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.
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.