News

20 September 2016

Queensland Introduces New Smoke Alarm Laws

Many will remember the 2011 house fire at Slacks Creek in Logan, which claimed the lives of 11 people.

As a result of the house fire, a coronial inquest was held between 14 and 25 August 2014, in which the circumstances surrounding the house fire were investigated.

As a result of the coronial inquest, the Queensland Government recently passed the Fire and Emergency Services (Domestic Smoke Alarms) Amendment Act 2016 (“the Act”)The Act, which will commence operation on 1 January 2017, will make a number of important changes to Queensland’s smoke alarm regulations.

Photoelectric Alarms

One of these changes is in relation to photoelectric alarms.  Photoelectric alarms, compared with the standard ionisation alarms, are proven to be much faster in detecting smoke.  Any smoke alarm that is replaced after 1 January 2017 must be replaced with a photoelectric alarm.

Requirements Under Australia Standards

The Act will also require compliance with an additional Australian Standard in fire safety.  Pursuant to the additional Australian Standard, residents will be required to ensure:

  1. that smoke alarms are interconnected so that it will not matter which part of the house a fire may start in because once one alarm is triggered, all alarms in the house will be; and
  1. that all bedrooms and hallways are equipped with smoke alarms.

When Do The Changes Come Into Force?

As mentioned above, any smoke alarm that is replaced after 1 January 2017 must be replaced with a photoelectric alarm.

Also as of this date, new or substantially renovated buildings must be fully compliant with the new laws.

From 1 January 2022, all dwellings sold or leased must be compliant with the new laws and, from 1 January 2027, all dwellings state-wide must be compliant.

Conclusion

It is important for residents to be aware of the new laws so they can benefit from the enhanced safety features they provide and to also avoid the penalties associated with non-compliance.

Landlords, vendors and developers will also need to be aware of these changes, as it will be their responsibility to ensure that the dwellings they are leasing, selling or building are compliant.

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