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Types Of Smoke Detection And Fire Alarm Systems

To ensure the safety of every household, it is required by the Australian law that smoke detection systems be installed in residential structures in Australia. Dwellings that were constructed or renovated since July 1997 are required to have hard-wired smoke alarm installations, while homes built prior to this date must have at least one battery-powered smoke alarm.

Residential Structures Requiring Smoke Alarms

Almost all types of dwellings require the installation of smoke alarms. Specifically, this includes:

  • A detached house or single dwelling.
  • Attached dwellings that are separated by a fire resistant barrier (firewall).
  • Guest houses or boarding houses in which the occupancy does not exceed 12 people and the total floor area is no more than 300 square metres.
  • Flats and apartments where there are two or more separate units in the building.
  • A single dwelling in a non-residential building.

If you are unsure about the requirements of the installation of a fire alarm system in a property you own, or the ideal locations of where the smoke detectors will be installed, our team from Defence Pest & Building Inspection Services can assist you.

Different Types of Fire Alarm Systems


In a conventional fire alarm system, several smoke detectors are wired together in a zone, typically grouped on the same floor or storey. When smoke is detected, the control panel can monitor from which zone the alarm was triggered.


The addressable fire alarm system functions almost similarly to the conventional fire alarm system, except that the control panel is able to identify which specific smoke detector has initiated the alarm. This allows for an efficient way to determine the exact location of possible danger and have a quicker response time.

Analogue Addressable

Apart from being able to determine the specific location of the smoke detector that has been triggered, the analogue addressable fire alarm system can also identify whether this alarm was caused by fire, fault or dirt build up in the detector (in which case, cleaning the detector will be necessary).


Most wireless fire alarm systems use the analogue addressable feature, except that there is no need for cables. This is ideal for properties where installation of hard-wired smoke alarms is not possible, or for properties in which the structure needs to be preserved.

Ensuring that Your Smoke Alarm is Functional

Smoke alarms in residential properties should be compliant with the standards set by the Building Code of Australia. That is, smoke alarms must be in working order and permanently connected to a consumer mains power. For properties that are for sale or lease, the smoke alarms must not be more than 10 years old at the time of the acquisition, transfer of ownership or rental of the property.

It is also the responsibility of the seller, landlord or owner to make sure that the smoke alarm is fully functional. If you have a regular annual inspection with Defence Pest & Management Building Inspection Services, we can help you with the inspection of your fire alarm system installation and make sure that it is in working order.

Prevention is Better than Cure

When it comes to fires in the home, most of us are of the opinion that it will never happen in our homes – if this is your way of thinking, you couldn’t be more wrong. Imagine getting home from work one day and finding a fire engine in your driveway – this happened to me once and, believe me, it is not a good feeling.

Using a Smoke Detector

Studies have shown that the majority of serious household fires could have been prevented if there were working smoke detectors in place. Many people don’t see the advantage to having smoke detectors – a lot of people think that they would easily be able to smell and see the smoke before the fire gets out of control.

This is usually true – if you are at home and awake when the fire starts – unfortunately, most deaths in fires are caused by smoke inhalation – you and your family could be sleeping when the fire starts and simply never wake up because of this toxic smoke.

That’s why smoke detectors are crucial to the safety of you and your family. They will wake you and your family and alert your neighbours to the problem.

Making Sure that they are in Good Working Order

Of course, it is important to make sure that the smoke detectors are in good working order at all times – what you do not need is a smoke detector with a flat battery when there is a fire.

Regular tests are going to be necessary to make sure that the smoke detectors are working properly – conduct these at least once every two months. Always make sure to keep spare batteries on hand and, for safety’s sake, it is advisable to change batteries at least annually.

A good idea is to schedule this change of batteries at the same time as your annual building inspections. You will find that the inspector will also give the smoke alarms the once over whilst they are there.

Using a Professional Inspector

Brisbane Building and Pest Inspections will go so far as to advise you on the ideal placement of your smoke detectors and will also point out any potential fire hazards.

Brisbane Building and Pest Inspections takes service to a whole new level and will ensure that you get a detailed report on potential hazards to your family as well as possible structural problems with the actual home itself. You really cannot afford to take a chance with your family’s safety.

The Importance of Smoke Alarms

Every winter, a number of homes around the Brisbane area go up in flames. These tragedies are often caused by faulty or malfunctioning heaters – and usually occur in homes that don’t have properly working smoke alarms. By law, every home in Queensland is supposed to be outfitted with a working smoke alarm. All too often, though, homeowners don’t realise that their smoke alarms aren’t working.

Check Your Smoke Alarms

Just because you have smoke alarms installed in your home, doesn’t mean that they actually work. Well-designed smoke alarms are supposed to emit signals when their batteries are failing; however, that doesn’t always happen. Even if you walk by your smoke alarm every single day, you can easily overlook the fact that it’s not working. An occasional Brisbane building inspection can ensure that all of the smoke alarms in your home are in good working order – whether they are hardwired or not.

A Simple Way to Enhance Safety

Every family should have a fire emergency plan in place. However, it’s not the only thing that needs to be done when it comes to fire safety. Working smoke alarms can mean the difference between a small conflagration and a major fire that burns your entire house down. At the first beep that is emitted, your smoke alarm gives you a chance to have fire fighters come out to assist you. The sooner you call for such help, the better. Of course, this can all be for naught if your smoke alarms aren’t working properly.

Inspect Your Smoke Alarms

Whether your smoke alarms are hardwired – as they probably are if your home was built after 1997 – or if they are mounted to the ceiling, you should make a point of inspecting them from time to time. If your smoke alarms use batteries, it is critical to replace those batteries on a regular basis; doing so on a birthday or other anniversary is a good strategy. Brisbane building inspectors include smoke alarms during their examinations; if you have inspections done once per year, then, you can rest assured that your alarms are in good working order.

Always Be Prepared

At the end of the day, a smoke alarm is only effective if it has fresh batteries and is in good working order. A non-working smoke alarm is an especially dangerous thing to have around the house, since it gives you a false sense of security. The easiest way to ensure that the smoke alarms in your house are working is by having your home inspected on a yearly basis. An inspection company will confirm that everything is on the up-and-up – and you won’t have to lay awake nights worrying about your family’s safety..