Is Your Body Corporate Compliant with the Queensland Smoke Alarm Legislation?

The changes to the Queensland smoke alarm legislation outlined a number of key compliance dates with the most recent coming into effect from 1 January 2022 for dwellings that are leased or sold.

These changes specify that all Queensland dwellings, leased or sold, must be fitted with photoelectric, interconnected smoke alarms in all bedrooms and hallways that connect bedrooms with the rest of the dwelling and on every level.

The rollout of interconnected photoelectric smoke alarms has been in progress since 2017 and is set   to rollout over a 10-year period.

Below are the key dates to be aware of:

  • 1 January 2017: in new dwellings and substantially renovated dwellings
  • 1 January 2022: in domestic dwellings leased and sold
  • 1 January 2027: in all other domestic dwellings

So as of this point in time, all new buildings or “substantially renovated dwellings” should already be compliant with new smoke alarm requirements and following the latest January 2022 deadline any lot that has been leased or sold in your strata property must also be fitted with compliant smoke alarms.

Are you confident that the Body Corporate and all Lot Owners have met these legislative requirements?

What is an interconnected photoelectric smoke alarm?
Interconnected photoelectric smoke alarms are also known as optical or photo-optical. The alarms have the capability to detect visible particles of combustion and are connected to other smoke alarms in the dwelling either directly or wirelessly.

Research has found that interconnected photoelectric alarms respond quicker than the current smoke alarms and they are less likely to create a false alarm.

Why are the changes occurring?
Photoelectric smoke alarms are becoming a requirement to address the danger of fires occurring whilst people are sleeping in their homes. When people are sleeping, their sense of smell also sleeps. Photoelectric smoke alarms will detect the smoke in its early stages allowing you to exit your property safely.

Who is responsible for compliance?

The Queensland Fire and Emergency Service (QFES) does not differentiate between separate owners in strata buildings when enforcing fire safety laws and therefore it is the Body Corporate who is responsible for ensuring its unit owners comply by the deadline, despite who is responsible for the cost. The fine will be issued to the Body Corporate who will then need to pursue any non-compliant owners direct.

What does a body corporate in Queensland need to do to comply with smoke alarm legislation?

In Queensland, the smoke alarm legislation requires a body corporate to:

  1. Ensure smoke alarms are installed in all common property and all individual units/apartments in accordance with the Building Code of Australia and QLD legislation.
  2. Maintain smoke alarms in working order and replace them every 10 years.
  3. Give written notice to the owner of a unit or lot if a smoke alarm requires maintenance or replacement.
  4. Keep records of smoke alarm maintenance and replacement.
  5. Take action to remedy any non-compliance with smoke alarm legislation promptly.

It is important for a body corporate to ensure compliance with smoke alarm legislation to ensure the safety of residents in the building.

What do apartment owners in Queensland need to do to comply with smoke alarm legislation?

In Queensland, apartment owners must comply with the smoke alarm legislation by:

  1. Installing smoke alarms in each apartment and common areas.
  2. Ensuring smoke alarms are photoelectrically interconnected, meaning that when one smoke alarm sounds, all smoke alarms in the apartment will sound.
  3. Maintaining smoke alarms in good working order and replacing batteries at least once a year.
  4. Replacing smoke alarms every 10 years.
  5. Providing tenants with a copy of the smoke alarm compliance certificate upon request.
  6. Notifying tenants in writing if smoke alarms have been disconnected for maintenance or repair.

Failure to comply with the smoke alarm legislation in Queensland can result in fines and penalties.

If you you’d like to find out more on fire safety compliance for your strata property, our team is ready to assist you.