Smoke Alarms

Western Australia's Building Regulations 2012 (the Regulations) require the owner of a dwelling to have compliant smoke alarms installed:

  • prior to the sale or transfer of ownership;
  • where a dwelling is rented under a residential tenancy agreement or made available for such rental; and
  • where a dwelling is made available for hire.

What is a compliant smoke alarm?

To comply with the Regulations, owners must ensure that the smoke alarm(s):

  • are in accordance with the Building Code of Australia (BCA) applicable at the time of the installation of the alarms. (The BCA specifies the relevant edition of the Australian Standard for residential smoke alarms (AS 3786) and location the smoke alarms must comply with);
  • are not more than 10 years old at the time of the transfer of ownership, or making the dwelling available for rent or hire;
  • are in working order; and
  • are permanently connected to consumer mains power (hard-wired).

The BCA requires smoke alarms to be interconnected where there is more than one alarm. However interconnection of smoke alarms is not applicable to a dwelling that was constructed on an application for a building permit made before 1 May 2015.

What types of dwellings need to comply?

The Regulations apply to the following residential buildings as classified in the BCA:

Class 1a – A single dwelling being a detached house, or row houses, duplexes, town houses, terrace houses or villa units where attached dwellings are separated by a fire resisting wall.

Class 1b – Includes the following:

  • boarding houses, guest houses, hostels or the like in which not more than 12 people would ordinarily be resident and with a total area of all floors not exceeding 300m²; or
  • four or more single dwellings located on one allotment and used for short term holiday accommodation. This includes dwellings in tourist parks, farmstays, holiday resorts, cabins in caravan parks and similar tourist accommodation.

Class 2 – Dwellings such as apartments and flats in a building containing two or more units.

Class 4 – A residential unit in a non-residential building if it is the only dwelling in the building, for example, a caretaker’s residence.

Should it not be possible to install a hard wired smoke alarm for reasons of a structural nature then an owner can apply to the City for approval to install a battery powered smoke alarm. An application form is available in the Application Forms section of this web site  - Smoke Alarm Application Form

More Information:

Building Commission: http://www.commerce.wa.gov.au/publications/smoke-alarm-laws
Department of Fire & Emergency Services (DFES): https://www.dfes.wa.gov.au/safetyinformation/fire/fireinthehome/Pages/smokealarms.aspx

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