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Background on new fire alarm laws

Updated: Jan 28, 2022

On 24 August 2011, a deadly fire ripped through a Slack’s Creek property, tragically killing 11 people from two different families. Whilst an entire decade has passed since this terrible event, the legislative overhauls as a result of this fire are still being implemented. The Fire and Emergency Services (Domestic Smoke Alarms) Amendment Act 2016 (Qld) was introduced and gradually introduces new requirements to property owners and managers in Queensland (Owners) in three different stages spanning from 2016 to 2026.

As part of this 10-year legislative rollout, a new set of requirements for Owners will be commencing on 1 January 2022. These requirements will mandate the installation of prescribed smoke alarms – along with a fresh set of penalties for non-compliance.

New Requirements for Owners looking to sell or lease property

These new changes (summarised below) are quite significant, and add a number of new obligations for Owners.

Smoke alarms in dwellings must:

  • be photoelectric (AS 3786-2014);

  • not also contain an isolation sensor;

  • be less than 10 years old;

  • operate when tested;

  • be interconnected with every other smoke alarm in the dwelling so all activate together; and

  • be either hardwired or powered by a non-removable 10-year battery.

In addition, there are new requirements regarding where smoke alarms must be installed, including:

  • in each bedroom; and

  • in hallways which connect bedrooms and the rest of the dwelling; or

  • if there is no hallway, between the bedrooms and other parts of the storey; and

  • if there are no bedrooms on a storey, at least one smoke alarm must be installed in the most likely path of travel to exit the dwelling.

There are serious consequences for those who do not comply, ranging from fines to loss of insurance coverage and breach of tenancy agreements.

If you are an owner or buyer requiring advice on how to comply with the new changes, please feel free to contact our team at Shand Taylor Lawyers or visit the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services website.

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