Changes to Smoke Alarm Legislation. Does your house comply?


The Queensland Government has passed the Fire and Emergency Services (Domestic Smoke Alarms) Amendment Bill 2016 (Qld) following a devastating house fire at Slacks Creek in August 2011.  The amendments are aimed at reducing the potential of harm to people caused by a house fire.


These amendments came into effect on 1 January 2017 and will be phased in gradually.

Building applications made from 1 January 2017 for homes that are being built or substantially renovated[1] will need to comply with the new provisions immediately. Homes that are being sold or leased or that are owned by the Government are to comply from 1 January 2022. All other homes will be required to be in compliance in 10 years – that is, from 1 January 2027.


The amendments require that smoke alarms in dwellings:

  • be photoelectric and not also contain an ionisation sensor (complying with Australian Standard 3786-2014);[2]
  • be interconnected with each smoke alarm in the house to ensure you are alerted wherever you are; and
  • be hardwired to the main power supply or powered by a non-removable 10-year lithium battery.

The term photoelectric refers to the way in which the alarm detects smoke. Photoelectric smoke alarms are able to detect visible smoke particles. They have been shown to respond quicker to a wider range of fires than other smoke alarms do.

The legislation also makes provision for the placement of smokes alarms as prescribed in the Building Regulation 2006 (Qld) and the Building Fire Safety Regulation 2008 (Qld). Smoke alarms must be installed:

  • in each bedroom;
  • in areas connecting bedrooms and other parts of the dwelling, for example hallways;
  • on each storey; and
  • where there are no bedrooms on a storey, in the most likely exit path.

More Information

For more information, visit the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services website at

To discuss these amendments further, or for assistance in the purchase or sale of a property, book an appointment with our Commercial team today by calling (07) 3252 0011.

[1] A home that is being substantially renovated refers to work done under a building development approval or where the work equates to more than half of the entire dwelling over a period of three years.

[2] This Standard outlines requirements  for the design and performance of smoke within homes.

For more information regarding the new legislation

Please contact our Business Development Team or call us on (07) 3252 0011 to book an appointment with one of our specialist Property Lawyers today.

Written by Brooke Nickerson (Law Clerk) and James Tan (Associate).

Read more here.

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