Why Are Properties Failing to Comply to New Standards?
The new Queensland 2022 smoke alarm legislation is fast approaching. A majority of landlords have yet to adopt the legislation – these landlords need to know what to look out for when choosing a provider to upgrade the smoke alarms in their properties. Of the landlords who have upgraded their properties, many are failing to comply as they have chosen cheaper providers who do not completely understand the new legislation. Each month our technicians discover that approximately 30% of properties that have tried to upgrade using a different provider are failing to meet legislation. Below are the top reasons why your properties may fail to meet legislation.
Failing to Meet the Australian Standard
This is the most common reason that properties are failing to comply. Under new legislation, all smoke alarms in the property must meet Australian Standard 3786:2014. Smoke alarms that meet this standard are photoelectric, do not contain an ionisation sensor, and must either be hardwired or powered by a non-removable 10-year battery. Cheaper providers are using cheaper smoke alarms that do not meet this standard to cut costs. These smoke alarms need to be removed and replaced with the correct alarms – costing landlords even more money in the long-run.
Another big reason properties are failing to comply is that smoke alarms are being installed in the wrong places. Legislation states that smoke alarms must be specific distances away from household items that may interfere with the alarm. Smoke alarms must not be placed within a certain distance of a light fitting, an air-conditioning vent, or the blades of a ceiling fan. Additionally, smoke alarms must not be placed in ‘dead air space’. In these air spaces there is no air circulation and smoke cannot reach the alarm. This means alarms must not be placed within a certain distance of a corner of a ceiling and a wall. Furthermore, if placed in stairways, sloping ceilings, or ceilings with exposed beams they must meet specific requirements that are outlined in the Building Fire Safety Regulation 2008.
Under the 2022 legislation, all smoke alarms in the home must be interconnected. This means that when one sounds all the other alarms will sound as well. Our technicians are finding that the interconnection feature is not working on some alarms – rendering the property non-compliant. This is either because the alarms are faulty, they have been installed incorrectly, or the alarms are incompatible with each other as different models have been used.
Additional Alarms Required
One of the key changes that the 2022 legislation is rolling out is that smoke alarms must be installed in every bedroom in the home. Additionally, smoke alarms must be installed on every storey, in hallways or parts of the storey which connect bedrooms with the rest of the home, and in the most likely path of travel to exit if there are no bedrooms on a storey. Our technicians have found that other providers have not properly assessed properties and have not installed enough alarms to hit all these requirements.
If any of these issues are found in a property, then the property has been falsely certified and is not actually compliant to the 2022 Queensland legislation. Landlords will have to pay to rectify these issues which can cost upwards of $500. It’s important to choose a smoke alarm installation provider who will complete the upgrade right the first time.
To find out more about smoke alarm compliance, visit our QLD Legislation page here.