Tag: QLD smoke alarm legidslation

Queensland is undergoing a phased roll-out of new smoke alarm legislation, culminating in 2027. It is unsurprising then that there is misinformation regarding smoke alarm requirements – particularly surrounding the installation of 10-year battery powered smoke alarms vs 240V hardwired smoke alarms.

Can I install 10-year battery powered smoke alarms in QLD?

YES! you can. It is legal and perfectly acceptable to install 10-year battery powered smoke alarms in your Queensland home, provided you are not performing any of the 3 activities below;

  1. Constructing a new home
  2. Performing a substantial renovation
  3. Replacing an existing 240V hardwired smoke alarm

Prior to installing any smoke alarm it is important to understand their differences and when each type is permissible. Information contained in this article is sourced directly from the QLD Government. We encourage you to view and read the legislation for yourself too – direct links to all official government sources are included at the bottom of this article.

Queensland’s Building Fire Safety (Domestic Smoke Alarms) Legislation Amendment Regulation 2016 prescribes the legal ways of powering smoke alarms for domestic dwellings. It states that both 240V hardwired smoke alarms and 10-year battery powered smoke alarms are allowed. See the excerpt below;

Queensland’s Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) website states that 10-year battery powered smoke alarms are acceptable, provided the three scenarios previously mentioned above are not being performed.

Advantages of 10-year battery powered smoke alarms

  • Wireless smoke alarms powered by a 10-year non-removeable battery can be easily DIY installed and don’t require the expense of an electrician.
  • As the battery is sealed inside the smoke alarm (non-removeable) it lasts for the entire 10-year lifespan of the alarm and never needs to be replaced – no more annoying low battery chirp. After 10 years the whole alarm is simply swapped out for a new one.
  • Added versatility through wireless RF interconnection. In some situations it is physically impossible to install 240V hardwired alarms – i.e. where there are solid concrete ceilings or no roof cavity.

Do QLD smoke alarms need to be hardwired by 2027?

The short answer to this question is NO, they don’t. Although there are a lot of houses built in Queensland that require hardwired smoke alarms, there are just as many that have the option to use wireless 10-year battery powered smoke alarms and still be 100% compliant.

When must I install a 240V hardwired smoke alarm in QLD?

There are 3 situations in Queensland where it is a statutory requirement for 240V hardwired smoke alarms to be installed in a domestic dwelling (and 10-year battery powered smoke alarms may not be used). Outside of these 3 scenarios it is acceptable to install 10-year battery powered smoke alarms in your home.

1) If you are constructing a new home

If you are constructing a new home in QLD then hardwired smoke alarms are required as part of the building approval process. Queensland’s Building Regulation 2021 states that when constructing a new home, the smoke alarms must be hardwired to the domestic dwelling’s electricity supply.

2) If you are performing a substantial renovation

Queensland’s Fire and Emergency Services Act 1990 states that hardwired smoke alarms must be installed when a substantial renovation is being performed to a domestic dwelling.

3) If you are replacing an existing hard wired smoke alarm

The Queensland Fire and Emergency Services Act 1990 also states that if a pre-existing smoke alarm being replaced was hardwired to the domestic dwelling’s electricity supply, then the replacement smoke alarm must be hardwired to the dwelling’s electricity supply.

Outside of the 3 scenarios described above, it is legal and perfectly acceptable in QLD to install wireless interconnected photoelectric smoke alarms which are

powered by a non-removeable 10-year battery.

Want to do some further reading? Links to all official sources in this article are provided below

Building Fire Safety (Domestic Smoke Alarms) Legislation Amendment Regulation 2016

States that both 240V hardwired smoke alarms and 10-year battery powered smoke alarms are allowed in domestic QLD dwellings.

Building Regulation 2021

States that when constructing a new home in QLD, the smoke alarms must be hardwired to the domestic dwelling’s electricity supply.

Fire and Emergency Services Act 1990

States hardwired smoke alarms must be installed when performing a substantial renovation or replacing an existing hardwired smoke alarm.

QLD Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) Website – 2027 Smoke Alarm Legislation Fact Sheet

States that smoke alarms must be either hardwired or powered by a non-removable 10 year battery, or a combination of both may be allowed.

States that existing hardwired smoke alarms that need replacement must be replaced with a hardwired smoke alarm.

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

These new QLD smoke alarm laws have been implemented due to several fires which have tragically resulted in multiple fatalities in each instance.

Coronial inquest findings noted that had each property been fitted with functioning interconnected photoelectric smoke alarms in prescribed locations, the occupants may have stood a better chance of survival.

Early smoke / fire detection improves escape time from a burning building. During a fire emergency, it was not only the heat and flames themselves which presented a life-threatening hazard, many victims were first overcome by an accumulation of smoke and toxic fumes.

Russell Island House Fire – Brisbane 2023

In the early morning of 6th August 2023, Emergency Services were called to a house fire on Russell Island, just off Brisbane’s southeast coast. The cause of the house fire remains undetermined, however it resulted in the loss of six lives – five young boys and their father who returned to the inferno in an attempt to rescue his children. The fire also destroyed two neighbouring homes and left several people needing treatment for burns and smoke inhalation.

