FAQs

Smoke Alarm Placement Diagram

🔥FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS🔥

Get Interconnected Smoke Alarms

Owner/Occupier

From 1st January 2017

  • Existing smoke alarms manufactured more than 10 years ago must be replaced with photoelectric smoke alarms which comply with Australian Standards (AS) 3786-2014. (Note: the date should be stamped on the back)
  • 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 photoelectric smoke alarm.

From 1st January 2027

All existing private homes, townhouses and units will require photoelectric interconnected smoke alarms. These must be either a hardwired (eg. 240v) or non-removable 10 year battery powered type alarm.

The legislation requires smoke alarms must be installed in the following locations:

  • on each storey
  • in each bedroom
  • in hallways that connect bedrooms and the rest of the dwelling
  • if there is no hallway, between the bedroom and other parts of the storey; and
  • 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.

Landlord

From 1st January 2017

Landlords are responsible for the installation of smoke alarms that comply with new Smoke Alarm legislation, introduced on 1st January, 2017.

Existing smoke alarms manufactured more than 10 years ago, as well as any smoke alarms that do not operate when tested, must be replaced with photoelectric smoke alarms that comply with Australian Standard 3786–2014.

Landlords and renters

Within 30 days before the start of a tenancy in a domestic dwelling, the lessor/landlord must test and clean each smoke alarm in the dwelling.

During a tenancy in a domestic dwelling, the tenant must test and clean each smoke alarm in the dwelling, at least once every 12 months.

To test a smoke alarm, press the 'test' button. Cleaning should be done according to the manufacturer's instructions, which is usually vacuuming.

You do not need to be qualified or licenced to clean or test a domestic smoke alarm.

Some real estate agents may outsource smoke alarm maintenance to another company with associated fees paid by the landlord.  The real estate may request a "certificate of compliance" from these companies as proof of service. This is not a legal requirement but may be part of the real estate agent's internal process.

From 1st January 2022

From 1st January 2022, at the commencement of a new lease or lease renewal, you must ensure your dwelling / unit meets the requirements of the domestic smoke alarm legislation. This may involve installing interconnected photoelectric smoke alarms into the bedrooms in addition to the currently required smoke alarms. For further information see below.

Renter

From 1st January 2017

Landlords are responsible for the installation of smoke alarms that comply with new Smoke Alarm legislation, introduced on 1st January, 2017.

Existing smoke alarms manufactured more than 10 years ago, as well as any smoke alarms that do not operate when tested, must be replaced with photoelectric smoke alarms that comply with Australian Standard 3786–2014. All smoke alarms should be interconnected within the dwelling.

Testing and cleaning smoke alarms

Within 30 days before the start of a tenancy in a domestic dwelling, the lessor/landlord must test and clean each smoke alarm in the dwelling.

During a tenancy in a domestic dwelling, the tenant must test and clean each smoke alarm in the dwelling, at least once every 12 months.

To test a smoke alarm, press the 'test' button. Cleaning should be done according to the manufacturer's instructions, which is usually vacuuming.

You do not need to be qualified or licenced to clean or test a domestic smoke alarm.

Some real estate agents may outsource smoke alarm maintenance to another company with associated fees paid by the landlord.  The real estate may request a "certificate of compliance" from these companies as proof of service. This is not a legal requirement but may be part of the real estate agent's internal process.

Building New/Renovating

From 1st January 2017

As part of a building approval process, requiring a Building Certifier, all new homes and renovations should have the required smoke alarms installed pursuant to the requirements of the National Construction Code (NCC) formally known as Building Code of Australia (BCA) and the Building Regulation 2006.

What are the standard requirements? 

  • Smoke alarms in the dwelling must:
  • The legislation requires smoke alarms must be installed in the following locations:
  • Smoke alarms must be hardwired, or for existing dwellings, they can also be powered by a non-removable 10-year battery.
  • To get everyone out safely during a house fire, it is essential to also have a well-practised fire escape plan.

