Smoke alarm fact sheet
LEGISLATION
QLD
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
QUEENSLAND
Is Smoke Alarm Servicing Law?
The QLD Fire and Rescue Amendment Act 2006, states that Smoke Alarms in rental properties must be working,
tested & made compliant to Australian Standards within 30 days PRIOR to the start of a tenancy change or tenancy
renewal.
Why use 1300 Compliance Services?
This is the most cost effective, professional and safest solution for Agents/Landlords to handle this ongoing
compliance responsibility and duty of care. 1300 Compliance Services can perform an inspection, test &
maintenance service as per Australian Standards, manufacturer’s specifications, the Building Code and QLD
Legislative requirements. We transfer risk in the event of a fire or fatality away from the Agent/Landlord.
Our Packages
We offer a smoke alarm service or a compliance bundle service which includes 3 services: smoke alarm servicing, a
safety switch service and a corded window service to ensure compliance to ACCC Mandatory Standards. These
services are all conducted at the one time.
Depending on the package chosen, if a corded window covering is not compliant, you agree to us installing the
necessary cleats, tensioning devices and warning labels to ensure compliance is achieved. Cost is $5 for each corded
window covering made compliant (if applicable).
Note: We do not repair window coverings that are damaged, faulty or not working.
Can I do it myself?
Agents/Landlords can choose to perform all these tasks themselves and take full responsibility for both the
installation and/or maintenance of all alarms, testing safety switches and corded window compliance to comply
with regulations. They take on all risk and personal litigation in the event of a fire or fatality.
Permission to Install 9V Alarms?
Depending on the package chosen, if we find that a 9V battery alarm is faulty, missing, damaged or expired they will
install the necessary 9V photoelectric alarms to make the property compliant with Australian and State Legislation
Standards whilst at the property.
Quoting on Mains-Powered electrical Alarms?
Depending on the package chosen, if we find that a mains-powered alarm is faulty, missing, damaged or expired, we
will provide a quote for authorisation to proceed before changing the mains-powered alarm to make the property
compliant with Australian and State Legislation Standards.
How many Inspections occur per year?
The first inspection becomes the FIXED annual anniversary date for renewal of the Service Agreement. Then
subsequent inspections will fall into line with your tenancy renewals. If there are two tenancy renewals in a year,
then we will inspect twice that year. If you do not notify us of any renewals we will provide a MINIMUM of one
inspection per year.
Why we only use Photoelectric Smoke Alarms?
Research shows that Photoelectric Smoke Alarms are generally more effective than Ionisation Smoke Alarms across
a wider range of fires and recommended by QLD Fire Service and 1300 Smoke Alarms.
Renewal of service?
This service will be renewed yearly unless notified in writing to ensure protection year on year. A renewal will be
issued 30 days prior to the annual anniversary of each service.
How much do Photoelectric (PE) alarm replacements cost?
If a smoke alarm is required to be installed we install the following photoelectric alarms:
9V Battery Smoke Alarm
$ 35
9V 10-Year Lithium Smoke Alarm
$ 95
240V Mains-Powered Smoke Alarm (replace existing)
from $135 (our electrician required)
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Information Sheet
Ver 03/15
Smoke Alarm Installation
Queensland Fire
Recommendation
and
Emergency
Services’
• All residential accommodation be itted with
photoelectric type smoke alarms.
• Smoke alarms either hard-wired or powered by a
10-year lithium battery.
• Smoke alarms located ; on each level of living space;
; outside each bedroom; and
; in every bedroom
• All smoke alarms should be interconnected.
• Every home should have a practised escape plan.
•
•
•
•
Easytoinstall.
Haslongtermreliability.
Batterycannotberemoved.
Lessexpensivethanhard-wired.
9-Volt Smoke Alarms
A9voltsmokealarm,alsocalledbatteryoperatedsmoke
alarms, are stand alone and operated only by a battery.
Thesearetheminimallegalrequirementanddonotprovide
thebestsafetyforoccupants.
