Tag: Australian Standard

On February 17, 2023, the Standards Australia Committee published a new Australian Standard for smoke alarms, known as Australian Standard 3786:2023. This standard replaces the previous version, Australian Standard 3786:2014. The superseding of standards is a common occurrence, as standards are regularly updated and amended over time. In the case of Australian Standard 3786, it has undergone multiple iterations since its initial release in 1990. This new standard has been introduced to ensure that Australian homes are equipped with the latest technology and guidelines for fire safety.

Why new Australian smoke alarm standard 3786:2023?

Photoelectric smoke alarm technological advancements

With the emergence of new smoke alarm technologies and the evolution of existing ones, it was necessary to update the standard to incorporate these changes. This ensures that the standard remains relevant and reflects the current technology available in the Australian market. For example, the new standard now includes provisions for interconnected smoke alarms and their remote control devices.

Safety considerations

Safety is of utmost importance in this standard. As new fire risks are identified and existing ones are better understood, the standard has been updated to address these concerns. This involves providing clearer guidelines for the safe usage of smoke alarms and associated testing protocols.

International harmonization

In a globalized world, harmonizing standards across different countries and regions is key for interoperability and mutual recognition of products. Australian Standard 3786:2023 has been aligned with the International Standard ISO 12239:2021 for smoke alarms using scattered light, transmitted light, or ionization.

Feedback and continuous improvement

The development of Australian Standard 3786:2023 was an iterative process that took into consideration feedback from users, stakeholders, and experts. Committee members involved in the development included the National Fire Industries Association, Australian Building Codes Board, Property Council of Australia, CSIRO, and the Fire Protection Association Australia.

Differences between AS 3786:2023 and AS 3786:2014 ?

Recognition of combination and multi-criteria smoke alarms

The new standard acknowledges the introduction of smoke alarms that combine multiple sensors within a single housing, allowing for enhanced detection capabilities.

Inclusion of unrelated sensors in photoelectric smoke alarms

The new standard references the inclusion of sensors within smoke alarms that are unrelated to smoke detection. For example, a smoke alarm could now include a carbon monoxide sensor, creating a dual purpose product that is both a carbon monoxide detector and smoke alarm. The new standard also introduces the use of heat alarms.

Additional requirements

The new standard introduces new requirements for smoke alarms powered by mains household power, temporary disablement facilities, smoke alarms using radio frequency links, and assessment for wall-mounted smoke alarms. The standard also outlines additional information to be included in smoke alarm documentation.

Do I need to upgrade my smoke alarms now so they are

compliant with Australian Standard 3786:2023?

If you have interconnected photoelectric smoke alarms that comply with Australian Standard 3786:2014, you do not need to upgrade them to comply with the new Australian Standard 3786:2023. Compliance with a standard only becomes a legal requirement when it is referenced in legislation by the Australian government or other regulatory bodies. Fire safety legislation in Queensland (and the rest of the Australia) still reference Australian Standard 3786:2014. The National Construction Code 2022 (only just adopted by states and territories from May 1, 2023) also references Australian Standard 3786:2014. Therefore, legal compliance to Australian Standard 3786:2014 is the prerequisite, and remains unchanged in the eyes of the law.

Want to know more? Watch our ZEN quick start video or call us on 0478 596 402 today.

We love talking smoke alarms!

ZEN Photoelectric Smoke Alarms

New Farm, QLD, 4005

Smoke alarms and Australian Standard 3786:2014

All smoke alarms sold within Australia must comply to Australian Standard 3786:2014.

Section 4.22.1 of the Australian Standard describes the markings and types of information included on the smoke alarm itself. If the smoke alarm does not have all this information on it – then technically it is non-compliant to the standard.

Photoelectric smoke alarm marking requirements

Have a look at the photoelectric smoke alarm on your ceiling to double check if it has the following information.

4.22.1 Smoke alarm

Each smoke alarm shall be legibly and indelibly marked with the following:

(a) The number and date of this Standard (i.e. AS 3786:2014).

(b) The name or trademark and address of the manufacturer or supplier.

(c) The model designation (type or number).

(d) The type of smoke alarm (type A or type B), e.g. photoelectric or ionization.

(e) The alarm condition aural signal pattern (ISO 8201 or ISO 7731).

(f) The date of manufacture which may be coded into a serial number or the batch

number.

(g) The recommended date for replacement, subject to normal, regular maintenance

NOTE: Provision may be made for a place to note the date for replacement of the smoke

alarm.

ZEN photoelectric smoke alarm with all required markings as per Australian Standard 3786:2014

Smoke alarms with 10 year battery

For smoke alarms incorporating non-replaceable batteries (i.e. 10 year lithium long life batteries sealed inside the unit), the following warning is also required:

WARNING: BATTERY NOT REPLACEABLE—SEE INSTRUCTION MANUAL.

