SMOKE DETECTORS SAVE LIVES
ITELEC provides testing and certification of smoke detector installations in both rental and owner occupied dwellings. We assist rental property owners and their agents ensure that they abide by the new smoke detector regulations that took affect on the 1st of July 2007. We can service and inspect smoke detectors and provide certification of installations.
If you need smoke detectors installed, serviced or certified or just need some guidance then call us now on 07 5522 2222
The new rules a summary:
Smoke detectors are mandatory in all domestic dwellings including rental premises.
Owners of rental premises are required to test smoke detector within 30 days of each new tenancy agreement and replace batteries where necessary.
Owners of rental premises are required to replace a smoke detector before the end of its service life.
Why are smoke detectors important?
Smoke detectors are very important domestic safety devices. The risk of death from fire in a home is up to three times higher in homes without smoke detectors when compared to homes with smoke detectors. In Queensland, 78.1% of all home fire deaths occur in homes without smoke alarms and 47.7% of deaths occur between 12am and 8am when people are sleeping. In Queensland since June 2004 19 people have died in house fires in homes that either did not have smoke detectors or had smoke alarms that did not work usually because batteries were removed or dead. In just over a fortnight in late May early June last year 13 people, including 7 children, died in home fires in New South Wales. Further, recent research conducted in the United States has also indicated that the available escape time for modern homes is less than was available in the 1950s and 1960s. Smoke detector research in the 1950s and 1960s indicated that there was an escape window of about 17 minutes. More recent research indicates that the current escape window is about 3 minutes. A leading researcher has stated that the research confirms what fire scientists have recognised for some time: fires today seem to burn faster and kill quicker because the contents of modern homes (such as furnishing) can burn faster and more intensely. Modern conditions and the tragic fire death statistics emphasize the serious risks presented by house fires and the necessity for the government to act to address this risk.
What do the new smoke detector laws require?
New laws require owners of all homes and units to install and maintain smoke detectors in all dwellings. To ensure that everyone complies with the laws, a person selling a property will be required to lodge a form with the Queensland Land Registry stating that operational smoke alarms are installed in the property. Compliance will be monitored via an audit of these forms.
What do owners/lessors have to do?
Install smoke detectors in all domestic rental properties
Test and clean the detector in accordance with the manufacturers instructions within 30 days of the start of the tenancy (this obligation includes renewals)
Replace each battery that is spent or which the lessor is ware is almost spent within 30 days before the start of the tenancy
Replace the detector before the end of its service life or if it reaches the end of its service life replace it immediately. Under the Australian Standard a smoke detector should have a service life of 10 years.
Does the lessor have to clean and test the detector and replace the battery if they become aware that the battery is flat or almost flat at the time of cleaning and testing?
Yes. The lessor's obligations include tenancy renewals. For example, if the tenant starts a 6 month tenancy, the lessor would have to clean and test the alarm within 30 days before the start of that tenancy. If at the end of the 6 month tenancy the lessor offers a new tenancy agreement to the tenant,and the tenant accepts a new lease offer then the lessor must clean and test the alarm within 30 days before the start of the renewal tenancy agreement. The start of a new tenancy agreement includes renewing existing agreements.
What happens if the fixed term agreement rolls over to a periodic agreement?
If a fixed term agreement is not renewed, the Residential Tenancies Act allows for the agreement to rollover to a periodic agreement. Because this agreement is rolled over as opposed to a new agreement, the lessor obligations to clean and test the alarm are not required to be met. If the periodic agreement is renegotiated and a new fixed term agreement is offered to the tenant, the lessor obligations would again have to be met. If there is not an offer of a new agreement, and the tenant remains on a periodic term, the tenant obligations would have to be met if the agreement lasts 12 months or more.
How many smoke alarms will be required per dwelling?
The location requirements for smoke detectors mirror the location requirements for smoke alarms contained in the Building Code of Australia for new homes. This requires that there be one alarm outside sleeping areas and one alarm on each level of the home. It is estimated that the laws will require the typical home to install one or two alarms. The laws allow some flexibility about location where it is not practicable to locate alarms as stated above (e.g. because of nuisance alarms caused by cooking). In this case the alarm can be located where it will provide a warning to occupants .The owner of a unit can install a heat detector in lieu of a smoke detector where installation of the detector in that location is likely to result in spurious alarms (e.g. near a kitchen or bathroom). Heat detectors activate at a certain temperature and will operate more slowly that smoke detectors. The risk with heat detectors is that it may be too late to evacuate by the time the detector activates. For this reason there should always be at least one smoke detector in a dwelling. Details of where to locate smoke detectors and how to test, clean and generally maintain them is contained in instructions pre-packaged with the detectors. Information on these issues is also available on the Queensland Fire and Rescue Service website www.fire.qld.gov.au.
If you need smoke detectors installed, serviced or certified then call us now on 07 5522 2222 or send us an email us here