Smoke Alarms

Every house, flat, hotel and residential unit must have smoke alarms installed on or near the ceiling of each storey, and located in a position designed to wake sleeping occupants in the event of a fire.

  • For buildings built since 1 August 1997, smoke alarms must be connected (hard-wired) to the building's consumer mains power source, and also have a battery back-up.

  • For buildings built before 1 August 1997, battery-operated smoke alarms must be installed as a minimum.

Hard-wired smoke alarms may only be installed by qualified electricians. Anyone may install a battery-operated smoke alarm.

Battery-operated smoke alarms can be purchased from hardware stores at a minimal cost.

Who is responsible?

The property owner is responsible for ensuring the smoke alarms are fitted in accordance with the Building Regulations.

If you are renting a dwelling or unit, it is the landlord’s responsibility to ensure that smoke alarms are installed and kept in working condition.

Maintaining smoke alarms

Whether you are the owner or a tenant, you should:

  • Periodically check that your smoke alarms are working by pressing the small test button (refer to the manufacturer’s guidelines)
  • Replace your smoke alarm battery each year (if the battery is lithium ion, every ten years).

Smoke alarms are usually designed to emit a warning sound, such as a high-pitched single beep every 30 seconds, when the battery is nearly flat.

The Municipal Building Surveyor may issue an on-the-spot fine or prosecute any owner of a house or unit in the municipality who does not comply with smoke alarm regulations.

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