The regulations surrounding smoke alarms in Queensland fall under the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services Act 1990 and the Building Fire Safety Regulation 2008. These regulations have been put in place to minimise fire-related risks and ensure a timely evacuation in case of emergencies.
Types of Smoke Alarms
When talking about smoke alarms, there are two main types that are actually recognised by the Queensland regulations.
Photoelectric Smoke Alarms
These alarms are highly effective in detecting slow-burning, smouldering fires, which are often accompanied by significant smoke production before flames. Photoelectric alarms are known to provide early warning, increasing the chances of a safe evacuation. In fact, by 2027, every Queensland home is required to have photoelectric smoke alarms.
Ionisation Smoke Alarms
While these alarms are capable of detecting fast-flaming fires, they are not as effective at detecting smaller, smouldering fires. Therefore, photoelectric alarms are generally recommended over ionisation alarms.
To ensure the best coverage and early detection, your smoke alarms should be placed in strategic locations throughout the residence. The current Queensland regulations mandate the following guidelines for placement:
There should be a smoke alarm installed in every bedroom and in all hallways that connect bedrooms to the rest of the house.
On Every Level
If you live in a multi-storey home, there should be a smoke alarm on every level, including both living and sleeping areas.
There should be at least one smoke alarm in every separate hallway of your home.
Interconnected Smoke Alarms
For enhanced safety, the smoke alarms in your home should be interconnected. This means that when one alarm is triggered, all the alarms in your residence will sound an alarm simultaneously. This feature ensures that if a fire starts to break out in one part of your home, occupants in other areas will also be alerted promptly, improving the evacuation response time.
Hardwired vs. Battery-Powered
These smoke alarms can be either hardwired (connected to the electrical system in your home) or battery-powered. However, if the house was built after January 1, 1997, the smoke alarms must be hardwired with a backup battery installed. For any homes built prior to this date, battery-powered smoke alarms are acceptable, but they must comply with Australian Standard AS 3786.
The Queensland regulations have set specific compliance deadlines for upgrading or installing the required smoke alarms:
New Builds or Substantial Renovations
For new constructions or homes that have recently had substantial renovations, smoke alarms must comply with the updated regulations immediately.
By January 1, 2027, all existing Queensland homes must be equipped with interconnected photoelectric smoke alarms installed in all the required locations.
It goes without saying that the responsibilities for compliance differ for homeowners and tenants, but what are the differences?
Homeowners are responsible for ensuring that their property meets the Queensland smoke alarm regulations by the required date.
Landlords are responsible for ensuring there is an up-to-date, working smoke alarm system installed in the home. However, the tenants are responsible for regularly testing and cleaning the smoke alarms, as well as replacing any batteries if necessary.
Updating Your Smoke Alarms
Understanding the smoke alarm regulations in Queensland is crucial when it comes to maintaining the safety of your household. Our team at Jetset Electrical are trained to ensure that your smoke alarms are up to standard and installed in the correct locations. If you aren’t sure that your current system is compliant, call 1300 453 871 and one of our specialist electricians will be out to assess your smoke alarms in no time.