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Do you know the new Smoke Alarm Rules?

The Queensland Government has recently passed the Fire and Emergency Services (Domestic Smoke Alarms) Amendment Bill 2016.

The amendments have been introduced following a coronial inquest on 28 November 2014 in which the State Coroner made two broad recommendations:

  1. That legislative amendments be made to mandate the installation of photoelectric and interconnected smoke alarms in every bedroom, between areas containing bedrooms and the rest of the dwelling, in any hallway servicing bedrooms and in any other storey of a domestic dwelling. For new residences, the Coroner recommended that the smoke alarms be hard-wired, while in existing residences, smoke alarms may be hard-wired or powered by a 10-year lithium battery;
  2. That Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) conduct enhanced awareness campaigns including promoting the development of practised escape plans.

These measures are supported by QFES as providing best practice in the use of smoke alarms. Evidence exists to suggest that each component of these revised smoke alarm provisions will reduce the risk of harm to residents in a house fire.

The Bill:

Requires that smoke alarms that comply with Australian Standard 3786-2014 be installed in domestic dwellings and that the smoke alarms be photoelectric, interconnected and be powered by an enduring power source (hard-wired or 10 year lithium battery); and

Requires that smoke alarms be installed in locations as prescribed in the Building Fire Safety Regulation 2008 for existing domestic dwellings and the Building Regulation 2006 for new dwellings.

These new provisions will apply to domestic dwellings where an application for a building approval is made after 31 December 2016 and the building work is a substantial renovation.

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From 31 December 2021, these new requirements will apply to existing residential properties where a Contract of Sale is entered into or a Tenancy is entered into or renewed.

These amendments also require that owners of residential properties, including Landlords, replace smoke alarms under the amended requirements within 10 years after the manufacture date or if they fail when routinely tested.

So what does it mean for you

These changes commence on 1 January 2017 and are to be phased in over a 10 year period.

From commencement, if an existing smoke alarm needs to be replaced, it is to be replaced by a photoelectric smoke alarm.

New or substantially renovated homes will need to be compliant with the new smoke alarm provisions.

After five years from commencement, all dwellings that are sold or leased will need to be in compliance at the time a Tenancy Agreement, Contract of Sale is entered into.

All other homes will be required to be in compliance within 10 years of commencement.

At Madeleine Hicks Real Estate we will keep you informed as the rules change.

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Building and Pest Inspections

Part of any normal contract of sale, in Queensland, is the Building and Pest Inspection.  This often is a time of great stress for many home buyers and sellers, in particular the first home buyers who are new to the market place.  These buyers  are purchasing homes in the McDowall, Everton Park areas that are usually 30 plus years old,  these homes often have maintenance issues, yes no homes is ever perfect. Not even a new home, with established homes if there are major structural issues these would already be evident where with a new home they are still to surface.

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Buyers when reading these report panic, quiet often missing out on good quality homes that only need to be well maintained.  The job of the inspectors is to draw your attention to all the little jobs that require attention if he does not do this they are not doing there job.  These are then backed up by huge disclaimers which the building inspector’s insurance insists they put into the reports.  The inexperienced buyer is completely baffled and confused. Quite often they crash the contract over minor issues. The seller is left frustrated and annoyed that they lost the contract.

Sellers can minimize this stressful time, prior to going to the market place having a pre-sale building & pest inspection and attending to any issues that maybe of concern.  Thus being for warned.

Buyers need to understand that every home has some issue.

…ask Madeleine by commenting on this and I will help you through your next building and pest report.