Still using battery powered smoke alarms? Time to update.

All homes in Australia are required to be fitted with a smoke alarm to alert the occupants if there is any potential danger from a possible fire.  We all know they also let us know when we have burnt the toast but it is important to understand the requirements of these devices when buying or selling your house.

In Western Australia, the law changed in 2009 and required all smoke alarms to be mains powered.  This means they run on electricity as their primary source of power.  Batteries are still used as back up in the case of power failure.  Therefore, it is still important to change your batteries on 1 April every year.  There are a few exceptions to the hard-wired rule where for example a concrete ceiling makes the installation of a wired smoke alarm impossible.  Please discuss this with your builder or consultant.

When you sell your home, the smoke alarms must be less than 10 years old.  If they are older, they will need to be replaced to meet the current requirements at the time.  If they are younger, and meet the building and safety requirements that were in force at the time of their installation, they are deemed to be compliant.

Recent law changes now require all the smoke alarms in the house to be inter-connected.

This means the one in the bedroom area will also sound when you are burning the toast in the kitchen. Houses with approvals to build from May 2015 should already meet these requirements but there are a few exceptions.  If the property under discussion was constructed prior to this and meets all other requirements, there is no need to replace the alarms.  If, however, a replacement is needed, for example the alarms are more than 10 years old, the new system must meet the interconnected requirements.

Please ensure your Settlement Agent receives a signed declaration or proof that these requirements are met.

Our inspections will check if these requirements have been met and will be specifically commented on in the report.

Some useful fact sheets:

https://www.commerce.wa.gov.au/consumer-protection/smoke-alarms-and-rcds

https://www.commerce.wa.gov.au/publications/smoke-alarm-laws

https://www.dfes.wa.gov.au/safetyinformation/fire/fireinthehome/FireintheHomeManualsGuidelines/DFES_FireintheHome-SmokeAlarm-Renting-Selling-FAQs.pdf

https://www.dfes.wa.gov.au/safetyinformation/fire/fireinthehome/FireintheHomeManualsGuidelines/DFES_FireintheHome-SmokeAlarm-Legislative-Requirements-FAQs.pdf

 

Please note this article is general in nature and provided for background information only.  If you are unsure as to your personal situation, please obtain specific advice.

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