Comparing Alarms and the Concerning Trends We See in the Market
Jake Vorster is the Technical Manager at Smoke Alarm Solutions. He oversees the electrical department and the legislation they follow. Here Jake runs you through the concerning trends we are seeing with third party providers attempting to upgrade properties to the 2022 legislation:
On average we have found that approximately one-third of properties that have attempted to upgrade to the 2022 smoke alarm legislation, using third-party providers, are falling non-compliant. This is very concerning to us.
The most common issue we find is the incorrect type of smoke alarm is being installed. 41% of the alarms we come across are using either the incorrect Australian standard alarm or an alarm that is not photoelectric.
Another issue we find is about 35% of properties are installing smoke alarms in exclusion zones and using incorrect distances. Smoke alarm legislation states that alarms must be certain distances away from objects that may interfere with the alarms. We are finding that alarms are still being installed in these exclusion zones and are too close to lights and fans.
There are a few other reasons properties are failing to be compliant. Sometimes the alarms are completely missing.
- Approximately 13% of these properties we attend, we find the occupants have removed the smoke alarms.
- 5% are due to faulty alarms before our attendance.
- 4% are interconnection issues, which means not all alarms sound when an alarm is activated.
- 2% are due to non-compatibility, which means installers are trying to use different brands of alarms as part of an interconnection loop.
Failing to comply to the new legislation often comes as a surprise to our clients that have upgraded by other third-party companies as they've just spent money to make their property compliant, but they are now finding out they are non-compliant and unable to rent out their property after 1 January 2022. They then have to spend even more money on rectification work with the average job costing approximately $600 to make the property compliant.
The best way to ensure compliance is to use a qualified electrician with smoke alarm compliance experience. For example, certain areas need to be avoided to make sure you're compliant, like dead air space which we find is quite often neglected by inexperienced installers. Dead air space areas around the home are where hot pockets of air can gather, restricting smoke from reaching the smoke alarm. Other areas a qualified electrician would be aware of is not to install smoke alarms too high on a wall or on a sloped ceiling or between exposed floor joints. These are some of the things that an experienced installer would know and would take into account when installing your smoke alarms.
A quality electrician will also use quality parts that help prevent false sounding or faulty alarms. We don't compromise on quality at Smoke Alarm Solutions. The alarms we use all have a good humidity rating, have the appropriate filters such as ripple signal filters to deal with dirty electricity which we have a lot of in Queensland, and have a good warranty period. We are the trusted experts when it comes to smoke alarm compliance and we will only use reputable alarm brands.
Smoke Alarm Solutions are reporting compliance for both the current and 1 January 2022 legislation, so when you receive your compliance report you'll know exactly where you stand and what needs to be done to make sure you are compliant.