From 1 January 2017, a photoelectric alarm will need to be installed whenever a smoke alarm is replaced or a new one installed.

This is in response to the Coronial Inquest into the devastating house fire at Slacks Creek in August 2011, which tragically took the lives of 11 people, including eight children.

These changes commence on 1 January 2017 and are to be phased in over a 10 year period. From commencement, if an existing smoke alarm needs to be replaced, it is to be replaced by a photoelectric smoke alarm.

New or substantially renovated homes will need to be compliant with the new smoke alarm provisions.

After five years from commencement, all dwellings that are sold or leased will need to be in compliance at the time an accommodation agreement, contract or sale is entered into.

All other homes will be required to be in compliance within 10 years of commencement.


Interconnection involves linking all alarms so that when one alarm is triggered, all are activated. This will mean all residents are alerted, and are provided maximum time for escape before the fire and smoke spread, even when the fire starts in another area of the house.

Continuous power source

A continuous power source (such as hardwiring or a 10 year battery) reduces the risk of a smoke alarm being rendered useless due to flat batteries. These amendments will see new homes continue to be required to have hardwired smoke alarms installed and will introduce the requirement that all other homes have their smoke alarms either hardwired or powered by a non-removable battery with a 10 year life.

Positioning of smoke alarms

There will be a general requirement for alarms to be located on or near the ceiling. On levels containing bedrooms, a smoke alarm is to be located between each area containing bedrooms and the remainder of the dwelling. In multi-level dwellings, at least one smoke alarm shall be located on each level so that the exit path from each level is protected.

We suggest you contact your smoke alarm provider for further details.

Source: Hopgoodganim – Partner Tracey Rundle and Law Clerk Elliott Baldwin

About the Author: The Community Co.