Smoke Alarm Changes January 1, 2017

It has come to our attention that new smoke alarm requirements will be introduced to the Building Regulation 2006 and will come into force on January 1, 2017.    Unlike the QFES legislation being introduced about smoke alarms, this legislation will affect building approval issued after January 1, 2017.

As of January 1, 2017 a building application for a new dwelling or alterations to dwelling must address the following new smoke alarm requirements:

  • Smoke alarms must be photoelectric (AS 3786-2014); and
  • Smoke alarms must not also contain an ionisation sensor; and
  • Smoke alarms must be hardwired to the mains power supply with a secondary power source (i.e. battery); and
  • Smoke alarms must be interconnected with every other smoke alarm in the dwelling so all activate together.

Design plans are to show smoke alarms in the following locations in each storey:

  • in each bedroom; and
  • in hallways, which connect bedrooms and the rest of the dwelling; or
  • if there is no hallway, between the bedrooms and other parts of the storey; and
  • if there are no bedrooms on a storey at least one smoke alarm must be installed in the most likely path of travel to exit the dwelling.


Smoke alarms must not be placed:

  • within 300 mm of the intersection of a ceiling and a wall;
  • within 300 mm of a light fitting;
  • within 400 mm of an air-conditioning vent;
  • within 400 mm of the blades of a ceiling fan.


It is also understood that the explanatory information contained in the BCA for stairways, sloping ceilings, and ceilings with exposed beams will be further specified in the new requirements.

Once we have more information we will provide further updates.


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I am a Director of Devcert and have been a Building Surveyor since 1989. I have a bachelor degree in building surveying and I am a qualified carpenter. I have been in the construction industry since 1981. I have a real passion for the building certification profession as I believe building certifiers are the general practitioners of the construction industry. Our role is not only to know building law and apply it, our role includes assisting in the development of the knowledge of all in the industry by sharing our knowledge and experience.