Smoke alarms and detectors can save lives. Improperly maintained smoke alarms can put your property, tenants and self at risk. But who bears the responsibility of maintaining smoke alarms in a strata property? Let’s break down the basics.
It is the Owners Corporation’s responsibility to install, replace and maintain all smoke alarms in the common areas of the property. This includes hallways, landings and stairwells. The alarm should have supply from the electric mains or a non-removal battery with a ten year life expectancy.
Batteries should be checked regularly and the entire smoke alarm should be replaced every ten years. Smoke alarms have ‘use by dates’ and should be replaced prior to surpassing this date.
Smoke alarm installation and placement in the building should comply with Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulations.
Individual Lots or Units
It is the Owner’s responsibility to install, replace and maintain any smoke alarms within their individual unit. This includes replacing the batteries and testing once a year.
The exception to this is if the smoke alarm was installed by the Owners Corporation. In that case, the owners corporation is responsible for maintaining and testing the smoke alarm.
By law, at least one smoke alarm should be installed in a hallway outside a bedroom or other suitable location in each storey of the unit. Removing or tampering with a smoke alarm without a valid reason is prohibited.
Does It Affect The Building’s Insurance?
If an individual lot owner fails to replace their smoke alarm once it has passed it’s used by date, it would not affect the Owners Corporation’s strata insurance and The Owners Corporation would still be compliant with the Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulations.
Why It’s Important
As mentioned above, a smoke alarm could save your life.
According to NSW Fire & Rescue, you are twice as likely to die in your home without a working smoke alarm. They attend to 4500 residential fires each year and half of these are caused in the kitchen due to unattended cooking. The use of heaters, cigarettes and candles are other common causes of fire and electric appliances and faults cause 40% of domestic fires.
Many fires start during the night and most people are unable to smell smoke whilst asleep. Most fire related deaths are actually caused by smoke inhalation as opposed to burns from the flames. Ensuring your device is active and in good working condition will allow early detection of smoke and help you get out of the building and to a safe place before any major damage occurs.
Need More Information?
For further details and up to date news on fire regulations, head to the NSW Fire & Rescue website.
For more information on smoke alarm maintenance and testing in your building, contact your strata manager.