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Smoke Alarm Legislation

Current and Changing Queensland Smoke Alarm Legislation

Because there are a significant number of legislation changes that take effect on 1st January 2022 Landlords and property managers need to be aware of the laws that apply now and how they change in 2022.  Below is a summary of the Queensland smoke alarm legislation for properties being leased or sold over this transition period.

New dwellings and dwellings that have been substantially renovated:

  • If the building application was submitted on or after 1st January 2017 all alarms need to be photo-electric, powered by mains power and interconnected so if one is triggered all are triggered.
  • In addition for new or substantially renovated dwellings the 2022 legislation applies now.

Existing Dwellings:

The below is not suitable for new or substantially renovated dwellings, see above.

Existing smoke alarms manufactured more than 10 years ago must be replaced with photoelectric smoke alarms which comply with Australian Standards (AS) 3786-2014.

Smoke alarms that do not operate when tested must be replaced immediately.

Existing hardwired smoke alarms that need replacement, must be replaced with a hardwired photoelectric smoke alarm.

Any new smoke alarm being installed must be photo-electric and comply with
(AS 3786-2014).

Existing smoke alarms that are less than 10 years old and are functioning correctly must comply with (AS3786-1993).

Smoke alarms are located in hallways outside sleeping areas and at least one on each level of the dwelling (If no hallway exists outside sleeping areas then alarms must be located between sleeping areas and the rest of the dwelling)

Lessors test and clean smoke alarms and replace batteries where they are spent, within 30 days before the start of a tenancy (including the renewal of an existing tenancy).

Tenants test and clean smoke alarms at least once every 12 months during a tenancy and replace spent batteries during the tenancy.

Landlords have a right of entry to install smoke alarms under the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act 2008 – Section 192.

From 1st January 2022 all properties being leased or sold must comply with the following legislation.

If the property is new or substantially renovated and was built to code it should already comply with the following legislation.

Smoke alarms in the dwelling must be photoelectric (AS 3786-2014).

Smoke alarms in the dwelling must not contain an ionisation sensor.

Smoke alarms in the dwelling must be less than 10 year’s old.

Smoke alarms in the dwelling must operate when tested.

Smoke alarms in the dwelling must be interconnected with every other smoke alarm in the dwelling so all activate together.

If a smoke alarm which is hardwired to the domestic power supply needs replacement, it must be replaced with a hardwired photoelectric smoke alarm.

Smoke alarms must be hardwired or powered by a non-removable 10-year battery, or both. Newly built properties should be all hardwired alarms.

Smoke alarms must be installed in the following locations:

  • On each storey.
  • In each bedroom.
  • In hallways that connect bedrooms and the rest of the dwelling./li>
  • If there is no hallway, between the bedrooms and other parts of the storey./li>
  • 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.

In addition to the above…property managers/owners must:

  • Test and clean smoke alarms and replace any flat or nearly flat batteries within 30 days before the start or renewal of a tenancy.
  • Not remove a smoke alarm or a battery (other than to replace it), or do anything to reduce the effectiveness of the alarm e.g. paint it.

Tenants must:

  • Test and clean (by vacuuming or dusting) smoke alarms at least once every
    12 months.
  • Replace any flat or nearly flat batteries.
  • Advise the property owner/manager if there is any issue with the alarm (apart from batteries).
  • Allow the property owner/manager right of entry to install smoke alarms.
  • Not remove a smoke alarm or the battery (other than to replace it), or do anything to reduce the effectiveness of the alarm e.g. paint it.

QLD Smoke Alarm Legislation Cheat Sheet

To make it super easy for property managers who lease property we have summarised it into a one page cheat sheet.

2607 | Flier_cheatsheet_web

NCC 2016 Building Code of Australia

While the most up to date laws, amendments and recommendations are communicated via the QLD Fire and Emergency Services. It is worthwhile understanding the specifications in relation to smoke alarms found within the national construction code.

As building are constructed under this code alarms will be supplied with new constructions as per this code.  There may be a variation between this and the latest QFES legislation.

We recommend referencing the following sections of the code.

Volume 1:  Specification E2.2A

Volume 2:  Part 3.7.2

QLD Government Recommendations

Source:

https://www.qfes.qld.gov.au/community-safety/smokealarms/Pages/default.aspx

This is an extract of text taken from the QLD Government website in relation to smoke alarms.

When you sleep, your sense of smell also sleeps. If a fire starts, toxic fumes can overcome you.

Photoelectric smoke alarms see smoke and will alert you early, so you can escape.

With interconnected alarms, you will be alerted no matter where you are, or where the fire starts.

New legislation specifies the type, positioning, and interconnectedness of alarms, which are critical factors for an early warning and quick escape.

As people become more familiar with the new smoke alarm legislation and what is required, QFES advises they should continue to maintain their current smoke alarms and also practice their fire escape plans.

