Given the recent tragic events around Australia, fire safety is top-of-mind for most property owners.
Most people are already aware that new laws regarding the installation of photoelectric smoke alarms in all Queensland homes have been in place since January 1, 2017.
But did you know that in less than two years from now, significant new safety standards need to be met under Queensland law when dwellings are sold or leased?
The government has introduced a 10-year staged approach in order for homeowners and landlords to reach compliance. With deadlines approaching, it is important to address the necessary changes sooner rather than later.
From January 1, 2022, the new legislative requirements must be met for all dwellings sold, leased or where an existing lease is renewed.
With more than 300,000 investment properties in Queensland all needing to abide by these important measures, the advice is to get organised well before the cut-off date when available contractors may be scarce and prices at a premium.
Most house fire fatalities occur while people are asleep. A smoke alarm is an effective early warning device designed to detect smoke and alert building occupants to the presence of a fire. Installed in the correct location, it increases the time available for safe escape.
Here is a rundown on the important changes to smoke alarm compliance which affect all property owners and landlords.
For existing dwellings
Since 1 January 2017: When replacing smoke alarms, they must be of a photoelectric type which complies with Australian Standard (AS) 3786-2014. Existing smoke alarms manufactured more than ten years ago must be replaced. (Smoke alarms should have the date of manufacture stamped on them.) Smoke alarms that do not operate when tested must be replaced immediately. Existing hardwired smoke alarms that need replacement must be replaced with a hardwired smoke alarm.
From 1 January 2027: Smoke alarms in all dwellings must be photoelectric (AS 3786-2014); not also contain an ionisation sensor; be less than 10 years old; operate when tested and interconnected with every other smoke alarm in the dwelling so all activate together. Smoke alarms must be installed on each storey; in each bedroom; in hallways which connect bedrooms and the rest of the dwelling or if there is no hallway, between the bedrooms and other parts of the storey. If there are no bedrooms on a storey at least one smoke alarm must be installed in the most likely path of travel to exit the dwelling. Smoke alarms must be either hardwired or powered by a non-removable 10-year battery.
Dwellings being sold, leased or an existing lease is renewed
Since 1 January 2017: Existing landlord’s and tenant’s obligations regarding the installation and testing of smoke alarms continue. Property sellers must continue to lodge a Form 24 with the Queensland Land Registry Office stating the requirements of the smoke alarm legislation have been met.
From 1 January 2022: The same requirements are to be met as for existing dwellings above regarding alarm type, installation placement etc.
Full details on the new legislative requirements, including how they apply to new builds and major refurbishments, can be found here.