Smoke alarms are essential safety devices that detect the presence of smoke in the air and warn people of a potential fire. Interconnected photoelectric smoke alarms, in particular, are becoming increasingly popular due to their effectiveness in detecting smoldering fires and minimizing false alarms But have you ever wondered how an interconnected photoelectric smoke alarm is manufactured to to meet the highest standards of quality and safety? Manufacturers of a interconnected photoelectric smoke alarm need to ensure that their products are safe, reliable, and effective – this is where an ISO 9001 Quality Management System comes into play.

What Is An ISO 9001 Quality Management System? (QMS)

ISO 9001 is a globally recognized standard for quality management systems. ISO stands for International Standards Organisation. It provides a framework for organizations to establish and maintain processes that ensure consistent product quality. ISO 9001 is an important indicator of a company’s commitment to quality and customer satisfaction – it covers all aspects of an organization’s operations, including design, development, production, delivery, and support. Has your interconnected smoke alarm has come from an ISO 9001 accredited facility? (ZEN smoke alarms do!).

The commercial production of interconnected smoke alarms involves sourcing high-quality materials, assembling the components, and then testing the finished product for quality and safety. ISO 9001 requires manufacturers to establish and document clear processes for sourcing these materials and assembling the product, as well as procedures for testing and inspecting the final product.

Testing is a crucial part of the manufacturing process for interconnected photoelectric smoke alarms. ISO 9001 requires manufacturers to establish rigorous testing procedures to ensure that every device meets the required safety standard (Australian Standard 3786:2014). This includes testing for sensitivity to smoke, false alarms due to humidity and temperature changes, and battery life. The testing processes must be uniform and ongoing, to ensure consistency and reliability of the finished product.

ISO 9001 certification also requires manufacturers to continuously monitor and improve their processes to ensure consistent product quality. This involves regularly reviewing and analyzing data to identify areas for improvement, and implementing changes to optimize the manufacturing process. In addition to periodic internal audits, our ZEN smoke alarm manufacturing facility is also audited annually by an external third party agency to ensure the required processes remain in place and continue to be effective.

Manufacturers must also have processes in place to ensure that the interconnected smoke alarm is delivered to customers safely and effectively. This means that the smoke alarms are packaged correctly and that they arrive at their destination without damage. Manufacturers must also ensure that customers can install and use the interconnected smoke alarm correctly.

One of the key benefits of ISO 9001 is the emphasis on customer focus. This means that manufacturers of an interconnected smoke alarm must prioritize meeting the needs and expectations of their customers. ISO 9001 requires manufacturers to collect and analyze customer feedback to identify areas for improvement and to ensure that customer requirements are met. We provide a courtesy follow-up phone call post-purchase to help meet this objective.

ISO 9001 Interconnected Smoke Alarm Summary

In conclusion, manufacturing photoelectric smoke alarms is a complex process that requires precision, attention to detail, and a commitment to quality and safety. ISO 9001 accreditation plays a crucial role in ensuring that every step of the process is documented, monitored, and continuously improved to meet the highest standards of quality and safety. By choosing an interconnected photoelectric smoke alarm manufacturer that is ISO 9001 accredited, you can have confidence that the interconnected smoke alarms in your home or building are of the highest quality and will provide reliable protection for years to come.

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Queensland was rocked by another devastating house fire tragedy earlier this month when police confirmed that five young brothers and their 34-year-old father died in a house blaze on Russell Island, off Brisbane’s Redland Bay. Emergency services rushed to the home on Todman Street just after 6am on Sunday 8th August to find the two-storey house fully engulfed, with two neighbouring properties also alight. A 21-year-old woman thought to have been inside the house when the fire broke out managed to escape with injuries.

The Queensland Fire and Emergency Services Assistant Commissioner, John Cawcutt, said the blaze was “one of the worst fires we’ve had for a long time”. Fire and Emergency Services Minister Mark Ryan also said the fire was a great tragedy. “Of course a very sad day for Queenslanders,” he said. “Our hearts break for those involved in the tragedy. It seems a tragic loss of life”. A forensic investigation is currently underway to determine how the fire started, and why the smoke alarms did not activate.