Selling/Leasing

From 1st January 2017

  • Existing smoke alarms manufactured more than 10 years ago must be replaced with photoelectric smoke alarms which comply with Australian Standards (AS) 3786-2014. (Note: the date should be stamped on the back)
  • 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 photoelectric smoke alarm.

To get everyone out safely during a house fire, it is essential to also have a well-practiced fire escape plan.

Existing landlord’s and tenant’s obligations continue. Property sellers must continue to lodge a Form 24 stating the requirements of the legislation have been met. See New Smoke Alarm Legislation for more details.

From 1st January 2022

  • All homes or units being sold or leased, or existing leases renewed, will require hardwired photoelectric, interconnected smoke alarms. Non-removable 10-year battery smoke alarms can be installed in place.
  • Smoke alarms in the dwelling must:
  • be interconnected with every other smoke alarm in the dwelling so all activate together.
  • The legislation requires smoke alarms must be installed in the following locations:
  • The obligations on property sellers are triggered by the date the initial sale contract is signed. 
  • When a contract of sale is signed after the 31/12/21, the seller is obligated to upgrade the dwelling to the updated interconnected domestic smoke alarm standard prior to the dwelling being transferred. 
  • The property seller must declare on a “form 24” to the buyer as part of the transfer process that this obligation has been discharged.

Technical Details

What’s required by law?

When it is time for your property's alarms to be upgraded, those alarms must:

  • be photoelectric and comply with Australian Standard 3786-2014
  • not also contain an ionisation sensor; and
  • be less than 10 years old; and
  • operate when tested; and
  • be interconnected with every other ‘required’ smoke alarm in the dwelling so all activate together.

Any existing smoke alarm being replaced from 1st January 2017 must be a photoelectric-type alarm which complies with Australian Standard 3786-2014.

If a smoke alarm which is hardwired to the domestic power supply needs replacement, it must be replaced with a hardwired photoelectric smoke alarm.

In existing domestic dwellings, it is possible to have a combination of smoke alarms (240v and battery operated) and interconnectivity can be both wired and/or wireless.

What to buy?

Smoke alarms must comply with the Standard AS 3786-2014. The body of the alarm must be marked with AS3786-2014.

What to avoid?

Smoke alarms that are not photoelectric.

Exactly where should they be placed?

Where practicable smoke alarms must be placed on the ceiling.

Smoke alarms must not be placed within:

  • 300mm of a corner of a ceiling and a wall
  • 300mm of a light fitting
  • 400mm of an air-conditioning vent
  • 400mm of the blades of a ceiling fan.

There are special requirements for stairways, sloping ceilings, and ceilings with exposed beams.

Avoid installing smoke alarms in dead air space. The is an area in which trapped hot air will prevent smoke from reaching the alarm. The space generally occurs at the apex of cathedral ceilings, the corner junction of walls and ceiling, and between exposed floor joists.

Avoiding nuisance alarms

Every dwelling is different so you will need to assess yours. Avoid installing smoke alarms near windows, doors, fans or air-conditioners. Excessive air movement may prevent smoke and gases from reaching the smoke alarm or cause nuisance alarms.

Accidental alarms can be a nuisance and become dangerous if home owners remove the alarm batteries or disable an interconnected system to silence the alarm.

Nuisance alarms can be avoided by not placing alarms in or near kitchens where cooking smoke can set them off, or in or near bathrooms where steam often causes accidental alarms.

Also avoid insect infested areas, as insects can trigger an alarm.

Fact sheets

Guide to building classifications

Glossary of Terms

  • Dwellings
    - houses, townhouses (Class 1A) and units (Class 2).
  • Photoelectric
    - the method the device uses to detect smoke.
  • Hardwired
    - connected to the domestic dwelling’s electricity supply.
  • Interconnected
    - if one smoke alarm sounds all the other smoke alarms will also sound. Interconnection can be wired or wireless. This will alert the occupants within a house to a fire no matter where the fire starts.
  • Substantial
    ​ - work carried out under a building development approval or the total building works equals 50 per cent of the dwelling over three years.
  • Storey
    - a​ space within a building which is situated between one floor level and the floor level or roof above.