The Queensland Government recently passed the Fire and Emergency Services (Domestic Smoke Alarms) Amendment Bill 2016. Are your smoke alarms compliant?
Smoke Alarm Laws Are Changing
The amendments have been introduced following a coronial inquest on 28 November 2014 in which the State Coroner made two broad recommendations:
- That legislative amendments be made to mandate the installation of photoelectric and interconnected smoke alarms in every bedroom, between areas containing bedrooms and the rest of the dwelling, in any hallway servicing bedrooms and in any other storey of a domestic dwelling. For new residences, the Coroner recommended that the smoke alarms be hard-wired, while in existing residences, smoke alarms may be hard-wired or powered by a 10-year lithium battery;
- That Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) conduct enhanced awareness campaigns including promoting the development of practiced escape plans.
These measures are supported by QFES as providing best practice in the use of smoke alarms. Evidence exists to suggest that each component of these revised smoke alarm provisions will reduce the risk of harm to residents in a house fire.
Requires that smoke alarms that comply with Australian Standard 3786-2014 be installed in domestic dwellings and that the smoke alarms be photoelectric, interconnected and be powered by an enduring power source (hard-wired or 10 year lithium battery); and
Requires that smoke alarms be installed in locations as prescribed in the Building Fire Safety Regulation 2008 for existing domestic dwellings and the Building Regulation 2006 for new dwellings.
These new provisions will apply to domestic dwellings where an application for a building approval is made after 31 December 2016 and the building work is a substantial renovation.
From 31 December 2021, these new requirements will apply to existing residential properties where a Contract of Sale is entered into or a Tenancy is entered into or renewed.
These amendments also require that owners of residential properties, including Landlords, replace smoke alarms under the amended requirements within 10 years after the manufacture date or if they fail when routinely tested.
These changes commence on 1 January 2017 and are to be phased in over a 10 year period. From commencement, if an existing smoke alarm needs to be replaced, it is to be replaced by a photoelectric smoke alarm.
New or substantially renovated homes will need to be compliant with the new smoke alarm provisions.
After five years from commencement, all dwellings that are sold or leased will need to be in compliance at the time a Tenancy Agreement or Contract of Sale is entered into.
All other homes will be required to be in compliance within 10 years of commencement.
Image credit – Smoke Alarm Solutions www.smokealarmsolutions.com.au