Concerning Smoke Alarm Trends
Jake Vorster, Technical Manager at Smoke Alarm Solutions, oversees the electrical department as well as the legislation they must follow. Out in the field, Vorster has noticed an alarming amount of concerning trends from third-party providers attempting to upgrade properties to the 2022 legislation. On average, Smoke Alarm Solutions have discovered that around one third of properties that have attempted to upgrade to the 2022 smoke alarm legislation using third-party providers are falling non-compliant.
The Scary Statistics
The most common issue reported is the incorrect type of smoke alarm is being installed. 41% of the alarms we come across are using either the incorrect Australian standard alarm or an alarm that isn’t photoelectric. Another issue we find is roughly 35% of properties are installing smoke alarms in exclusion zones and using incorrect distances. Smoke alarm legislation states that alarms must be certain distances away from objects that may interfere with the alarms. Despite this, alarms are still being installed in these exclusion zones and are too close to lights and fans.
There are a few other reasons properties are failing to be compliant. Sometimes, the alarms are completely missing. Here are some other concerning trends spotted by Vorster and the Smoke Alarm Solutions team:
- 13% of the properties we attend, the occupants have removed the smoke alarms;
- 5% are non-compliant due to faulty alarms before our attendance;
- 4% have interconnection issues, which means not all alarms sound when an alarm is activated; and,
- 2% fail to be compliant due to non-compatibility, which means installers are trying to use different brands of alarms as part of an interconnection loop.
These findings often come as a surprise to our clients that have recently spent money making their property compliant with another service provider, but are now finding they are non-compliant and unable to rent out their property after 1 January 2022. Unfortunately, they’re required to engage us in rectification work, with the average job costing approximately $600 to make the property compliant.
The best way to ensure compliance is to use a qualified electrician with smoke alarm compliance experience. For example, certain areas need to be avoided to make sure you’re compliant, like dead air space which we find is quite often neglected by inexperienced installers. Dead air space areas around the home are where hot pockets of air can gather, restricting smoke from reaching the smoke alarm.
Other areas a qualified electrician would be aware of is not to install smoke alarms too high on a wall, on a sloped ceiling or between exposed floor joints. A quality electrician will also use quality parts that help prevent false sounding or faulty alarms. Smoke Alarm Solutions doesn’t compromise on quality. The smoke alarms we use all have a good humidity rating, have the appropriate filters such as ripple signal filters to deal with dirty electricity (which is common in Queensland) and have a good warranty period. Smoke Alarm Solutions are the trusted experts when it comes to smoke alarm compliance and we will only use reputable alarm brands.
Smoke Alarm Solutions are reporting compliance for both the current and 1 January 2022 legislation, so when you receive your compliance report you’ll know exactly where you stand and what needs to be done to make sure you are compliant.
Both property managers and the property owner have a responsibility to ensure a rental property meets all health and safety requirements. While it may seem overwhelming for to keep abreast of smoke alarm compliance, it’s important to remember this: Smoke alarms save lives. Ensuring your client’s rental properties are equipped with compliant smoke alarms that are regularly maintained will give you and your client both peace of mind. REIQ Members with more questions about smoke alarm compliance can call the Property Management Support Service on 1300 MYREIQ (1300 697 347) or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The end of financial year is a great time to remind your landlords to upgrade their smoke alarms. Smoke Alarm Solutions have a super offer running to assist your landlords to meet total compliance before the deadline. Upgrade now and Get FREE Servicing until January 2022. Learn more by clicking here.