Ideal Locations
Interconnected
Interconnectedsmokealarmsiswhenonesmokealarmis
activated,allinterconnectedsmokealarmsareactivated.
The connecting of smoke alarms can be done wirelessly
(viaRFmodule)orhard-wired.Thetimeoccupantshaveto
escapeisincreased.
Power supply options for smoke alarms
Youcanbuysmokealarmsfromhardwarestores,electrical
retailers,orthroughyourelectrician.Therearetwopower
supplyoptionsforsmokealarms-batteryorhard-wired.
Bedroom
10-year Lithium Cell Battery
A10-yearlithiumcellbatterycanbeusedinsmokealarms
that are stand-alone or connected to a home’s electrical
system.
Bedroom
Kitchen
Bedroom
Living Room
Insideeachbedroom,inthehallwayandlivingareas,and
connectedtogether.
Dining Room
Hard-wired Smoke Alarms
A hard-wired smoke alarm is connected to a home’s
electricalsystemandhasbatteryback-uppowersupply.
• Consideredmorereliableinthelongerterm.
• Usesabatterytoprovideback-uppoweriftheACpower
fails.Backupbatteriescanbeeither9-voltorbuilt-in
andtamperproofrechargeablelithium.
• Power-onindicator.
Upper Hall
Kitchen
Bedroom
Bedroom
Hall
Living Room
Bedroom
INSTALLATION - Where do they need to go?
Hard-wired smoke alarms are required in all new and
signiicantly renovated homes and units built since July
1997.Theseneedtobeinstalledbyalicensedelectrician,
inlinewithBCAstandards.
Becausesmokerises,smokealarmsshouldbeplacedon
theceilingoutofthecorner(deadairspace).Ifthatisnot
possible,itmaybepositionedhighonawall,accordingto
themanufacturer’sinstructions.
Everyresidenceisdifferentandyouwillneedtoassessyour
home.
To maximise smoke alarm operation, avoid installation in
thefollowingpositions:
• Indeadairspace.Thisisanareainwhichtrappedhot
air will prevent smoke from reaching the alarm. This
spacegenerallyoccursattheapexofcathedralceilings,
thecornerjunctionofwallsandceilings,andbetween
exposedloorjoists.
• Nearwindows,doors,fansorairconditioners.Excessive
air movement may prevent smoke and gases from
reachingthesmokealarmorcausenuisancealarms.
• In or outside of the bathroom as steam may cause
nuisancealarms.
• In kitchens. If there is no alternative, a photoelectric
typeispreferred.
• Ininsectinfestedareas,asinsectslyingintothealarm
couldcausenuisancealarms.
Number required by law
Betweenthebedroomsandtherestofthehouse.
Bedroom
Kitchen
Dining Room
Bedroom
Hall
Bedroom
Living Room
*Minimumbylawfrom
1July2007.
Nearbedroomsandoneverystoreyofamulti-levelhouse.
Bedroom
Upper Hall
Kitchen
Bedroom
Bedroom
Living Room
*Minimumbylawfrom1July2007.
Additional alarms are needed in homes with separated
sleepingareas.
Bedroom
Dining Room
Kitchen
Bedroom
Hall
Bedroom
TV Room
Living Room
*Minimumbylawfrom1July2007.
For advice on the selection, placement and maintenance
of smoke alarms contact your local Queensland Fire and
EmergencyServicesirestationorareputableireprotection
company.
© State of Queensland (Queensland Fire and Emergency Services) 2015
All Queensland Fire and Emergency Services material in this document – except any material protected by a trademark, and unless otherwise noted – is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 licence.
Ver 03/15
Page 2
Information Sheet
Ver 03/15
Smoke Alarm Legislation
Legislation requiring the installation of smoke alarms in all
domestic dwellings, including rental properties, came into
effect on 1 July 2007.
• landlords have a right of entry to install smoke
alarms under the Residential Tenancies and Rooming
Accommodation Act 2008-Section192.
