Buying and installing smoke alarms

On 1 January 2017, laws about smoke alarms commenced in Queensland.

As of this date, all new and substantially renovated homes must have had interconnected photoelectric smoke alarms compliant with Australian Standard 3786-2014 (AS 3786-2014) installed.

As part of the building process, new and substantially renovated homes should also have the compliant smoke alarms installed as required by the National Construction Code (NCC). This is formally known as Building Code of Australia (BCA) and the Building Regulation 2006.

Smoke alarms must also:

  • be less than 10 years old
  • hardwired or powered by a non-removable 10-year battery
  • operate when tested.

The smoke alarms must be installed:

  • in every bedroom
  • in hallways that connect bedrooms
  • on each level of the home.

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.

Where practicable smoke alarms must be placed on the ceiling. Smoke alarms must not be placed within:

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

There are other special requirements for stairways, sloping ceilings, and ceilings with exposed beams which are explained in the Building Fire Safety Regulation 2008.

If a homeowner or landlord installs or replaces a smoke alarm, regardless of the age of a dwelling, it must be replaced with a compliant interconnected photoelectric smoke alarm, that complies with AS 3786–2014.

From 1 January 2022, these requirements will apply to all houses leased and sold. If a landlord is not compliant by 1 January 2022, they will not be legally able to rent their property. Property sellers must continue to lodge a Form 24 stating the requirements of the law have been met.

From 1 January 2027, these requirements will apply to all homes.

Visit the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services’ website to read more about smoke alarms.

Avoid dodgy traders

Dodgy traders may try to take advantage of the new requirements for smoke alarms.

Protect yourself by making sure you know the requirements for your home.

It's illegal for a business or trader to tell you something that's false or misleading. This includes:

  • in all advertising, for example on their website or on a leaflet dropped in mailboxes
  • in emails, letters or text messages you receive
  • on shelf or other in-store labelling or signage
  • on product packaging
  • in conversations with you.

Examples of illegal business practices

Here are some examples of illegal things a dodgy business might try to say or do. You should also double-check any information passed on to you by your real estate agent or body corporate manager.

Saying you need to immediately pay to upgrade your smoke alarms.

Only new or substantially renovated homes, where the building application was submitted on or after 1 January 2017, need to be compliant. Other dwellings have longer to become compliant (as above).

Telling tenants that they are responsible for making the dwelling compliant.

Making the dwelling compliant is the responsibility of the owner or landlord.

Saying a licensed electrician must perform the installation.

There are compliant smoke alarms available (e.g. wireless alarms) which don't need electrical work to be carried out during installation. A licensed electrician will need to be engaged if the installation involves electrical work.

Saying incorrect things about the law

Saying a smoke alarm is compliant with the law when it isn’t, or saying a smoke alarm isn’t compliant with the law when it is― for example, to get you to buy a more expensive product. Saying that you need more smoke alarms installed than the law says you do.

Saying you are no longer allowed to test your own smoke alarms

Saying you need a qualified technician or electrician to test your smoke alarms. You may test your own smoke alarms, by testing the test buttons on the alarm itself.

Find more information about recognising and avoiding scams.

Supply and demand

By 2027, every residential dwelling in Queensland will need to have compliant smoke alarms installed.

Given this demand for products, it’s possible supply will be limited or prices will rise, especially near the cut-off dates of 1 January 2022 and 1 January 2027.

The Queensland Government doesn’t set the prices for smoke alarms. Businesses can set their own prices.

To avoid any possible supply and demand issues, we strongly recommend you don’t wait until the last minute to make your home compliant.

Make a complaint

If you believe a business is making misleading statements about smoke alarms, or breaching door-to-door trading rules, you can report it to us.