Smoke alarms

All houses, flats, hotels and other residential units must have smoke alarms installed on or near the ceiling of each storey. They must be located in a position designed to wake sleeping occupants.

For buildings built after 1 August 1997, smoke alarms must be connected (hard-wired) to the building's consumer mains power source, and also have a battery back-up.

For buildings built before 1 August 1997, battery-operated smoke alarms must be installed as a minimum.

Hard-wired smoke alarms may only be installed by qualified electricians. Anyone may install a battery-operated smoke alarm.

You can buy battery-operated smoke alarms from hardware stores.

Responsibility for smoke alarms

The property owner is responsible for making sure that smoke alarms are fitted in accordance with the Building Regulations.

If you’re renting a dwelling or unit, it’s the landlord’s responsibility to make sure that smoke alarms are installed and kept in working condition.

Maintaining smoke alarms

Whether you’re the owner or a tenant, you should:

  • periodically check that your smoke alarms are working by pressing the small test button on the alarm (refer to the manufacturer’s guidelines)
  • replace your smoke alarm battery each year. If the battery is lithium ion, you should replace it every ten years.

Smoke alarms are usually designed to emit a warning sound, such as a high-pitched single beep every 30 seconds, when the battery is nearly flat.

The Municipal Building Surveyor may issue an on-the-spot fine or prosecute any owner of a house or unit in the municipality who does not comply with smoke alarm regulations.

More information