A close family friend issued a harrowing plea to all Australians on the behalf of the Children’s surviving mother, stating that she ‘just wants the world to know – check your smoke alarms and hold your babies’.

In terms of sheer loss of life from a single domestic house fire, the Russell Island fire tragedy is second only to the August 2011 Logan house fire, which was Australia’s deadliest house fire, causing the death of 11 family members. A coronial inquest could not establish the exact cause of that blaze but a coroner found there was a ‘reasonable prospect’ that all or some of the victims could have escaped if smoke alarms had been working. That tragedy led to the introduction of new QLD laws for interconnected photoelectric smoke alarms inside every bedroom, hallways outside the bedrooms, and on every level of Queensland homes.

Why Didn’t The Smoke Detectors Activate

In The Russell Island House Fire?

The rented two storey Queenslander home allegedly had smoke detectors installed, however the female survivor of the blaze said she didn’t hear any smoke detectors activate, adding that concerns had previously been expressed about them. Immediately after the fire it remained unclear why the alarms didn’t activate and whether they were in working order. ‘With a fire of that intensity it will be difficult to know whether there were smoke alarms present or not but that will be part of the investigation,’ Queensland Fire and Emergency Services Deputy Commissioner Joanne Greenfield said. It is understood the home was transported to the site around 2017. ‘So thinking about the legislation that was in place at that time it would have required one hardwired smoke alarm, that’s if it was following the legislation,’ QLD Fire and Emergency Services Commissioner Leach said.

Development in the Russell Island house fire – why didn’t the smoke alarms activate?

QLD Interconnected Smoke Alarm Laws

From 1st January 2022, all properties being sold or leased for rent in Queensland were required by QLD law to have smoke alarms installed as per below (on 1st January 2027 the law is being extended to cover all QLD homeowners and occupiers, irrespective of whether the property is being sold or rented out).

QLD Legal Smoke Alarm Requirements

Smoke alarms in a domestic QLD property must:

  • be photoelectric (AS 3786-2014); and
  • not also contain an ionisation sensor
  • be less than 10 years old from manufacture date
  • operate correctly when tested
  • be interconnected with every other smoke alarm in the dwelling so all activate together
  • be either hardwired or powered by a non-removeable 10-year battery

Where Must Interconnected Smoke Alarms Be Installed?

In QLD, interconnected smoke alarms must be installed on each storey:

  • inside every bedroom
  • in hallways which connect the bedrooms and the rest of the dwelling
  • if there is no bedroom on a storey, then at least one interconnected smoke alarm must be installed in the most likely travel path to exit the dwelling.

QLD Smoke Alarm Laws For Rental Properties

In addition to the above, rental property managers and landlords are required by QLD law (QLD Fire and Emergency Services Act 1990) to test and clean smoke alarms and replace any flat or nearly flat batteries within 30 days before the start of a tenancy. This also includes a renewal tenancy. The tenant must also test and clean 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 possible.

Postscript Update – April 2024

The landlord was charged and fined under the QLD Fire and Emergency Services Act 1990 after she admitted failing to install compliant photoelectric smoke alarms in the rental property.

The interstate landlord claimed to be unaware of the changes to QLD’s smoke alarm legislation.

“It’s absolutely no excuse that she failed to keep abreast of the laws required of an investment property owner in having the premises legally wired with smoke detectors after January 2022,” Magistrate Deborah Vasta said. Ms Vasta told the court that the landlord had failed to comply with safety legislation and a coronial inquest into the six deaths was still yet to occur.

“There’s no evidence about whether two smoke alarms that were there were working or not,” she said.

Detectives are continuing their investigation following the fire and a final report will be given to the coroner in the near future.

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A new Australian Standard for smoke alarms, Australian Standard 3786:2023, was published by the Standards Australia Committee on February 17, 2023. This standard supersedes the previous version, Australian Standard 3786:2014.

It is common for Australian Standards to undergo updates, amendments, and supersessions over time. Australian Standard 3786, first released in 1990, has undergone at least 10 updates and reissues since its inception.

Why New Australian Standard 3786:2023?