Houses approved for construction on or after 1 May 2014
must have the additional requirement of interconnected
smoke alarms.
Further information on smoke alarms is available on other
Queensland Fire and Emergency Services Information
Sheets. Failure to comply with legislative requirements can
result in prosecution.
The legislation also details the ongoing smoke alarm
maintenance obligations of lessors and tenants. In
summary, the legislation requires that:
For more information regarding landlord and tenant
responsibilities, visit www.qfes.qld.gov.au and download
the“Wakeuptophotoelectricsmokealarms”.
• smoke alarms complying with Australian Standard
3786-1993 be installed in houses and units (Class 1a
and 2 buildings under the Building Code of Australia)
by 1 July 2007. Smoke alarms are readily available from
major hardware stores and retailers;
Queensland Fire
Recommendation
and
Emergency
Services’
The QFES recommendation exceeds the minimum
legislative requirements but does provide better safety.
• smoke alarms are located outside sleeping areas and
• All residential accommodation be itted with
one on each level of the dwelling. These location
photoelectric type smoke alarms.
requirements are the same as those that apply for
• Smoke alarms either hard-wired or powered by a 10homes built since July 1997. This means that if you live
year lithium battery.
in a property built since July 1997 the property should
• Smoke alarms located already have the correct type and number of smoke
alarms installed;
; on each level of living space;
; outside each bedroom; and
• existing homes that have undergone certain renovations
mayrequire,attheCertiier’sdiscretion,anupgradeto
; in every bedroom
hard-wired smoke alarms;
• All smoke alarms should be interconnected.
• lessors install alarms and replace them before the end
• Every home should have a practised escape plan.
of their service life (smoke alarms are required to have
a recommended service life of at least 10 years under
normal conditions of use);
• lessors test and clean smoke alarms and replace
batteries where they are spent, within 30 days before
the start of a tenancy (including the renewal of an
existing tenancy);
• tenants test and clean smoke alarms at least once every
12 months during a tenancy and replace spent batteries
during the tenancy; and
© State of Queensland (Queensland Fire and Emergency Services) 2015
All Queensland Fire and Emergency Services material in this document – except any material protected by a trademark, and unless otherwise noted – is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 licence.
Information Sheet
Ver 03/15
Smoke Alarm Maintenance
and Replacement
Queensland Fire and Emergency Services’ Recommendation
• All residential accommodation be itted with photoelectric type smoke alarms.
• Smoke alarms either hard-wired or powered by a 10-year lithium battery.
• Smoke alarms located ; on each level of living space;
; outside each bedroom; and
; in every bedroom
• All smoke alarms should be interconnected.
• Every home should have a practised escape plan.
MAINTENANCE
How do I keep my smoke alarms working?
Smoke alarms can only save lives if they are well maintained and work properly.
Steps to remember:
• Read the manufacturer instructions.
Test monthly
Clean monthly
• Once a month check the battery by pressing the
test button. If you cannot reach the button easily,
use a broom handle.
• Keep them clean. Dust and debris can interfere
with their operation, so vacuum over and around
Check battery
your smoke alarm regularly.
regularly
• Replace the batteries at least once a year. Pick a
memorable day (e.g. April Fool’s Day, anniversary or your birthday) and replace the batteries each year on that day. In
most models when batteries are low the detector will sound a short ‘BEEP’ every minute or so. This is your reminder to
replace the battery.
• Smoke alarms powered by a 10-year lithium battery are tamper proof. Batteries cannot be replaced.
• Smoke alarms must never be painted.
• If cooking smoke sets off the alarm, do not disable it. Turn on the range fan, open a window or wave a towel near the
alarmuntilthealarmstopsbeeping;orusethehushbutton(ifitted).
• Do not remove the batteries from your smoke alarm.
• All types of smoke alarms have a limited life-span. They should be replaced prior to the expiry date on the manufacturer’s
warranty.
For more information, relating to the maintenance responsibilities in rental properties, refer to the Queensland Fire and
Emergency Services “Wake up to photoelectric smoke alarms” brochure.
