Smoke alarms can save lives by providing early warning of a fire and allow occupants to quickly evacuate the home. It is a legal requirement in South Australia that smoke alarms are fitted in all homes. Smoke alarms should be installed close to sleeping areas. If the home is large then it may be necessary to install more than one smoke alarm to provide sufficient warning to sleeping occupants.
In South Australia, home owners and landlords are responsible for making sure that a working smoke alarm is installed in the property in accordance with the Building Code of Australia and Australian Standard 3786 (AS 3786), as outlined in Regulation 95 of the Planning, Development and Infrastructure (General) Regulations 2017 (Planning Regulations).
- Type of Smoke Alarm Required
- Residential Tenancy Agreements
Type of Smoke Alarm Required
The type of smoke alarm that is required to be installed in the home depends on when it was purchased and its age.
For homes or residential rental properties purchased before 1 February 1998, you are required to fit a replaceable battery powered smoke alarm.
For homes or residential rental properties purchased on or after 1 February 1998, Regulation 95 of the Planning Regulations requires a smoke alarm (or smoke alarms) to be fitted within 6 months from the day on which title is transferred and be either:
- a smoke alarm hard-wired to the 240-volt mains power supply; or
- 10-year life, non-replaceable, non-removable, permanently connected battery powered smoke alarm.
For homes or residential rental properties built on or after 1 January 1995, the Building Code of Australia requires a 240-volt mains powered smoke alarm unless the house is not connected to such a supply. They should also be fitted with a back-up battery to provide power in case of a mains power supply failure. In houses not connected to mains power, smoke alarms powered by 10 year life, non-replaceable, non-removeable, permanently connected batteries may be installed.
From 1 May 2014, all new houses and new additions or extensions to existing houses require interconnection of smoke alarms, meaning that when one alarm is activated, it will activate all other alarms in the occupancy.
If smoke alarms are not installed, fines of up to $750 will apply.
Residential Tenancy Agreements
It is important that the residential tenancy agreement between a landlord and tenant contains a term reflecting section 68(1) of the Residential Tenancies Act 2010 (SA) (Landlord’s Obligation to Repair). Any Property Condition Reports that are to be completed by a landlord/agent and tenant must include a specific reference to smoke alarms in the property at the commencement and end of a tenancy.
Landlords are required to ensure smoke alarms are regularly maintained, cleaned and replaced when faulty or expired, following the manufacturer’s instructions.
It is further recommended that smoke alarms be tested by the landlord/agent at each routine inspection complying with the manufacturer’s instructions.
The “life expectancy” of a battery powered smoke alarm is a service life of 10 years under normal operating conditions (AS 3786), after which time it is strongly recommended that these smoke alarms be replaced with hard-wired (240 volt), interconnected, photo-electric smoke alarms.
The spirit of the legislative requirements is to ensure that the occupants of all homes are protected by a system that will ensure their safety in the event of a fire.
(Refer to the SA Metropolitan Fire Service – Home Fire Safety Fact Sheet for further information).