Several reasons led to the issuance of the new Australian Standard 3786:2023

Technological Advancements In Interconnected Smoke Alarms

The standard needed to incorporate emerging smoke alarm technologies and evolving existing technologies. This ensures the standard remains relevant and reflects the current technology available in the market. For example, the new standard now includes provisions for WiFi smoke alarms, interconnected smoke alarms, and dual sensor smoke alarms that combine a carbon monoxide detector.

Smoke Alarm Safety Considerations And New Testing Protocols

Safety is a crucial aspect of the standard. As new fire risks are identified and existing ones are better understood, the standard has been updated to address these concerns. Clearer guidelines for the safe usage of smoke alarms and associated testing protocols have been provided.

Harmonization With International Smoke Alarm Standards

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

Smoke Alarm Stakeholder Feedback And Continuous Improvement

The development of Australian Standard 3786:2023 involved an iterative process that considered feedback from users, stakeholders, and experts. Committee members 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 ?

The new Australian Standard 3786:2023 introduces several key changes compared to the old Australian Standard 3786:2014:

– Recognition of combination and multi-criteria smoke alarms, which provide multiple fire sensors within a single housing.
– Permission for the inclusion of a sensor unrelated to smoke detection, such as a carbon monoxide sensor, to create a dual carbon monoxide detector and smoke alarm product.
– Introduction of new requirements for mains-powered smoke alarms, temporary disablement facility, smoke alarms using radio frequency links, and assessment for wall-mounted smoke alarms.

Do I Need To Replace My Existing AS 3786:2014 Compliant Smoke Alarms,

With New Smoke Alarms Compliant To AS 3786:2023?

If you currently have smoke alarms compliant with Australian Standard 3786:2014, you are not required to replace them because of the release of new Australian Standard 3786:2023. Compliance with a specific Australian Standard only becomes a legal requirement when it is referenced in legislation by the Australian government or other regulatory agency. At the time of writing this article, fire safety legislation in Queensland and the National Construction Code 2022 still reference Australian Standard 3786:2014. Therefore, legal compliance remains unchanged, and you should continue to comply with Australian Standard 3786:2014. It’s important to note that regardless of changes to the standard, smoke alarms should be replaced if they fail to operate or are older than 10 years from the manufacture date. For replacement, interconnected photoelectric smoke alarms are always recommended.

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Australia has experienced a surge in the adoption of lithium-ion battery technology in recent times, and QLD is no exception. These small, lightweight, and versatile batteries have revolutionized various aspects of modern life, powering everything from smartphones to e-scooters, e-bikes, and home renewable energy storage systems. However, this remarkable advancement is accompanied by a concerning increase in lithium-ion battery fires in homes across Queensland.

QLD Lithium-Ion Battery Fires Increasing Significantly

Data compiled from each Australian state fire department reveals that since 2021, more than 450 fires related to lithium-ion batteries have occurred in Australia, with 157 of them in Queensland alone. Improper battery charging practices have been identified as one of the primary causes behind these alarming incidents. When consumers use incompatible battery chargers or leave their electronic devices, like e-scooters, charging unattended for extended periods, overcharging and overheating of the lithium-ion battery can occur.

What Causes Lithium-Ion Battery Fires?

Another significant cause of lithium-ion battery fires is manufacturing defects in either the battery charger or the battery itself. Poor quality control during production can lead to internal faults, increasing the risk of overheating and fire. Additionally, improper storage or transportation of lithium-ion batteries can cause short circuits and subsequent fires. To minimize this risk, it is crucial to avoid purchasing cheap lithium-ion batteries and chargers from unregulated online marketplaces and to opt for original equipment manufacturer (OEM) products.

The nature of use for e-scooters and e-bikes exposes their batteries to rough handling and environmental elements, making them susceptible to damage that can result in internal short-circuits and fires. Even minor physical damage to the battery’s protective casing can create a pathway for ‘thermal runaway’, triggering a catastrophic fire event. When lithium-ion batteries fail, they undergo thermal runaway, leading to the violent bursting of battery cells, the release of toxic, flammable, and explosive gases, and an intense, self-sustaining fire. These fires are challenging to extinguish with water or regular fire extinguishers, and they can easily reignite after being put out.

