Loud is one word that comes to mind when you think about smoke alarms. However, it’s this feature that could save your life in the event of a fire.

During a house fire, poisonous smoke and fumes fill the space long before the heat and flames spread. If you are already sleeping at the time of the fire, this can put you into a deeper sleep rather than waking you up. Smoke alarms are designed to detect smoke and sound an alarm when activated, waking you up before it’s too late.

Unfortunately, this life-saving device is too often neglected. Batteries are often removed if the alarm goes off unexpectedly and some houses don’t have any smoke alarms installed at all. All homes should have one fitted and occupants should test it periodically and replace the batteries yearly.

When it comes to protecting your valuable assets, smoke alarms go beyond protecting your house and the physical contents that are inside. It’s about protecting the people who live within your home; your family, pets, friends, tenants or yourself. The new smoke alarm regulation aims to enforce this safety measure, and below is what you need to know.


New smoke alarm regulation

From 1 January 2022, all homes or units sold or leased, or properties due for a lease renewal, must comply with the new regulations to install or replace existing smoke alarms with photoelectric smoke alarms.

Photoelectric alarms are more advanced and are widely regarded as being superior to ionisation alarms in most circumstances. They respond faster than other alarms to most fire types and are less likely to cause false alarms. They are particularly effective at detecting smouldering fires, which provides the earliest possible warning of a small developing fire.

An easy way to check the type of smoke alarm you have installed is to look for a radioactive warning symbol. If your alarm has this symbol, it is an ionisation smoke alarm and depending on age, may need to be replaced.


Here’s what you need to know based on your living arrangement:

As a Landlord, it’s your responsibility to install smoke alarms that comply with current Smoke Alarm legislation. Any existing smoke alarms manufactured more than ten years ago, and 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.

If you don’t comply with this smoke alarm regulation by 1 January 2022, you are not permitted to rent out your property legally. You will be forced to lose any current tenants and cover the costs to find new ones.

If you’re renting a property, your landlord is responsible for the installations of the smoke alarms. However, it is your responsibility to test and clean each smoke alarm in the dwelling, at least once every 12 months, during your lease. Any issues with the smoke alarms during the testing should be reported back to the landlord immediately so they can assist you with a resolution.

Existing dwellings
All existing private homes, townhouses and units will require photoelectric interconnected smoke alarms. Existing smoke alarms manufactured more than ten years ago must be replaced with photoelectric smoke alarms, which comply with Australian Standards (AS) 3786-2014. Any smoke alarms that do not operate when tested must be replaced immediately, and any existing hardwired smoke alarms that need replacement must be replaced with a hardwired photoelectric smoke alarm.

The legislation requires that 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; install the smoke alarm between the bedroom and other parts of the storey.
  • If there are no bedrooms on a storey, at least one smoke alarm must be installed in the path leading to the exit of the dwellings.

New dwellings and dwellings being renovated
As part of the building approval process, all new homes and renovations should have the required smoke alarms installed to comply with the requirements of the National Construction Code (NCC).

For dwellings being sold, leased or an existing lease renewed.
From 1 January 2022, all homes or units being sold or leased, or existing leases renewed, will require hardwired photoelectric, interconnected smoke alarms.

Smoke alarms in the dwelling must:

  • Be photoelectric (AS3786-2014).
  • Not contain an ionisation sensor.
  • Be either hardwired to the mains power supply or powered by a non-removable 10 year battery.
  • Be interconnected with every other smoke alarm in the dwelling, so all activate together.

Once the correct smoke alarms are installed in your home, it’s essential to test them at least once a month by pressing the test button. Also, remember to replace all the smoke alarms in your home every ten years.

Smoke alarms are essential and could be the difference between life and death, so make sure your devices are always up to date. Contact the team at East West Insurance Brokers to ensure your property is correctly covered in the event of a fire.

1800 809 132
hello@ewib.com.au | www.ewib.com.au

Important Note: All insurance policies have exclusions. Please refer to the Product Disclosure Statement or Policy Wording to decide whether an insurance policy meets your needs.

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