The Fire and Emergency Services (Domestic Smoke Alarms) Amendment Act 2016 Qld commenced on 1st January, 2017 but there is no need to panic. This legislation affects all Queensland dwellings however there is a phase-in roll-out period giving us all enough time to comply.
For rental and for sale properties, the property owner will have until 1st January, 2022 to comply and owner occupiers will have another nine years, until 1st January, 2027. Only new or significantly renovated dwellings need to comply immediately with the new regulations which require interconnected smoke alarms in every bedroom, connecting hallway and every storey of the dwelling.
One could assume that this “phase-in roll-out period” was adopted to give property owners the time to understand the new legislative requirements and make financial allowances necessary for compliance on time.
One could also assume that failure to adhere to the regulations will affect your home insurance and the ability to sell or rent your property in future.
Mr Andrew Zillman, an Accredited Master Electrician of Queensland Smoke Alarms is concerned that after 12 months from the commencement of this Amendment Act, he is finding the majority of Queenslanders are either unaware of the new smoke alarm regulations or are confused with what
they need to do to and by when.
He’s also concerned that shonky operators who are not licensed are out there trying to cash in and mislead the consumer. Industry warnings have already been issued advising real estate agents,
landlords, tenants and owner occupiers to be cautious of unscrupulous operators entering this
market place and taking advantage of the planned legislative changes. This has already started
leaving consumers at considerable risk and liability. It’s apparent that there are also electricians and
tradesman who are simply not up to speed with the new regulations unknowingly giving the wrong
advice. Mr Zillman said “The last thing our industry needs is a repeat of the insulation fiasco or the
pool fence compliance debacle”. These practices are causing the consumer unnecessary costs,
confusion and compromising their safety.
The Queensland Fire & Emergency Service recommends that for better protection more alarms than
the minimum be installed, however being told that you must install extra smoke alarms right now to
comply with the phasing-in regulation is incorrect and profit inspired. The decision on when to
install within the legislated time frame is entirely in the hands of the consumer.
We are finding that property owners who are selling their properties are commonly falling into this
“must comply immediately” trap causing adding more expenses unnecessarily to the sale of their
property as those for sale don’t need the aforementioned installations in order to be compliant to
sell or to rent their property right now but they will in four years’ time by 1.1.22. Currently the
dwelling only requires a minimum of only one alarm outside of the sleeping areas and one alarm on
each storey of the home. They do not have to be interconnected but they do have to be operational
and be less than 10 years old. If they aren’t, then they must be replaced with a photoelectric type
smoke alarm which complies with the Australian Standard (AS) 3786-2014 not an ironisation smoke
alarm. Ionisation detectors respond to what the industry calls “fast-flame” fires but
photoelectric alarms detect smouldering fires allowing occupants more time to escape or to prevent
a fire. This new regulation was introduced for a reason, simply to save lives.
If you are an owner occupier then you have another nine years until 1.1.27 to act on the future
regulations; if, however, you need to replace a smoke alarm due to its either expiring or failing an
operational test, then it must be replaced with a photoelectric type smoke alarm. If the alarm is
hardwired, then it must be replaced with a hardwired photoelectric smoke alarm which satisfies the
Australian Standard (AS) 3786-2014.
To avoid unnecessary costs and dishonest operators, Queensland homeowners should become
familiar with what is required and when it’s required for the type of dwelling and the circumstance.
It’s very important to be aware that only an electrician can install mains-powered (hardwired) smoke
When you’re dealing with both personal safety and a valuable material asset, it is worth seeking the
best protection you can get. Fire and electricity should be treated with the utmost respect so it’s
reassuring to select the highest qualified and experienced tradespeople to look after your fire safety
installations and maintenance.
More information can be found on the Queensland Fire & Emergency website
www.qfes.qld.gov.au/community-safety/smokealarms and to find your local Master
Electrician visit www.masterelectricians.com.au or to book online visit www.queenslandsmokealarms.com.au