ZEN photoelectric smoke alarm with 10 year battery – compliant with Australian Standard 3786:2014

Photoelectric smoke alarms – ‘DO NOT PAINT’ marking

Additionally, a notice on the outer surface of the enclosure marked ‘DO NOT PAINT’ is required. The letters shall be not less than 3 mm high and plainly visible after the smoke alarm is installed in its intended manner. Be wary of many cheap ‘knock off’ smoke alarms sold in online marketplaces – they do not have all this required information even though they profess to comply to the Australian Standard. Whilst it may seem trivial whether the smoke alarm has this information on it or not, in the event of a house fire and subsequent insurance claim, your insurer could be double checking this same information prior to making any potential pay-out.

ZEN smoke alarm with required ‘DO NOT PAINT’ marking

Photoelectric smoke alarm packaging – essential info

Section 4.22.2 of the Australian Standard identifies the information and data which must be incorporated into the smoke alarm’s point of sale packaging (i.e. the box it comes in) and also within the user manual. As before, if the information below is not included then technically the smoke alarm is non-compliant to the standard.

4.22.2 Packaging

The point-of-sale packaging shall be marked with the following:

(a) The model designation (type or number).

(b) The type of smoke alarm (type A or type B) and an explanation of the meaning of the type designation (e.g. photoelectric or ionization).

(c) The nominal sound level output.

(d) The alarm condition aural signal pattern (ISO 8201 or ISO 7731).

(e) For smoke alarms using 520 Hz alarm condition signal frequency, the nominal frequency.

(f) For type B smoke alarms, permanently marked with the trefoil symbol, and name of

radionuclide and activity. The markings shall be visible from the outside of the packaging.

(g) The maximum number of interconnectable smoke alarms.

(h) Statement if the smoke alarm is suitable for wall (vertical) mounting.

ZEN photoelectric smoke alarm packaging is compliant with Australian Standard 3786:2014

Summary

In summary, section 4.22 of the Australian Standard describes the necessary information which must be included on the alarm, packaging and in the instruction manual. It is a requirement which manufacturers and retailers must adhere to.

QLD legislation states that smoke alarms must be photoelectric, interconnected and conform to Australian Standard 3786:2014. Failure to do so could have implications in the event of any insurance pay-out following a house fire.

Want to know more? Watch our ZEN quick start video or call us on 0478 596 402 today.

We love talking smoke alarms!

ZEN Photoelectric Smoke Alarms

New Farm, QLD, 4005

Before buying a smoke alarm you should do your due diligence to ensure it is compliant to Australian Standard 3786:2014. The full name of the standard which encompasses smoke alarms in Australia is ‘Australian Standard 3786:2014 Smoke alarms using scattered light, transmitted light or ionization’ (incorporating amendment 1 and 2). The first of this two part series will review Australian Standard 3786:2014 to assist your purchasing decision.

Australian Standard 3786:2014

Standards are documents that set out specifications, procedures and guidelines to ensure products are safe, consistent, and reliable. Australian Standard 3786:2014 is referenced by QLD’s Building Fire Safety Regulations 2008 – when a standard is referenced by state or national legislation, compliance with it becomes mandatory. It is interesting to note that although there is a newer Australian Standard 3786:2023 – it is not yet referenced by legislation – therefore Australian Standard 3786:2014 must still be complied with in the eyes of the law.

Australian Standard 3786:2014 is divided into several key components – the two of interest that will be reviewed in this article are ‘tests’ and ‘general requirements’.

Section 4.17 of the Australian Standard states that; ‘The smoke alarm shall be so designed that a sphere of diameter larger than 1.3 ±0.05 mm cannot pass into the sensor chamber(s)’. This requirement is intended to restrict the access of foreign bodies such as insects into the sensitive parts of the smoke alarm (to prevent nuisance alarms). It is known that this requirement is not sufficient to prevent the access of all insects; however, it is considered that extreme restrictions on the size of the access holes may introduce the danger of clogging by dust, etc.

Smoke alarm photoelectric chamber – insect screen

How does this requirement translate into the design and manufacture of your photoelectric smoke alarm? The image below shows the compliant internal component from a ZEN wireless interconnected photoelectric smoke alarm. The polymer mesh screen surrounding the sensitive photoelectric chamber within the alarm contains thousands of tiny holes, each perfectly engineered, no larger than 1.3mm in diameter. The tiny holes prevent most insects from accessing the internal chamber whilst still allowing air (and smoke) to pass through.

Mesh screen surrounding the photoelectric smoke alarm internal sensor chamber

As per Australian Standard 3786:2014 – holes must be no larger than 1.3mm diameter

In addition to this internal mesh screen around the perimeter of the photoelectric chamber, the wireless interconnected photoelectric smoke alarm also has an outer grill which forms part of the housing of the smoke alarm. The external grill also prevents larger foreign bodies from entering the alarm itself. Foreign bodies (i.e., insects) are a common cause of false / nuisance alarms because they can enter the sensitive internal components and disrupt the photoelectric light beam.

We hope you have enjoyed this review of Australian Standard 3786:2014 and how it translates to the design of your smoke alarm. Whilst many smoke alarm retailers might profess to be aware of the standard, very few can claim to have read it from cover to cover or have a genuine understanding of what it really means.

Want to know more? Watch our ZEN quick start video or call us on 0478 596 402 today

We love talking smoke alarms!

ZEN Photoelectric Smoke Alarms

New Farm, QLD, 4005