REPLACEMENT
Why do I need to replace my smoke alarm?
• Both hard-wired and battery operated smoke alarms are manufactured to have a recommended service life of at least
10 years under normal conditions of use (AS 3786).
• Smoke alarms with 10-year lithium batteries are tamper proof. The entire smoke alarm must be replaced after 10 years
from the manufacture date.
• After 10 years smoke alarms may malfunction and their eficiency compromised with accumulated dust, insects,
airborne contaminants and corrosion of the electrical circuitry.
• A smoke alarm constantly monitors the air 24 hours a day. At the end of 10 years, it has gone through millions of
monitoring cycles. After so much use, components may become less reliable. This means that as the smoke alarm gets
older, the potential of failure increases.
• Most smoke alarms have an expiry or replace by date stamped/printed on them.
• Contact the smoke alarm supplier for more detailed advice.
How do I dispose of a smoke alarm I’ve replaced?
Individual or small numbers of ionisation or photoelectric smoke alarms can
Queensland Fire and Emergency
be safely disposed of in household rubbish. The small amount of radioactive
Services
recommend that all smoke
materialinadomesticionisationsmokealarmisinsuficienttocauseharmto
alarms be replaced after 10 years.
people or the environment. Contact your local council for more information.
© State of Queensland (Queensland Fire and Emergency Services) 2015
All Queensland Fire and Emergency Services material in this document – except any material protected by a trademark, and unless otherwise noted – is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 licence.
Ver 03/15
Page 2
Information Sheet
Ver 03/15
Photoelectric Smoke Alarms
Queensland Fire
Recommendation
and
Emergency
Services’
• All residential accommodation be itted with
photoelectric type smoke alarms.
• Smoke alarms either hard-wired or powered by a
10-year lithium battery.
• Smoke alarms located ; on each level of living space;
; outside each bedroom; and
; in every bedroom
• All smoke alarms should be interconnected.
• Every home should have a practised escape plan.
What to look for?
QFES strongly recommends, when purchasing
smoke alarms, you check that it complies with
theStandardAS3786-1993.Thefollowinglabels
willappearwhensmokealarmscomplywiththis
Standard.
ForfurtherinformationgotoCSIRO’sActivire
website(www.activire.gov.au/smokeAlarms.
asp) which provides consumers and ire
safetyadviserswithdetailsofsmokealarms
that have been veriied as conforming with
requirementsofAustralianStandardAS37861993.
Photoelectric Smoke Alarms
Other Smoke Alarm Options
Thistype,alsoknownasopticalorphoto-optical,detects
visible particles of combustion. They respond to a wide
range of ires, but they are particularly responsive to
smoulderingiresandthedensesmokegivenoffbyfoam
illedfurnishingsoroverheatedPVCwiring.
These include:
• alarms for deaf and hearing-impaired people;
• alarms with emergency lights , heat sensors or different
power sources;
• specialmodelsforkitchensandcaravans;and
• interconnectable models that sound alarms in all
connected units - hard-wired or wireless.
• ionisation alarms - not recommended.
Advantages
• Goodforsmoulderingireanddensesmoke
• Notaspronetocookingnuisancealarms
• Contain no radioactive material
• Suitable for general use
Yourprotectionagainstireincreaseswiththequalityand
type of smoke alarm that is installed. Research indicates
that photoelectric smoke alarms are generally more
effectiveacrossawiderrangeofiresexperiencedinhomes.
For this reason, QFES recommends that photoelectric
smoke alarms be installed. If you already have smoke
alarmsinstalled,QFESrecommendsthatyousupplement
theexistingalarmswithphotoelectrictypes,especiallyin
sleeping areas and exits from your home (e.g. hallways);
andattheendoftheservicelifeofexistingsmokealarms,
replacethemwithphotoelectrictypes.
Common features in smoke alarms
• Testbutton-toensurecorrectoperation.
