New Smoke Alarm Laws in Queensland

After the absolute tragedy at Slacks Creek which took 11 lives, The Fire and Emergency Services (QLD) passed an overnight legislation making it compulsory to install new photoelectric smoke alarms Standard AS 3786-2014 for all residential buildings built or significantly renovated after 1st January 2017.

The Smoke Alarm Laws

It is now mandatory to install new smoke alarms in every bedroom and in hallways which connect bedrooms and the rest of the house. By having them interconnected, it wouldn’t matter in which part of the house the fire starts; all the other smoke alarms will be activated too, making it safer for people in different rooms to evacuate the house. The following are the new smoke alarm laws:

  • Installation of new Photoelectric smoke alarms and having them interconnected to every other alarm in the house so all stay active together.
  • Smoke alarms must be hard wired to the 240v electricity supply or powered by a non-removable battery.
  • Smoke alarms must be installed in the exit path of every storey not containing bedrooms


How is Photoelectric smoke alarm different from existing Ionisation alarms?

Photoelectric smoke alarms, also known as optical or photo-optical uses a new technology of detecting visible particles of combustion which means they literally see smoke which helps in quickly triggering the alarm. They proved to be particularly responsive to smouldering types of fires, which burn slowly with smoke but no flame, that are the most common type in a home environment. The results also show they are less likely to give a false alarm for cooking smoke in kitchen.

Whereas existing Ionisation smoke alarms are designed to smell the smoke - the exact opposite to Photoelectric alarms. Ionisation smoke alarms detect the invisible particles of combustion which is quite advantageous in detecting fast flaming fires but most fire accidents at houses done happen this way. They also contain a small amount of radioactive substance and are prone to false alarms.  

Most fire accidents happen at night and the main reason is that when you sleep, your sense of smell sleeps too. It is difficult for the resident's to escape the house before the situation becomes critical - this can be avoided by installing Photoelectric smoke alarms. They will give you and your family that extra time to get to safety. 

The smoke alarm laws affect you! Keep your home safe - call our friendly staff today

Existing Properties:

  • From 1st January 2017, all the existing smoke alarms which are 10 years old or are faulty and need a replacement must be replaced with new Photoelectric AS 3786-2014.  Therefore if you are replacing an old one smoke alarm, it will need to be updated to the new type.
  • From 1st January 2027, smoke alarms in all dwellings must be photoelectric (AS 3786-2014). Tenants moving to new house have to make sure the house compliances with the new law. Even if the smoke alarm is not faulty - it will need to be updated by this time.

New homes and Substantially renovated homes:

  • If you have submitted your new house building application on or after 1st January 2017 then you are required to install hardwired, Photoelectric (AS 3786-2014) interconnected alarms.
  • If you have submitted house renovation application for your existing house on or after 1st January 2017 then you are required to install hardwired, Photoelectric (AS 3786-2014) interconnected alarms.

Note: The law offers 10-year timeline for implementation of Photoelectric alarms for existing Property owners.

Click here for a PDF version of the 2017 smoke alarm legislation.

Keep your home safe and make sure you use a licensed and qualified Brisbane electrician for your electrical service.

Read more about photoelectric alarms on the Queensland Government website.


When was the last time you check your smoke alarm? Contact your local Brisbane electrician to get a quote.