You may recall on the 23rd of August 2011, a fire started in a home located in Slacks Creek, QLD. This fire caused the greatest loss of life in a domestic house fire in Australian history. Eleven people in total passed that day including eight children under the age of 18. The fire was a tragedy and because of this and the deaths of other Australians claimed by fire, new laws are coming into effect for domestic dwellings as of the 1st of January 2017.
What are the changes?
Photoelectric smoke alarms must be installed in domestic dwellings (class 1a and 2 buildings) and positioned in accordance with Australian Standard (AS) 1670.6 – 1997: Fire detection, warning, control and intercom systems – System design, installation and commissioning – smoke alarms (AS1670.6) in all bedrooms along with hallways servicing bedrooms, between areas containing bedrooms and on any other storey of the dwelling.
The smoke alarms must be interconnected and hardwired; or in an existing dwelling only, you can use devices powered by a 10-year battery that cannot be removed from the smoke detector. You can find further information for existing buildings within the Building Fire Safety Regulation 2008 and for new building work within the Building Regulation 2006 (BR).
What is the deadline for compliance?
There are several triggers for compliance, but the laws will be phased over a 10-year period.
- New dwellings approved for construction or buildings that are being substantially renovated will need to comply with the new smoke alarm laws as of the 1st of January 2017.
- Dwellings leased or sold after the 1st of January 2022 will need to comply with the new laws when a rental agreement is entered or the property is transferred to a new owner.
- All private dwellings will need to comply with the new smoke alarm laws by the 1st of January 2027.
- Any existing dwellings with smoke alarms that are no longer in working order or have past their 10-year lifespan will need to be replaced with a photoelectric alarm.
For further information, please see:
Building and Plumbing Newsflash 556