If you require any further information regarding the maintenance or installation of your smoke alarms, please contact QFES directly at SmokeAlarms@qfes.qld.gov.au

QFES Advice on Maintaining Smoke Alarms

Source: https://www.qfes.qld.gov.au/communitysafety/smokealarms/pdf/QFES-InfoSheet-SAMaintain.pdf

The following text is an extract taken from a QFES fact sheet in relation to maintaining smoke alarms.

Maintenance

How do I keep my smoke alarms working?

Smoke alarms can only save lives if they are well maintained and work properly.

Steps to remember:

Read the manufacturer’s instructions.

Once a month check the battery by pressing the test button. If you cannot reach the button easily, use a broom handle.

Keep them clean. Dust and debris can interfere with their operation, so vacuum over and around your smoke alarm regularly.

Replace the batteries at least once a year. Pick a memorable day (e.g. April Fool’s Day, anniversary or your birthday) and replace the batteries each year on that day. In most models when batteries are low the detector will sound a short ‘BEEP’ every minute or so. This is your reminder to replace the battery.

Smoke alarms powered by a 10-year lithium battery are tamper proof and Batteries cannot be replaced.

Smoke alarms must never be painted.

If cooking smoke sets off the alarm, do not disable it. Turn on the range fan, open a window or wave a towel near the alarm until the alarm stops beeping; or use the hush button (if fitted).

Do not remove the batteries from your smoke alarm.

All types of smoke alarms have a limited life-span. They should be replaced prior to the expiry date on the manufacturer’s warranty.

Activefire Certified Smoke Alarms

This is a list of the smoke alarm models that comply with the “Australian Standard AS 3786-1993”, has the “Standards Australian Mark” or is “Scientific Services Laboratory certified”.

Click Here: http://www.activfire.gov.au/smokeAlarmsRfpeExtract.asp?optQueryType=&prsn=1&pren=120&qryStateTerritory=QLD&pf=true

RTA Recommendations

Source: https://www.rta.qld.gov.au/Renting/During-a-tenancy/Maintenance-and-repairs/Smoke-alarms

This is an extract of text taken from the RTA website in relation to smoke alarm legislation.

The Fire and Emergency Services (Domestic Smoke Alarms) Amendment Act 2016 (Qld) commenced on 1 January 2017 and imposes additional obligations on property owners/managers with regards to the installation and maintenance of smoke alarms at domestic dwellings.

If the existing smoke alarms were manufactured less than 10 years ago, and are still in good working order, they will comply with the new legislative requirements.

However, it is important for property owners/managers to understand the new requirements and the timeframes that apply.

Find out more about the new smoke alarm legislation from Queensland Fire and Emergency Services.

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How the new legislation effects dwellings being sold, leased or an existing lease is renewed

From 1 January 2017

  • When replacing smoke alarms, they must be of a photoelectric type which complies with Australian Standard (AS) 3786-2014.
  • Existing smoke alarms, manufactured more than 10 years ago, must be replaced (Note: smoke alarms should have the date of manufacture stamped on them).
  • Smoke alarms that do not operate when tested must be replaced immediately.
  • Existing hardwired smoke alarms, that need replacing, must be replaced with a hardwired photoelectric smoke alarm.

From 1st January 2022:

  • Smoke alarms in all dwellings must:
  • be photoelectric (AS 3786-2014); and
  • not also contain an ionisation sensor; and
  • be less than 10 years old; and
  • operate when tested; and
  • be interconnected with every other smoke alarm in the dwelling so all activate together; and
  • be either hardwired or powered by a non-removable 10-year battery.

Smoke alarms must be installed on each storey:

  • in each bedroom; and
  • in hallways which connect bedrooms and the rest of the dwelling; or
  • if there is no hallway, between the bedrooms and other parts of the storey; and
  • 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.

In addition to the above, property owners/managers must:

  • test and clean smoke alarms and replace any flat or nearly flat batteries within 30 days of the start or renewal of a tenancy
  • not remove a smoke alarm or a battery (other than to replace it), or do anything to reduce the effectiveness of the alarm e.g. paint it.

Tenants must:

  • test and clean (by vacuuming or dusting) smoke alarms at least once every 12 months
  • replace any flat or nearly flat batteries
  • advise the property owner/manager if there is any issue with the alarm (apart from batteries)
  • allow the property owner/manager right of entry to install smoke alarms.
  • not remove a smoke alarm or the battery (other than to replace it), or do anything to reduce the effectiveness of the alarm e.g. paint it.

QLD Smoke Alarm Legislation Amendment Bill

The amendment bill comes in two parts.  We recommend following these links to see the detail:

Fire and Emergency Services (Domestic Smoke Alarms) Amendment Bill 2016.

Amendment Bill Explanatory Notes.

REFERENCES

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