COMPLYING WITH THE FIRE AND EMERGENCY SERVICES (DOMESTIC SMOKE ALARMS) AMENDMENT ACT 2016

The Fire and Emergency Services (Domestic Smoke Alarms) Amendment Act 2016 (QLD), commenced on 1 January 2017 and imposes additional obligations on property owners/managers with regards to the installation and maintenance of smoke alarms at domestic dwellings.

So what are the changes…The changes are many and significant:

  • From 31 December 2016, smoke alarms must be replaced within ten years of their manufacture date or if they fail when routinely tested.
  • From 1 January 2017, only photoelectric smoke alarms which comply with Australian Standard 3786-2014 can be installed whenever a smoke alarm is replaced or a new one installed.
  • All smoke alarms must operate when tested and they must be interconnected to every other smoke alarm installed in the dwelling.
  • In respect to existing dwellings, the Regulation amends the Building Fire Safety Regulation 2008 and requires each storey with at least one bedroom to have a smoke alarm installed on or near the ceiling in each bedroom. If one or more of the bedrooms are connected by a door to a hallway, a smoke alarm must also be installed in the hallway. In dwellings where a hallway does not connect by a door to the bedrooms, a smoke alarm is required in a location between the bedroom and the remainder of the dwelling.
  • Additionally, for each storey of a dwelling which does not have bedrooms, a smoke alarm must be installed on or near the ceiling in the area of the stairway or otherwise inside the dwelling provided it is installed on a path of travel to an exit outside the dwelling.
  • All smoke alarms must now be either hardwired to the dwelling’s electricity supply or powered by a non-removable battery with a 10 year battery life.
  • In respect to dwellings where an application for a building approval is made after 31 December 2016 and the building work is a substantial renovation, the Regulation amends the Building Regulation 2006. For these dwellings, a smoke alarm must be installed on or near the ceiling in each bedroom of the dwelling or part of the dwelling and must be hardwired to the dwelling’s electricity supply.

So when do these changes take effect?…Notably, the Act imposes different time frames for compliance.

The Act will apply to domestic dwellings where an application for a building development approval is made after 31 December 2016 and the building work is a substantial renovation. The Act defines a substantial renovation as one undertaken pursuant to a building development approval for “alterations to an existing building or structure” and the alterations (or any structural alterations approved or completed in the previous three years) exceed more than half of the volume of the existing building or structure. Essentially, this type of dwelling is a new or substantially renovated property.

The Act will come into effect from 31 December 2021 for an existing dwelling in circumstances where a contract of sale is entered into or a new General Tenancy Agreement is entered into or an existing one renewed.

The final phase of the provisions will be applicable within 10 years, whereby all owner-occupied private dwellings must comply with the Act by 31 December 2026.

A failure to comply with the new legislation could result in a fine up to $609.50.

For more information visit the website: http://www.fire.qld.gov.au

* Sourced from the REIQ

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