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Collection: Smoke Alarm Legislation for Queensland

 

Since 1 January 2017, Queensland has had new smoke alarm legislation in place, making Queensland dwellings the safest in Australia when it comes to fire safety. Additional smoke alarm requirements will be phased in over the coming years, ensuring even greater fire safety for Queenslanders.

These are the current deadlines:

  • 2017 – All new constructions and major renovations to existing houses
  • 2022 – All dwellings being sold, leased or an existing lease being renewed
  • 2027 – All dwellings in Queensland must be upgraded

Landlords and Property Managers

Landlords are responsible for:

  • Installing smoke alarms that are fully compliant with the Queensland smoke alarm laws that came into effect on 1 January 2017 (See here for a handy installation guide.)
  • Replacing any existing smoke alarms that were manufactured more than 10 years ago
  • Replacing any smoke alarms that fail to operate when tested
  • Ensuring all replacement smoke alarms are photoelectric and compliant with Australian Standard 3786–2014.

As of 1 January 2022, when a new lease or lease renewal starts, landlords must make sure that the dwelling complies with the domestic smoke alarm legislation. In particular, landlords need to ensure interconnected photoelectric smoke alarms are installed in bedrooms and other required areas of the home.

Landlords should note that failure to comply with any of the new smoke alarm requirements in Queensland may result in their property becoming unrentable and uninsured.

Landlords are ultimately responsible for the installation of smoke alarms that comply with new Queensland Smoke Alarm legislation in rental properties.

As of 1st July 2007, changes were applied to the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services Act 1990, stating that every smoke alarm in a Queensland rental property requires ongoing maintenance. Under this legislation, Landlords or agents must test and clean each smoke alarm within 30 days prior to each tenancy change or renewal. Not only this, but each smoke alarm must be replaced before the expiry date. The legislation prohibits the transfer of these responsibilities to the tenant.

Consequences for real estate agents and landlords if your property is not upgraded during 2022:

  • Should a fire occur in your rental property without compliant smoke alarms, your insurance may be null and void
  • Face a $607 fine for non-compliance

Owner-occupiers

As of 1 January 2017, owner-occupiers must replace any smoke alarms that were manufactured over 10 years ago or smoke alarms that fail to operate when tested. The replacement must be a photoelectric smoke alarm (in compliance with Australian Standards (AS) 3786-2014).

For an existing hardwired smoke alarm, any replacement must be with a hardwired photoelectric smoke alarm and in Queensland you are required to use a licensed electrician to replace these.

From 1 January 2027, to meet smoke alarm compliance requirements in Queensland, owner-occupiers must have:

  • Photoelectric interconnected smoke alarms with either a non-removable 10-year battery-powered type alarm or a hardwired alarm
  • Smoke alarms in the required locations throughout the dwelling

Properties for sale

In order to sell a Queensland property, sellers must ensure all smoke alarms are fully compliant with the 1 January 2017 smoke alarm legislation. The requirements are the same as those described for landlords (see above).

The property seller must declare on a Form 24 to the buyer as part of the transfer process that this obligation has been discharged.

Click here for a guide on Completing a Form 24

Click here for a Form 24 download

New builds and major renovations

New and substantially renovated homes in Queensland are now required to have interconnected Australian Standard (AS) 3786-2014 photoelectric smoke alarms in all bedrooms, in hallways where bedrooms are connected, and on each and every level of the residence. This applies to homes where building applications were lodged after 1 January 2017.

ACT NOW!

By 1st January 2027 all existing private homes, townhouses and units in Queensland will require photoelectric interconnected smoke alarms. These must be either a hardwired (eg. 240v) or non-removable 10 year battery powered type alarm and certified AS 3786-2014.

Homeowners that identify existing smoke alarms that fail to operate when tested or smoke alarms that are over ten years of age must replace these alarms with a photoelectric type with a power source similar to the one they are replacing, as a minimum.

Existing smoke alarms manufactured more than 10 years ago, as well as any smoke alarms that do not operate when tested, must be replaced with photoelectric smoke alarms that comply with Australian Standard 3786:2014. All smoke alarms should be interconnected within the dwelling.

  • Install interconnected photoelectric alarms only. Research shows that photoelectric, interconnected smoke alarms are the most effective for alerting people early to fires. Wireless interconnected photoelectric smoke alarms can be installed yourself or by a qualified electrician
  • Smoke alarms hardwired to the domestic power supply must be replaced with a hardwired photoelectric smoke alarms and must be installed by a qualified electrician
  • In existing domestic dwellings, it is possible to have a combination of smoke alarms (240v and battery operated) and inter-connectivity can be both wired and/or wireless
  • Smoke alarms must be hardwired or powered by a non-removable 10-year battery, or a combination of both may be allowed
  • Australian Standard 3786:2014 certified
  • All smoke alarms must be photoelectric rather than ionisation
  • Smoke alarms must operate when tested
  • Smoke alarms must be less than 10 years old
  • Smoke alarms must be located in all bedrooms
  • Smoke alarms must be installed in hallways connecting bedrooms to the rest of the dwelling
  • If there is no hallway, between the 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.

Smoke Alarm House Placement

Federal Legislation

Landlords must ensure that their rental property is properly fitted with the required number of working smoke alarms, complying with the Australian Standard (3786:2014), and that they are installed as outlined in the Building Code of Australia (BCA) part 3.7.2.3. This legislation is applicable to all states of Australia.

Source documents

» Fire and Emergency Services Act 1990

» Building Fire Safety Regulation 2008

» Building Regulation 2006

» Australian Standard (AS) 3786-2014

» Land Title Act 1994

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