiling, care must be taken in positioning them. Keep them away from light fittings, fans, air conditioning and corners of a room. Cathedral and exposed beam ceiling require special attention. For more information, for fitting smoke alarms discuss with a qualified technician and/or refer to Queensland Fire and Emergency Services or Master Electricians Australia.