The landlord and home owner was subsequently charged and fined for failing to install legally required and compliant smoke alarms in the Queensland rental property.

Slacks Creek House Fire – Brisbane 2011

Just before midnight on 23rd August 2011, an accidental fire ripped through a house in Slacks Creek, South Brisbane.

The fire was to cause the greatest loss of life in a domestic house fire in Australian history, with a total of 11 people (including many children) perishing due to smoke inhalation.

A finding from the 2014 Coronial Inquest stated that;
‘Once this particular fire started, it is likely that some or all of the deaths would have been prevented if the sleeping occupants had been quickly awoken and had realised that they needed to leave the house as quickly as possible … smoke alarms were either not present in the dwelling or were not maintained’.

Many recommendations from the Coronial Inquest were incorporated into the QLD Building Fire Safety (Domestic Smoke Alarms) Legislation Amendment Regulation 2016.

The legislation itself may be viewed at the Queensland Government website below;
https://www.legislation.qld.gov.au/view/pdf/asmade/sl-2016-0221

Palace Backpackers Fire – Childers 2000

On 23rd June 2000 at 1am a disgruntled resident deliberately lit a fire inside the Palace Backpackers Hostel in Childers, southeast Queensland.

The fire spread rapidly throughout the old timber building and the hostel did not have working smoke detectors or alarms. The result? 15 young people sadly lost their lives. The arsonist was captured by police and sentenced to life in prison. The devastating effect of this event is still evident on the local township to this day.

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

Queensland has the most stringent smoke alarm laws in the nation. These laws have been amended and updated over time due to several tragic fires which have resulted in significant loss of life.

Queensland smoke alarm legislation

The two main pieces of legislation in Queensland are the;

  • Fire and Emergency Services Act 1990
  • Building Fire Safety Regulation 2008

The objectives of the legislation are to ensure that all fire safety installations (including smoke alarms) within a building are maintained, and to ensure that people can safely evacuate from a building in the event of a fire.

Building Fire Safety Regulation 2008 – smoke alarms

Part 5A of the QLD Building Fire Safety Regulation 2008 deals specifically with smoke alarm requirements for domestic dwellings. It states that smoke alarms must;

  • Comply with the Australian Standard (AS 3786:2014).
  • Contain a photoelectric sensor, and not also contain an ionization sensor.
  • Be either hardwired into the building’s main power supply or powered by a non-removable minimum 10-year lifespan battery.

Where should smoke alarms be installed?

Part 5A also states exactly where smoke alarms must be installed inside a domestic dwelling (prescribed locations). It says that photoelectric smoke alarms must be installed in;

  • each bedroom.
  • the hallway which connects each bedroom.
  • if there is no hallway connecting each bedroom, then a part of the storey that is between the
    bedroom and the rest of the dwelling.
  • for each storey with no bedrooms—on the most likely travel path of exit from the dwelling.

Where should smoke alarms not be installed

Part 5A (3) also provides exact distances and measurements where smoke alarms should / should not be installed. It states that smoke alarms must not be installed;

  • within 300mm of a light fitting.
  • within 300mm of a corner of the ceiling and a wall.
  • within 400mm of an opening from which air is supplied from an air conditioner or forced air vent.
  • within 400mm of the blades of a ceiling fan.

Fire and Emergency Services Act 1990 – smoke alarms

In addition to the above, Division 5A of the QLD Fire and Emergency Services Act 1990 stipulates that from 1st January 2022 all rental properties and properties being sold in Queensland must have smoke alarms which;

  • Are less than 10 years old.
  • Operate when tested.
  • Be interconnected with every other smoke alarm in the building so that all activate together.

If the smoke alarm being replaced was hardwired to the domestic dwelling’s electricity supply, the replacement smoke alarm must also be hardwired to the dwelling’s electricity supply. Any newly constructed homes or substantial renovations must have interconnected photoelectric smoke alarms which are hardwired to the mains power supply. A definition of a ‘substantial renovation’ is provided within the Act.

Furthermore, these smoke alarm requirements will become mandatory for ALL dwellings in Queensland by 1st January 2027.

Smoke alarms in QLD rental properties

With respect to QLD rental properties, in addition to all the above points, the Act also states that;

  • The lessor must test each smoke alarm within 30 days before the start of a tenancy in a domestic dwelling.
  • The tenant must test each smoke alarm in the dwelling at least once every 12 months.
  • If the tenant is aware a smoke alarm in the dwelling has failed, the tenant must advise the lessor as soon as practicable.
  • The tenant must clean each smoke alarm at least once every 12 months.

Direct links to the QLD Government website are posted below if you would like to read the full legislative documents for yourself.

Building Fire Safety Regulations 2008 (current as at 24 June 2022)
Fire and Emergency Services Act 1990 (current as at 26 April 2024)

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