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Mains powered smoke alarms for new homes

Since 1997 it has been law, under the Building Code of Australia (BCA), to install mains powered smoke alarms in new properties and any existing properties that have undergone significant renovations.

Qualified electricians should be aware of these requirements or you can contact the Department of Commerce for more information

Mains powered smoke alarms within existing properties

From 1 October 2009 mains powered smoke alarms must be fitted in all existing residential buildings prior to sale and when a new tenancy agreement is signed for rental properties. If there are no tenancy changes in rental properties, then mains powered smoke alarms must be fitted by 1 October 2011.

These requirements are mandatory under the Local Government (Miscellaneous provisions) Act 1960 section 248 and the Local Government Act 1995 section 9.60, and the Building Amendments Regulations 2009.

While mains powered smoke alarms are the preferred alternative, smoke alarms with a non-removable ten year battery life are permitted in dwellings where the construction of the building does not permit a space to conceal the wiring and there is no other suitable alternative location or where mains power supply is not available.

All elements of the smoke alarm program are consistent with the Australasian Fire and Emergency Service Authorities Council (AFAC) guidelines and installation will be required to meet BCA requirements.

The development of these regulations has involved extensive consultation with key stakeholders including Local Government, Western Australian Local Government Association (WALGA), Real Estate Institute of Western Australia (REIWA), Department of Commerce (Consumer Protection – Tenancies) and the WA Division of National Electrical Communications Association (NECA). These regulations will form part of each of local government's building law.

While it is anticipated the regulations will be self policing, local government are a key element of the compliance regime and will have the capacity to issue infringement notices or fines up to $5,000 for non- compliance.