• Tested by Scientiic Services Laboratories to comply
withAS3786-1993.
• Some models have ‘hush’ buttons to stop nuisance
alarms.
• Some smoke alarms can be interconnected which
soundalarmsinallconnectedunits.
• Interconnection allows all smoke alarms to sound
simultaneouslyshouldanyonealarmactivate.All
occupantsarealerted,maximisingtheopportunity
forescape.
© State of Queensland (Queensland Fire and Emergency Services) 2015
All Queensland Fire and Emergency Services material in this document – except any material protected by a trademark, and unless otherwise noted – is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 licence.
FIRE SAFETY
PART
3.7.2
SMOKE ALARMS
Appropriate Performance Requirements
Where an alternative smoke alarm system is proposed as an Alternative Solution to that
described in Part 3.7.2, that proposal must comply with—
(a)
Performance Requirement P2.3.2; and
(b)
the relevant Performance Requirements determined in accordance with 1.0.10.
Acceptable construction practice
3.7.2.1 Application
Compliance with this acceptable construction practice satisfies Performance Requirement
P2.3.2 for smoke alarms.
3.7.2.2 Requirements for smoke alarms
Smoke alarms must be—
(a)
located in—
(i)
Class 1a buildings in accordance with 3.7.2.3; and
(ii)
Class 1b buildings in accordance with 3.7.2.4 and 3.7.2.5; and
(b)
comply with AS 3786; and
(c)
connected to the consumer mains power where consumer power is supplied to the
building; and
(d)
interconnected where there is more than one alarm.
3.7.2.3 Location — Class 1a buildings
Smoke alarms must be installed in a Class 1a building on or near the ceiling in—
(a)
(b)
any storey containing bedrooms—
(i)
between each part of the dwelling containing bedrooms and the remainder of the
dwelling; and
(ii)
where bedrooms are served by a hallway, in that hallway; and
any other storey not containing bedrooms.
(see Figure 3.7.2.1, Diagram a and Figure 3.7.2.2)
3.7.2.4 Location — Class 1b buildings
In a Class 1b building, smoke alarms must be installed on or near the ceiling—
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3.7.2.4
FIRE SAFETY
(a)
in every bedroom; and
(b)
in every corridor or hallway associated with a bedroom, or if there is no corridor or
hallway, in an area between the bedrooms and the remainder of the building; and
(c)
on each other storey.
(see Figure 3.7.2.1, Diagram b and Figure 3.7.2.2)
3.7.2.5 Lighting to assist evacuation — Class 1b buildings
In a Class 1b building, a system of lighting must be installed to assist evacuation of occupants
in the event of a fire, and—
(a)
be activated by the smoke alarm required by 3.7.2.4(b); and
(b)
consist of—
(i)
a light incorporated within the smoke alarm; or
(ii)
the lighting located in the corridor, hallway or area served by the smoke alarm.
Explanatory information:
The lighting required by 3.7.2.5 may consist of the artificial lighting which may already be
installed in a corridor, hallway or area, provided that lighting is activated by the smoke alarm.
Figure 3.7.2.1
LOCATION OF SMOKE ALARM
Legend:
Smoke alarm
Diagram a.
Class 1a buildings
NCC 2015 Building Code of Australia - Volume Two
Smoke alarm with evacuation
lighting (as required by
3.7.2.5(b)(i))
Page 263
3.7.2.5
FIRE SAFETY
Figure 3.7.2.1
LOCATION OF SMOKE ALARM
Legend:
Smoke alarm
Diagram b.
Class 1b buildings
Smoke alarm with evacuation
lighting (as required by
3.7.2.5(b)(i))
Figure 3.7.2.2
LOCATION OF SMOKE ALARMS ON DIFFERENT STOREYS
(a) Smoke alarms installed on each storey not containing
bedrooms — located in the area of the stairway
Explanatory information:
1. HOW DOES A SMOKE ALARM WORK ?
There are two types of smoke alarms.
