Smoke alarm legislation varies by state and can be complicated. Our services and regular checkups give you peace of mind that you’re protected.
If you are the owner of a property, it is your legal duty to keep abreast of changing legislation regarding property safety and damage protection practices. Guardian Smoke Alarms does the hard work for you by providing an expert service, ensuring all federal and state-based legislations and requirements are met when it comes to smoke alarm safety and compliance.
How does the system work?
In general, landlords are responsible for the installation of smoke alarms and ensuring their regular maintenance. They are also expected to replace them when faulty or expired.
Additionally, Agents may be contractually obliged to inform landlords of this responsibility and must ensure that the smoke alarms in the properties they manage are compliant with legislation.
To ensure all protective measures are being taken and tenants are safe within your property, Guardian Smoke Alarms keeps a digital audit trail of every service and interaction, as evidence of your efforts to keep properties compliant.
Federal requirements are contained in two sets of regulations read together: The Building Code of Australia 2016 and Australian Standards AS 3786-2014.
Smoke alarms must be installed properly in required positions according to the Building Code, and Smoke alarms must comply in design and performance standards according to the Australian Standards.
Each state individually adopts parts of the Building Code and Australian Standards. So, while the Building Code and Australian Standards set out a uniform standard, it is important to understand the different legislative requirements for smoke alarms in each state.
Read below to learn more about the requirements in your state.
Changes to Victorian legislation will be published in May 2020 and become effective on 1 January 2021. To help you understand the changes, we’ve compared the current and new legislation below.
New legislation (from 1 January 2021)
- Rental provider is responsible for the installation of smoke alarms
- Smoke alarms must be installed according to specifications outlined in the regulations* and manufacturer’s instructions.
- Rental provider is responsible for ensuring smoke alarms are tested according to manufacturer’s instructions at least once every 12 months
- Rental provider is responsible for replacing batteries as required
- Rental provider must immediately arrange for smoke alarm repair/replacement as an urgent repair when notified by the renter
Installation & Communication:
- Rental provider must provide new renters with information (in writing) about how each smoke alarm works, how to test each smoke alarm on the premises, and about the renter’s obligations to not tamper with smoke alarms and to report non-working smoke alarms
- Renter must give written notice to rental provider as soon as practicable if a smoke alarm is not in working order (then the rental provider must immediately arrange for repair)
*Specifications for smoke alarm installation (current and future)
The guidelines below reflect current legislative requirements and will continue as requirements under the new regulations from January 2021
- The Victorian Building Regulations 2018 requires smoke alarms to be installed in
accordance with the Building Code of Australia (BCA). Importantly:
- Smoke alarms are compulsory and must be installed in residential buildings on or near the ceiling of every story.
- Smoke alarms need to be located in a position designed to wake sleeping occupants of a building and give them time and safe passage to evacuate the building.
- Residential homes constructed before 1 August 1997 require only 9-volt battery-powered smoke alarms.
- Residential homes constructed after 1 August 1997 require 240-volt hard-wired smoke alarms with a backup battery.
- Landlords are responsible for the installation of smoke alarms, and are also required to maintain the rented premises in good repair under the Residential Tenancies Act.
Currently, to work out what “good repair” means for a smoke alarm, we look to authorities such as the Metropolitan Fire Brigade.
According to the Metropolitan Fire Brigade Website:
- Smoke alarms should be tested according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Batteries should be changed and alarms cleaned at least annually.
- Smoke alarms have a manufacturer-recommended life of ten years. Thus after 10 years all smoke alarms need to be replaced.
- MFB recommends the use of photoelectric smoke alarms when installing or replacing existing smoke alarms.