Are The Lithium Batteries Dangerous In My Smoke Alarm?

This is a good question and one that needs to be asked. It would be ironic if smoke alarms designed to detect smoke and save lives were actually powered by lithium-ion batteries that are a major cause of house fires! Fortunately the same fire risk in lithium-ion batteries is not present in the 10-year lithium batteries sealed inside your smoke alarm. Why? The two small, 3V lithium batteries inside your smoke alarm are non-replaceable and non-rechargeable and are designed to deplete slowly and steadily over a 10-year lifespan. They do not undergo the repeated energy discharge / recharging process that much larger lithium-ion batteries do, and are not subjected to the same external forces of bumping, knocking and damage that scooters, e-bikes and other devices experience – this eliminates the associated fire and thermal runaway risk. Additionally, all smoke alarms sold in Australia should comply with Australian Standard 3786:2014 which incorporates stringent electrical testing of the smoke alarm itself, prior to sale.

Interconnected Smoke Alarm Battery Safety

It is essential that any interconnected smoke alarm purchased meets the Australian Standard 3786:2014 and bears the official Australian Standard mark and the Regulatory Compliance Mark (RCM). The RCM signifies compliance with Australian electrical safety and electromagnetic compatibility regulations, as outlined in Australian Standard 3820:2020. By avoiding cheap knock-offs lacking these marks, consumers can ensure they are purchasing legitimate, safe electrical appliances.

ZEN smoke alarms and your symbols of battery safety compliance

Top Tips For Preventing Lithium-Ion Battery Fires

  1. Use Manufacturer-Approved Chargers:
    • Always use the charger and power adapter that comes with your device or is recommended by the manufacturer.
  2. Monitor Charging:
    • Charge batteries in a place where you can keep an eye on them and avoid charging overnight or when you’re not at home.
  3. Avoid Overcharging:
    • Unplug devices once they are fully charged to prevent overheating and reduce wear on the battery.
  4. Store Batteries Safely:
    • Keep batteries in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight and flammable materials.
  5. Avoid Physical Damage:
    • Handle batteries with care to prevent drops, punctures, or any form of physical damage that could lead to internal short circuits.
  6. Check for Damage:
    • Regularly inspect batteries for signs of damage, swelling, or leakage. Stop using and properly dispose of any damaged batteries. This is particularly important for any transportation or mobility devices such as e-bikes or e-scooters.
  7. Keep Away from Extreme Temperatures:
    • Avoid exposing batteries to high or low temperatures, which can cause damage and increase the risk of fire.
  8. Don’t Mix Batteries:
    • Do not use old and new batteries, or batteries of different types and capacities, together in the same device.
  9. Proper Disposal:
    • Do not throw lithium-ion batteries in the regular wheelie bin to prevent potential fires. Ensure that you tape the terminals of used batteries with clear sticky tape before taking them to your local Council’s drop off point / recovery centre.
  10. Install Smoke Detectors:


The increase in lithium-ion battery fires necessitates a collaborative effort from manufacturers, regulators, and users to address this growing concern. While the advantages of lithium-ion batteries are undeniable, safety risks demand immediate attention. By enhancing safety regulations, improving manufacturing standards, and promoting responsible usage and recharging practices, Australia can fully embrace the lithium-ion battery revolution while ensuring a safer and more sustainable future for all.

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A fatal caravan fire in QLD last year has again sparked demands for a comprehensive review of Queensland’s smoke alarm laws for caravans and moveable dwellings. Emergency response teams were dispatched to the blaze in Upper Brookfield, located in the western suburbs of Brisbane, during the early hours of Saturday 20th May 2023. Upon arrival, firefighters encountered flames engulfing the van from all sides and tragically two people were discovered deceased inside the wreckage. This is not the first fatal caravan fire to occur in QLD.

ABC news story aired May 2023 – QLD smoke alarm laws have since been updated July 2024

Caravan Smoke Alarm Laws Updated In QLD

Our previous blog post published only a few months ago identified caravan smoke alarm laws for each state. At that time Queensland was one of only three states in Australia where although ‘recommended’ by the QLD Fire Department, compulsory smoke alarms were not mandated by law in caravans, campervans and other such moveable dwellings. This has since changed with the revised QLD Fire Services Act 1990, which now legally mandates compulsory smoke alarm requirements for all QLD registered caravans and motorhomes from 1st July 2024.