1.1 Photoelectric:
This type of smoke alarm uses a light source and photocell. As the smoke enters the
detection chamber it interferes with the light beam which in turn causes the alarm to sound.
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3.7.2.5
FIRE SAFETY
1.2 Ionisation:
A small amount of radioactive material is used to create an electrical current which travels
through ionised air. When smoke enters the detection chamber it impedes the flow of current
and causes the alarm to sound.
2. LOCATION OF SMOKE ALARMS
When deciding on the position of smoke alarms it is important to remember that they are
intended to detect smoke before it reaches the sleeping occupants of a building.
The ensuing alarm is designed to wake the occupants and give them time to evacuate the
building.
2.1 Added flexibility when considering detector location
As mentioned earlier, the introduction of the Performance Requirement gives the appropriate
authority flexibility when considering the location of smoke alarms.
For instance, in Class 1a buildings if the Deemed-to-Satisfy Provision states that the smoke
alarm should be located in the hallway, and there is a bathroom adjacent this location (that
will potentially cause nuisance alarms) the appropriate authority could accept the alarm being
installed in the bedroom as a suitable option using the performance clause.
This approach should also be adopted when considering sleep-outs or similar type residential
buildings that are not connected to the remainder of the building by a hallway or other
enclosed structure. In these situations the alarm could be located in the room itself.
2.2 Protection of sleeping areas in Class 1a buildings
The deemed-to-satisfy provisions require that a smoke alarm be located “between each area
containing bedrooms and the remainder of the dwelling”.
In some dwellings the bedrooms are located in a common area and connected by a hallway.
In this instance the alarm should be located as shown in Figure 3.7.2.1, Diagram a.
2.3 Location of the smoke alarm on other storeys
A smoke alarm is also required on each other storey that is not already provided with a
smoke alarm. It should be noted that smoke alarms are required to be installed in other
storeys even if those storeys consist of only carparking, bathrooms, laundries and the like.
“Storey” in this context differs from the definition contained in BCA Volume One which
excludes such spaces from being considered as storeys.
The favoured location for this alarm will be in the path of travel people will most likely take to
evacuate the building. This will ensure an alarm will be raised before smoke makes the
common exit path impassable. For example, if the bedrooms are on the first floor, then an
alarm should be positioned near the area of the inter-connecting stair at ground level.
If the other storey is not connected to the remainder of the building (for instance a ground
floor garage) then the alarm should be centrally located in the lower area. However, it may be
reasonable, using a performance approach, not to install smoke alarms where the storey is
predominantly open, such as the basement level of a highset house on stumps that is used
for carparking or laundry purposes.
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3.7.2.5
FIRE SAFETY
2.4 Installation of smoke alarms
Smoke alarms should be installed on or near the ceiling with special care being taken to
avoid dead air spaces.
A dead air space is an area in which trapped hot air will prevent smoke from reaching the
alarm. This space generally occurs at the apex of cathedral ceilings, the corner junction of
walls and ceilings, between exposed floor joists etc. (see Diagram 1).
If it is impractical to mount the smoke alarm on the ceiling then it may be located on the wall.
The recommended position is between 300 mm and 500 mm off the ceiling (see Diagram 1).
The distance from the apex of a cathedral ceiling to the top of the alarm should be between
500 mm and 1500 mm.
3. NUISANCE ALARMS
Smoke alarms are extremely sensitive and may detect smoke and moisture created by
common household activities (such as burnt toast or steam from a bathroom).
Accordingly, to reduce the likelihood of nuisance alarms, the smoke alarm should not be
located near cooking appliances and bathrooms. However, if it is necessary to locate alarms
in these positions, an ionisation type alarm is more suitable near bathrooms, while a
photoelectric alarm may be used near cooking appliances.
4. INTERCONNECTION OF SMOKE ALARMS
Alarms need to be interconnected to provide a common alarm so that if one alarm in the
dwelling activates then other alarms automatically activate, which will increase the likelihood
of sleeping occupants becoming aware of the detection of smoke.
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