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Since 1997, it has been mandatory to fit mains powered smoke alarms in all newly constructed residential buildings. For existing dwellings, there are laws in Western Australia requiring owners to have mains-powered smoke alarms fitted to all residential properties that are subject to sale, rent or hire, regardless of when they were built.
In Western Australia it is unlawful to sell, rent or hire out residential dwellings that do not have mains-powered smoke alarms fitted in accordance with the Building Regulations 2012.
Smoke alarms with a non removable 10 year battery life are permitted in dwellings where the construction of the building does not permit a space to conceal the wiring, such as a floating concrete ceiling, and there is no other suitable alternative location or where mains power supply is not available. Local Government approval is not required in these circumstances; however Local Government approval is required for an alternative solution, such as a 10 year life battery smoke alarm where the installation of a hard-wired smoke alarm may involve significant structural problems that are outside the control of the owner.
Smoke alarms must satisfy the provisions of the Building Code of Australia for smoke alarms or smoke hazard management applicable at the time of installation of the alarms.
Owners may be fined up to $5,000 for non compliance with Part 8, Division 3 of the Building Regulations 2012.
Dwellings that need to comply include:
- Single residential dwellings, row houses, duplexes, town houses, terrace houses, villa units or chalets including those used for holiday accommodation.
- Boarding houses, guest houses, hostels, bed and breakfast accommodation, farm stays or the like, in which not more than 12 people would ordinarily be resident and with a total area of all floors not exceeding 300m².
- Units such as apartments and flats.
- A residential unit inside a building e.g. a caretaker’s residence.
Further information is available from the Community Engagement Branch of the Department of Fire and Emergency Services on 9395 9300, visit www.dfes.wa.gov.au, contact your Local Government Authority or access the laws (Building Regulations 2012) at www.slp.wa.gov.au.