As reported by Queensland’s Courier Mail newspaper at that time;
‘Queensland Fire and Emergency Service officials are working on potential amendments to smoke alarm legislation for movable dwellings “The work is complex and requires further consultation with stakeholders,” a QFES spokesman said.

Fire and Emergency Services Minister Mark Ryan said: “We take advice from the experts on matters like this, and I have asked Queensland Fire and Emergency Services to expedite its consideration of this matter”. “QFES is preparing advice for the government about this issue,” he said. “We are always looking at ways to support community safety.”

“If there is more that can be done to support safety in relation to caravans and other mobile types of accommodation, the government will always give that careful consideration.”

Caravan fires have been a recurring concern over the years, with some distressing incidents occurring within Queensland. In 2022 a young father in Logan tragically died whilst protecting his partner and unborn child from a caravan fire which started due to a combusting e-scooter battery.
NSW laws have required that smoke alarms be installed in all new and existing moveable dwellings since 2011. The Brisbane Times magazine reported back in 2020 that a Queensland deputy coroner called for the state’s fire service to consider the mandatory installation of smoke alarms in all moveable dwellings after an army veteran died in a caravan park blaze near Lowood, west of Brisbane.

Postscript Update – New QLD Laws Introduced July 2024

Following this devastating caravan fire incident in Upper Brookfield, smoke alarms laws were updated in QLD to include caravans and motorhomes.

From 1 July 2024, all QLD registered caravans or motorhomes whose registration is commencing or being transferred must have an Australian Standard 3786:2014 compliant photoelectric smoke alarm installed on the ceiling that is compliant with Australian Standard 3786:2014. From 1 July 2027, all other registered caravans and motorhomes must have a photoelectric smoke alarm installed. The photoelectric smoke alarm must be powered by a 10-year non-removable battery. Failure to comply with the requirements is an offence with a maximum penalty of five (5) penalty units (currently $774).

Smoke Alarms In QLD Caravans – Conclusion

Don’t allow yourself to become a statistic. Heed the new caravan smoke alarm laws in Queensland. If you own a caravan, campervan or other moveable home please be pro-active and make sure you have at least one working ZEN photoelectric smoke alarm and fire blanket installed today.

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Queensland Smoke Alarm Legislation

The two key pieces of QLD smoke alarm legislation are called the;

  • Fire Services Act 1990 (previously named the Fire and Emergency Services Act 1990)
  • Building Fire Safety Regulation 2008

The goal of the legislation is to reduce loss of life by ensuring that all fire safety installations (including interconnected photoelectric smoke alarms) within a domestic building are adequately maintained.

Building Fire Safety Regulations 2008 – Smoke Alarms

Part 5A of the QLD Building Fire Safety Regulation 2008 deals with photoelectric 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 hardwired into a building’s power supply or powered by a non-removable minimum 10-year lifespan battery.

Where Smoke Alarms Must Be Installed

Part 5A also states exactly where smoke alarms must be installed inside a domestic dwelling (the 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 Smoke Alarms Must 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 Services Act 1990 – Smoke Alarms

The QLD Fire Services Act 1990 says that from 1st January 2022 all rental properties and properties being sold or substantially renovated in QLD must have smoke alarms which;

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

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 on pages 90 of the Act.

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

Interconnected Smoke Alarms In QLD Rental Properties

With respect to QLD rental properties, the Act also requires that;

  • The lessor must test each interconnected smoke alarm within 30 days before the start of a tenancy in a domestic dwelling.
  • The tenant must test each interconnected 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 interconnected smoke alarm at least once every 12 months.

If you would like to read the QLD legislation in full, direct links to the official government sources are provided below.

Building Fire Safety Regulations 2008 (current as at 01 July 2024)

Fire Services Act 1990 (current as at 01 July 2024)

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Environmental Planning and Assessment Amendment

(Smoke Alarms) Regulations 2006

On 1 May 2006, the New South Wales Government introduced new legislation following a series of deadly house fires. Division 7A of the NSW Environmental planning and Assessment Amendment (Smoke Alarms) Regulation 2006 calls out minimum requirements for smoke alarm installation in existing residential dwellings.

