Smoke Detectors in Melbourne: Are There Legal Responsibilities?

07 March 2019

Smoke detectors warn everyone in a residence that there is a fire and that action is necessary quickly to prevent the situation from worsening. If you own a house or other residential structure in Melbourne, you may wonder if you have a legal responsibility to install these detectors throughout it. We are here to explain your legal responsibilities in detail according to the regulations set forth by the Victorian Building Authority or VBA, so keep reading. 

Smoke Alarms Are Mandatory in All Residential Buildings 

The VBA mandates that all residential structures contain smoke alarms near or on the ceiling for each storey as well as in positions to wake sleeping occupants. We would also recommend one be placed near the kitchen since this is a prime room for fires. The National Construction Code or NCC defines residential structures as follows: 

• Class 1a includes row, detached and terrace houses as well as villa units 


• Class 1b contains certain boarding houses, hostels and guest houses 


• Class 2 includes buildings that contain blocks of flats, apartments or other sole-occupancy units 


• Class 3
residential buildings contain such structures as residential sections of motels or hotels, backpacker accommodations, dorm areas of schools and units for the disabled, aged or even children, as in orphanages 


• Class 4
covers those dwellings that are in commercial buildings, such as an apartment or house attached to a shop 

You Should Only Buy Smoke Alarms That Conform to the Right Standards
 

Another regulation that you need to adhere to is that all smoke alarms that you install should comply with Australian Standard AS 3786-1993, according to the Building Regulations 2018. Do not dismay over this, though, as these models of smoke alarms are readily available in hardware stores, home improvement stores and other types of stores. Also, professionals must install the ‘hard wired’ versions to the main power source and the residential structure should have a battery back-up system if the structure was built after August 1, 1997. However, you can install the battery-operated versions yourself. 

Landlords Are Responsible for the Installation and Maintenance of Smoke Alarms
 

If you rent your house, apartment or other type of residential units, it is your responsibility, as the landlord, to not only install the smoke alarms in the correct fashion but also to ensure that they are in prime working condition all throughout the year. For this reason, the ‘hard-wired’ models might be the best for your purposes. 

To receive professional installation of regulation smoke alarms to fulfil your legal responsibilities in the proper fashion, turn to Light-On Electrical. We specialise in electrical, refrigeration and air conditioning services for domestic, industrial and commercial clients.

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