Testing of smoke alarms in commercial buildings or tenanted residential buildings means more responsibility for landlords, managing agents and business owners. Contrary to popular belief, the testing of smoke alarms has become more involved than just pressing the red button to see if the alarm works or replacing the battery every year.
The location, age, type, condition and type of operation, e.g., battery operated or hard wired, these are all factors that need to be considered so as to ensure that investment properties and the lives of tenants are adequately protected.
The Building Code of Australia (BCA) and associated building regulations now place responsibility on property owners to have self-contained smoke alarms installed, which are regularly serviced by a specialist and professional third party contractor (see the factsheet for more details). Servicing must occur every year and on the change over of a tenancy.
All smoke alarm testing, maintenance and replacement must be compliant with Australian Standard 1851- Maintenance of Fire Protection Systems and Equipment.
The legislative standards require all residential properties have:
- Correct and appropriate number of smoke alarms
- All smoke alarms are not passed expiry date (10 years from date of manufacture)
- Alarms are tested annually with manual test button and simulated smoke
- Alarms have a decibel reading greater than 85 dB
- New batteries are installed every 12 months
- New batteries are installed with change of tenancy