The NSW Environmental Planning and Assessment Amendment (Smoke Alarms) Regulation 2006 says that;

– Smoke alarms must comply to Australian Standard 3786:2014 and can be powered either by a 10-year non-removeable battery, or hard wired to the mains electricity supply.

– A minimum of one working smoke alarm should be installed on every level of a dwelling (even if there are no bedrooms on that level).

NSW interconnected smoke alarms – best practice

Whilst this is the minimum standard required by NSW law, Fire and Rescue NSW recommend best practice by installing photoelectric interconnected smoke alarms in all bedrooms and living spaces (including hallways and stairways) on every level of the property.

NSW interconnected smoke alarms recommended installation – image courtesy Fire and Rescue NSW

Residential Tenancies Regulation 2019

A new section (64A) relating to smoke alarms has also been added to the NSW Residential Tenancies Act 2010. This new section came into effect on March 2020 and placed extra obligations for smoke alarms on both landlords and tenants, in accordance with the NSW Rental Tenancies Regulation 2019.

NSW smoke alarm requirements for landlords

  • Ensure smoke alarms are installed as per NSW Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulations.
  • Conduct annual checks to ensure all smoke alarms are functioning.
  • Replace a smoke alarm within 2 business days of becoming aware that the smoke alarm is not working.
  • Engage a licensed electrician to repair or replace a 240V hardwired smoke alarm.
  • Replace removeable batteries in smoke alarms every year.

NSW smoke alarm requirements for tenants

  • Inform the landlord if a repair or a replacement of a smoke alarm is required, including replacing a battery.
  • Only replace a battery in a battery-operated smoke alarm, or a back-up battery in a hardwired smoke alarm, if the smoke alarm has a removable battery.
  • Give the landlord written notice, as soon as practicable if they will perform a smoke alarm repair or replacement, or engage a person to carry out a repair or replacement.

Both landlord and tenant must not remove or interfere with the operation of a smoke alarm installed on the residential premises unless they have a reasonable excuse to do so.

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

Environmental Planning and Assessment Amendment (Smoke Alarms) Regulation 2006

Residential Tenancies Regulation 2019 (current as at 03/08/2023)

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Victorian smoke alarm laws are derived primarily from the Victorian Building Regulations 2018 (which requires smoke alarms to be installed in accordance with the Building Code of Australia) and also the Victorian Residential Tenancies Regulations 2021, which places smoke alarm duties on both the landlord and tenant.

Victorian Building Regulations 2018 – Smoke Alarms

The Victorian Building Regulations 2018 (Part 9) state that interconnected smoke alarms need to be installed in accordance with the Building Code of Australia 2014. What this means is that;

  • Smoke alarms are mandatory and must be installed in residential buildings on or near the ceiling of every storey.
  • Smoke alarms need to be located in a position designed to wake sleeping occupants of a building.
  • Residential homes constructed before 1 August 1997 may have 10-year battery-powered photoelectric smoke alarms installed.
  • Residential homes constructed after 1 May 2014 and where there is more than one alarm in the property require mains powered and interconnected photoelectric smoke alarms.
  • Residential homes constructed after 1 August 1997 require 240V hardwired photoelectric smoke alarms with an inbuilt backup battery.

Smoke Alarm Legislation For Victorian Rental Properties

The Residential Tenancies Regulations 2021 came into effect March 2021 and establishes requirements for smoke alarms in Victorian residential rental properties. The regulations stipulate duties for both landlords and tenants.

Vic Residential Tenancies Regulations 2021 – Smoke Alarms

Smoke Alarm Duties For Victorian Landlords (Rental Providers):

  • Ensure smoke alarms are correctly installed and in working order.
  • Ensure they are tested at least annually.
  • Replace the smoke alarm batteries as required.
  • Repair or replace alarms as an urgent repair.

The landlord must provide written information to the tenant on how to operate and test the alarms and also reminding them of their obligation not to tamper with the alarms and to report any defective smoke alarms.

