Home > QLD Smoke Alarm Legislation

Qld Smoke Alarm Legislation:
A Quick Guide

A deadline nears for residential properties’ compliance under the Qld Smoke Alarm Legislation. And as your trusted Sunshine Coast electrician, Walt Electrical wants to make this compliance process easier for you. Let’s start with the key information.

This compliance deadline is the second part of Queensland’s three-phase rollout of interconnected photoelectric smoke alarms. The rollout process spans a period of 10 years from 1 January 2017 and here are the three phases:

That interconnected photoelectric smoke alarms be installed in

  • all new dwellings and substantially renovated dwellings from 1 January 2017 (this also applies to building applications submitted from the same date).
  • all domestic dwellings leased and sold starting 1 January 2022.
  • all other domestic dwellings from 1 January 2027. 

This gives concerned property owners and managers less than a year to comply with the new smoke alarm legislation in Qld that aims to ensure all Queensland households’ fire safety.

QLD Smoke Alarm Registration and Compliance

What do you need for compliance?

It’s important to note that the Queensland smoke alarm legislation specifies all the smoke alarm details needed for a dwelling’s compliance with state laws. This includes the specific kind of smoke alarm and where to install each unit.

The right kind of smoke alarms

Property owners and real estate managers for dwellings that are for lease or sale must ensure that their properties have smoke alarms that:
  • comply with Australian Standard 3786–2014
  • are less than 10 years old
  • contain a photoelectric sensor
  • do not have an ionisation sensor
  • are either hardwired to the dwelling’s electricity supply or powered through a non- removable 10-year lithium battery or a combination of both
  • are interconnected to all other smoke alarms in the same dwelling.
interconnected photoelectric smoke alarms

The Difference Between Photoelectric And Ionisation Smoke Alarms

Photoelectric smoke detectors can detect and see smoke particles, which trigger the unit’s alarm system. This kind of smoke alarm reacts faster and more effectively to smoke and potential fire, with lesser instances of false alarms. 

On the other hand, an ionisation smoke alarm reacts only to the smell of smoke. This warning device detects the invisible particles of fires, which are only typically present with fast flaming fires. Because of this, the smoke alarm can be ineffective in cases of smouldering types of fires and is prone to false alarms when cooking.

What does interconnected smoke alarms mean?

Interconnecting smoke detectors means all operating smoke alarm units in a dwelling are connected to each other, either wirelessly or hardwired. This setup means when one alarm is triggered, the rest of the connected units are also activated.

photoelectric smoke alarm


Sees smoke
Fast and effective

ionisation smoke detector


Sees smoke
Slow and ineffective

Where to install the smoke alarms

These interconnected photoelectric smoke alarms must be installed on each storey, particularly:

  • in each bedroom of a dwelling
  • in hallways which connect bedrooms and the rest of the dwelling
  • between the bedrooms and other parts of the storey if there is no hallway
  • in the most likely path of travel to exit the dwelling if there are no bedrooms on a storey (at least one smoke alarm must be installed in this area).

Apart from location, the legislation changes in Queensland’s smoke alarm laws state specific guidelines for each unit’s placement. A photoelectric smoke alarm is generally recommended to be placed in the centre of the room, but this is not a requirement.

When installing a fire warning device on the ceiling, make sure it is 300 millimetres (mm) from corners or lights and 400mm from anything that may blow air like an air conditioner or the edge of a ceiling fan. The new smoke alarm legislation in Qld also lists special requirements for sloping ceilings and those with exposed beams.

Your Role In Ensuring Your Property’s Fire Safety

Responsibilities vary in ensuring the fire safety and smoke alarm compliance of a residential dwelling. It’s important to know your role and make sure that you fulfill your duties, whether as a landlord, a tenant or a property owner.

As a property owner or manager, it’s your responsibility to ensure that your rental premises meet all health and safety requirements, including smoke alarm compliance. It’s also your duty to:

  • test and clean the property’s smoke alarms. Replace dead or almost dead batteries within 30 days before the start of a new tenancy.
  • not remove an alarm or its battery (except when replacing it) or do anything that can impact the effectiveness of the alarm like painting it.

As a tenant, you should:

  • test and clean the alarms at least once every 12 months
  • replace dead batteries
  • let the property owner or manager know of any issue with the fire warning device
  • allow the property owner or manager to install smoke alarms in the dwelling
  • not remove an alarm or its battery (except when replacing it) or do anything that can impact the effectiveness of the alarm like painting it.

If you want to know more about your responsibilities or the other roles in ensuring property compliance with the smoke alarm legislation in Qld, visit the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services’ website.

A Friendly Recommendation From Walt Electrical

As your electrical expert on the Sunshine Coast, we want your compliance with the Qld Smoke Alarm Legislation to be a seamless and hassle-free process.

We recommend upgrading to similar kinds of completely compliant smoke alarms if one or more of the existing smoke alarms in your residence do not meet state requirements. Here’s why:

  • it will be easier to track the smoke alarms’ 10-year expiration date
  • it ensures the smoke alarms’ interconnectivity and compatibility
  • it makes routine checking and maintenance simpler and easy to do on your own.

Plus, talk to your accountant about the tax deductibility advantages of upgrading your investment property’s smoke alarms system. Of course, you should only get trusted smoke alarm services on the Sunshine Coast from Walt Electrical. Our wide range of electrical service offerings include smoke alarms installation, testing, repairs, replacements and more!

Looking for more information on our smoke alarm services or Queensland’s smoke alarm regulations?

Call us anytime and we’ll help ensure your compliance with the Qld Smoke Alarm Legislation.

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