Are you buying or building a new home, townhouse or unit in South East Queensland? Did you know that the Smoke Alarm Legislation changed on January 1, 2017?

Following a surge in house fire related deaths, the Queensland Government has introduced new protocols for the placement and type of smoke alarms, all of which are designed to better protect you and your family in the unexpected event of a fire.

What are the latest Queensland Smoke Alarm laws?

The changes essentially mean that every bedroom must have a smoke alarm; every smoke alarm must be photoelectric NOT ionisation; all smoke alarms are to be powered by a 10 year lithium battery or 240 volt electricity; and every smoke alarm in a house must be interconnected.

While a number of these new laws are already effective, there is a transition phase with different regulations coming into play over the next decade, however, these vary dependent on whether the property is:

  • An existing dwelling
  • Being sold, leased, or has an existing lease that is being renewed
  • A new dwelling or property undergoing substantial renovations

The key outtakes property owners, potential buyers and tenants should be aware of include: 

Smoke alarm laws for existing dwellings:

  • When replacing smoke alarms they must be photoelectric and comply with the new Australian Standard (AS) 3786-2014.
  • Any smoke alarm that does not operate when tested must be replaced immediately.
  • Existing smoke alarms manufactured more than 10 years ago must be replaced, plus every smoke alarm should have the date of manufacture stamped on it.

Smoke alarm laws for dwellings being sold:

  • Requirements for existing dwellings (shown above) apply.
  • The seller must lodge a Form 24 with the Queensland Land Registry Office stating the requirements of the smoke alarm legislation have been met. This form should be part of the check done by the conveyancing solicitor.
  • Note: From 1 January 2022, smoke alarms in dwellings being sold must comply with strict legislation including switching to photoelectric standard (if not done earlier), the installation of a smoke alarm in every bedroom and interconnectivity between all smoke alarms.

Smoke alarm laws for investment or rental properties:

  • The existing landlord and tenant obligations regarding the installation and testing of smoke alarms continue.

Does the property you’re building or looking to buy comply with the new smoke alarm legislation?

All Suburbs Building Inspection Reports (ASBIR) comprehensive building and pest inspections include a visual inspection of smoke alarms.

If there are any issues reported, we’ll also provide a recommendation of who to contact to rectify and ensure your smoke alarms function as intended and according to the law.

Operational smoke detectors are mandatory in all new buildings – hence a critical item to be checked in a pre-handover inspection to provide you with peace of mind.

While it is the seller’s responsibility to ensure the new regulations are met, if they fail in their duty of disclosure the onus falls to the buyer. Meaning investing in a pre-purchase building report can not only help with contract negotiations, but give you that added peace of mind when you do move in.

Click here to make submit an enquiry with ASBIR. The Queensland Fire and Emergency Services have also produced a handy two page brochure that provides further clarity on the smoke alarm legislation. Click here to view a copy.


All Suburbs Building Inspections and Reports (ASBIR) is the leading provider of building inspections. We have conducted thousands of residential and commercial pre-purchase building and pest inspections in South East Queensland. We are fully licensed (QBCC Lic.No. 20650) and a Member of Master Builders Queensland.     

Call us on 1300 553 007 or submit a quote request to find out how we can help you take the hassle out of buying or building a new home, or finding the perfect commercial, office or retail space for your business needs.  Let ASBIR give you peace of mind.


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