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Smoke alarm requirements

Smoke detectors and alarms detect smoke before it reaches people sleeping in a building. They are an essential safety tool.

Smoke alarms in properties

All residential properties must have a working smoke detector or alarm installed. 

This is mandatory for all:

  • houses
  • flats
  • motels
  • hotels
  • boarding houses
  • serviced apartments
  • hostels
  • backpackers hostels
  • supported residential services
  • single room accommodation
  • any building with accommodation for sleeping.

Those who do not comply may be subject to fines in accordance with the Building Regulations.

Keeping homes fire safe

All smoke detectors/alarms must be kept in good working condition. 

Property owners are responsible for ensuring working smoke detectors in their own homes. For rental properties, the landlord is responsible. 

Those who do not comply may be subject to fines in accordance with the Building Regulations.  

Building regulations and smoke alarms

For all new homes or building additions, smoke alarms must be connected to mains power and have a back-up battery. They must also be interconnected if there is more than one smoke alarm. 

Smoke alarms must meet the Australian Standard AS 3786. 

If your home was built before 1 August 1997 the smoke alarms may be battery powered. 

You can check compliance with the Building Code at any time. 

Which smoke detector to use

Good hardware stores and appliance outlets will stock a range of smoke alarms. 

All smoke alarms must follow Australian Standard AS3786. 

Where to install smoke alarms

Smoke detectors wake sleeping occupants and allow them time to evacuate the building.

Smoke alarms must be installed on or near the ceiling on every storey. They should be located between each bedroom area and the rest of the house. 

Smoke alarm installation diagrams

Grouped bedrooms

Smoke detectors in dwellings diagram 1

Separated bedrooms

Smoke detectors in dwellings diagram 2

Two storey building – ground floor

Smoke detectors in dwellings diagram - ground floor

Two storey building - first floor

Smoke detectors in dwellings diagram - ground floor

Ceiling mounted

Smoke detectors in dwellings diagram 4

Wall mounted

Smoke detectors in dwellings diagram 5

Cathedral ceiling

Smoke detectors in dwellings diagram 6

Maintaining smoke alarms 

For smoke detectors or alarms to be effective, they must be maintained. 

You can check most units can by pressing a button on the side of the alarm until the alarm sounds. 

It is recommended to replace the battery in your smoke alarm yearly. Batteries also need to be replaced when your smoke alarm emits a warning sound for replacement. 

More information

Find out more about smoke alarms

Need help?

Contact Building Services and we will get back to you.

Or call our Building Services team on 9298 8125.

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