Queensland New Smoke Alarm Legislation

Queensland New Smoke Alarm Legislation
  • Mar 12, 2019

Queensland New Smoke Alarm Legislation

New smoke alarm legislation commenced in Queensland from 1 January 2017.

New and substantially renovated homes 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.

To comply with the new laws homeowners can install either hardwired 240V smoke alarms or non-removable 10-year battery smoke alarms.

Safety Checklist (apply to an licensed electrician)

  • Turn off electricity at the switchboard before you enter the ceiling space and start any work.
  • Isolate, lockout and tag.
  • Undertake risk assessment.
  • Confirm conductive foil insulation is not energised.
  • Confirm whether the ceiling sheeting contains asbestos. If it does and the alarm must be installed there, follow safe work procedures for asbestos.
  • Replace fluids regularly when working in hot conditions. Our heat stress page has information and safe work procedures.
  • Always let someone know before heading into the ceiling space and maintain contact with them.
  • Step carefully on joists and beams and not on the ceiling material. Our work at heights page has more information.
  • On completion of the electrical work ensure testing of circuits in accordance with Section 8 of the Wiring Rules.
  • Issue certificate of testing and safety.

source Worksafe Queensland

Is a Hard-wired Alarm Better?

A Hard-wired smoke alarm connects to your electrical system and therefore always has a power source.
All hard-wired alarms have a back up battery providing an extra fail-safe.
Smoke alarms have an expiry date of 10 years whether they are hard-wired, or battery powered.

Who can install a Hard-wired alarm?

The installation of hardwired 240V smoke alarms must be performed by a licensed electrician.

Where to place smoke alarms

Where practicable smoke alarms must be placed on the ceiling.

Smoke alarms must NOT be placed:

  • within 300mm of a corner of a ceiling and a wall;
  • within 300mm of a light fitting;
  • within 400mm of an air-conditioning vent

Difference between Ionisation and Photoelectric smoke alarms

Currently, a lot of Queensland homes have Ionisation alarms. The new legislation is calling for Interconnected Photoelectric alarms.

Ionisation alarms are generally more responsive to flamming fires. They detect invisible particles of combustion. They are known to have many false alarms, causing some people to turn them off by taking the battery out.

Photoelectric alarms see the smoke by detecting visible particles of combustion and react more quickly to smoldering fires. They are more reliable and less likely to produce false alarm activations. When photoelectric alarms activate the smoke is still at the top layer of the ceiling. This gives residents more time to evacuate.

How to tell what type of alarm you have

Remove your fire alarm from the ceiling and look at the back to see what is described.

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