New Smoke Alarm Laws: 2022 Deadline Approaches

By August 20, 2020Compliance, Legal Issues

New Smoke Alarm laws for QLD came into effect on 1 January 2017.

The legislation specifies that all homes in Queensland must be fitted with photoelectric, interconnected smoke alarms in all bedrooms and hallways.

Photoelectric smoke alarms are more advanced at detecting smoke from smouldering fires, compared to ionisation smoke alarms as the alarms have the capability to detect visible particles of combustion.

Research has found that photoelectric alarms respond quicker than the current smoke alarms and they are less likely to create a false alarm.

Being interconnected ensures that if one smoke alarm is triggered, all smoke alarms in the premises will sound, quickly alerting all occupants to the danger.

There are already concerns from suppliers and QFES about a lack of awareness of the 2022 deadline.

In the case of strata buildings, there is ever greater concerns that compliance will be left to the individual owners who may ignore the legislation, putting the entire building at risk.

Answers to common questions surrounding smoke alarm laws

When do I need to have the new smoke alarms installed by?

All domestic properties leased and sold are to comply with the new legislation by 2022, while homeowners have up to 10 years (2027) to install the new alarms.

All properties built or undergoing major renovations must comply with the new legislation after January 1, 2017 (this also applies to building applications).

How can I tell if my smoke alarm is photoelectric?

To ascertain if you have a photoelectric smoke alarm, look on the front, back or inside of your alarm for the words ‘photoelectric’, ‘optical’, ‘photo optical’, or the letter ‘P’. If your smoke alarm does not contain any of these, it should be replaced with a photoelectric smoke alarm.

What types of photoelectric smoke alarms are there?

You can either have your smoke alarm hardwired into your home’s electrical wiring, or have it powered by a tamper proof, 10-year lithium battery. All smoke alarm systems must be interconnected to comply with the new legislation and will need to be fitted and tested by a qualified electrician.

Can I have both hardwired and wireless smoke alarms?

The legislation allows for a combination of hardwired and wireless smoke alarms systems, as long as they meet the criteria of interconnectivity. Hardwired smoke alarms are interconnected by the household wiring, while battery-powered smoke alarms can be interconnected by wiring, or wireless radio technology. Check with your smoke alarm manufacturer, distributer, or electrical contractor to see if your smoke alarm is compatible with interconnection.

Where will smoke alarms need to be installed?

The legislation specifies that photoelectric, interconnected smoke alarms must be installed on each storey, each bedroom, and hallways that connect bedrooms to the rest of the dwelling. If there are no hallways, they must be installed between the bedroom 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.

Who is responsible for compliance?

The Queensland Fire and Emergency Service (QFES) does not differentiate between separate owners in strata buildings when enforcing fire safety laws and therefore it is the Body Corporate who is responsible for ensuring its unit owners comply by the deadline, despite who is responsible for the cost. The fine will be issued to the Body Corporate who will then need to pursue any non-compliant owners direct.

How to Ensure your Building is Compliant?

Although Strata schemes are not required to install the photoelectric smoke alarms until 2022, Stratacare are experts in proactive management and ensuring your building is compliant.

Contact us today to discover how we can assist your body corporate community!

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