Smoke Alarm Duties For Victorian Tenants (Renters):

  • Tenants must immediately give the landlord written notice if a smoke alarm is defective.
  • Tenants must not deactivate or remove a smoke alarm or interfere with its operation.

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

Victorian Building Regulations 2018

Victorian Residential Tenancies Regulations 2021

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Smoke Alarm Laws In Western Australia

Smoke alarm laws in Western Australia are derived from the;

W.A Building Regulations 2012 (division 3) which enshrine Building Code of Australia smoke alarm requirements.

W.A Building Regulations 2012 – Smoke Alarms

In 1997, 240v hardwired smoke alarms became compulsory in Western Australia for all newly constructed residential buildings (or residential building extensions). From 2009 onwards this was extended to also include all existing residential buildings, prior to their transfer of ownership, rent or hire.

In Western Australia smoke alarms must;

  • be positioned according to the requirements of the Building Code of Australia
  • comply with Australian Standard 3786:2014
  • be permanently connected to consumer mains power (i.e. 240V hardwired)
  • be interconnected, if your home was newly built after the 1 May 2015.
  • be less than 10 years from the date of manufacture

Can I Use 10-Yr Battery Smoke Alarms In Western Australia?

YES you can! – W.A Building Regulations 2012 allow the use of 10 year non-replaceable battery powered smoke alarms in certain situations. This may include where mains power is not connected to the building, there is no hidden space to run the necessary wiring for mains powered alarms, and there is no appropriate alternative location – for example, where there is a solid concrete ceiling. It should be noted that formal approval must be obtained by the local council to use 10 year non-replaceable battery powered smoke alarms in these situations.

House fire in the northern Perth suburb of Carine, Western Australia

Smoke Alarm Laws In Western Australia Rental Properties

Landlords renting or hiring out their property are required to maintain the smoke alarms by law. This includes ensuring that the smoke alarm is;

  • in working order;
  • compliant to Australian Standard 3786;
  • connected (hard wired) to 240 volt mains power;
  • less than 10 years old from date of manufacture;
  • if the use of a battery powered smoke alarm has been approved by the local council, the alarm has a non-removeable 10-year life lithium battery.

A direct link to the Western Australian government website is posted below if you would like to read the full legislative document for yourself.

W.A Building Regulations 2012

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Just like all other Australian states and territories, it is mandatory in South Australia for working Australian Standard 3786 compliant smoke alarms to be fitted into every residential home. Fines can be imposed if alarms are not installed, and in rental properties the onus is on landlords to ensure the smoke alarms are working.

Smoke Alarm Laws In South Australia

The governing legislation for smoke alarms in South Australia is the Planning Development and Infrastructure (General) Regulations 2017.

The Planning and Development Infrastructure (General) Regulations 2017 call out minimum requirements for smoke alarms in dwellings. To summarise, they state that smoke alarms must comply with the Building Code of Australia (BCA);

Smoke Alarms In Existing Homes Or Residential Properties Built Prior To 1 Jan 1995

A battery powered smoke alarm may be installed in these premises subject to any change of ownership conditions.

When an existing house built prior to 1995 is sold, the owner then has 6 months from the date of title transfer to install photoelectric smoke alarms which are either 240 volt hardwired or have a 10 year life non-removeable lithium battery.

Smoke Alarms In New Houses Or Residential Properties Built After 1 Jan 1995

The Building Code of Australia requires 240v mains powered photoelectric smoke alarms.

Smoke Alarms In Houses Or Residential Properties Built After 1 May 2014

The Building Code of Australia requires interconnectable 240v mains powered photoelectric smoke alarms.

House fire in the inner-southern Adelaide suburb of Netherby, South Australia

South Australian Smoke Alarm Legislation

South Australian Smoke Alarm Legislation has evolved over the years and requirements vary depending upon the age of your home and when it was constructed. The below flowchart is provided courtesy of the South Australian Metropolitan Fire Service and may help you understand your smoke alarm requirements.

A direct link to the South Australian government website is posted below if you would like to read the full legislative document for yourself.

South Australian Planning, Development and Infrastructure (General) Regulations 2017

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