What the new QLD smoke alarm legislation means for your home

Earlier this year Queensland's updated smoke alarm legislation came into effect mandating that homes throughout the state be fitted with interconnected photoelectric alarms to ensure the earliest possible warning for all residents in the event of a fire.

New QLD Smoke Alarm Legislation

The current system often relies on a single battery operated smoke alarm to provide advance warning of a fire for a whole house. This has been shown to be tragically inadequate in some fire situations. The new requirements will mean that regardless of where the fire starts everyone in the home will be alerted and have a chance to escape.

The updated legislation also calls for the alarms to be either hardwired to your home's mains power supply with a battery backup or if this is not possible an interconnected system which is powered by tamper-proof 10-year lithium batteries. Both options are a much more reliable power source than the old style 9-volt alarm.

Updated systems don't rely on a single smoke alarm:

  • getting a regular battery change
  • being in working order 24/7
  • being correctly positioned
  • being the right type of alarm

Photoelectric smoke alarms

All alarms replaced or installed from 1 Jan 2017 must be photoelectric smoke alarms. Photoelectric type alarms:

  • provide the earliest possible warning of a fire
  • are ideal for detecting smouldering fires and dense smoke
  • cause fewer false alarms from cooking fumes
  • do not contain radioactive material - the ionisation type does
  • are suitable for use in most areas

Details you need to know

The new legislation has a roll-out timeframe of 10 years. Depending on your property situation you are required to update your smoke alarm system within this period.

Existing dwellings

  • From 1 Jan 2017 when replacing alarms they must be the photoelectric type.
  • From 1 Jan 2027 all smoke alarms must:
  • be photoelectric smoke alarms only
  • be less than 10 years old
  • operate when tested
  • be interconnected with every other smoke alarm in the home and activate together
  • be installed on each storey
  • be installed in each bedroom
  • be installed in hallways connecting bedrooms and the rest of the house
  • if no bedrooms on a storey the alarm must be located in the most likely path of exit.
  • be either hardwired or powered by a non-removable 10-year battery.

Sold, leased or existing lease renewed

  • From 1 Jan 2017 when replacing alarms they must be the photoelectric type.
  • From 1 Jan 2017 property sellers must continue to notify the Queensland Land Registry Office stating smoke alarm requirements have been met.
  • From 1 Jan 2022 all smoke alarms must:
  • be photoelectric smoke alarms only
  • be less than 10 years old
  • operate when tested
  • be interconnected with every other smoke alarm in the home and activate together
  • be installed on each storey
  • be installed in each bedroom
  • be installed in hallways connecting bedrooms and the rest of the house
  • if no bedrooms on a storey the alarm must be located in the most likely path of exit.
  • be either hardwired or powered by a non-removable 10-year battery.

New or substantially renovated dwellings

  • From 1 Jan 2017 smoke alarms must:
  • be photoelectric smoke alarms only
  • be hardwired to the mains power with a backup battery (secondary power source)
  • be interconnected with every other smoke alarm in the home and activate together
  • be installed on each storey
  • be installed in each bedroom
  • be installed in hallways connecting bedrooms and the rest of the house
  • if no bedrooms on a storey the alarm must be located in the most likely path of exit.

Replacements, upgrades and installations

All smoke alarm replacements, upgrades, and installations must be carried out by a licenced electrician.

For more information on the new requirements for the smoke alarms in your home speak to our Brisbane electrical team on 3881 0956 or complete our enquiry form today.

References - Queensland Fire and Emergency Services - https://www.qfes.qld.gov.au/community-safety/smokealarms/Pages/default.aspx

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