smoke alarms

Under the Building Regulations 2012, interconnected mains-powered smoke alarms are required to be installed in new residential buildings, and as part of new building work such as an addition or alteration to existing dwellings. There is also a requirement for dwellings that are subject to sale, transfer of ownership, lease or hire to have compliant hard-wired smoke alarms installed in accordance with the Building Code of Australia (BCA).

What residential buildings require smoke alarms?

Class 1a Single dwellings, town houses, duplexes, terrace houses or villa units and the like.
Class 1b Boarding houses, guest houses, hostels 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.
Class 2 or Class 3 Sole occupancy units such as apartments, flats or units in a building containing two or more units.
Class 4 part of a building Caretaker's residence.

What is a compliant smoke alarm?

The smoke alarms are:

  • Not more than 10-years-old at the time of rent, hire or transfer of ownership;
  • In working order; and
  • Compliant with the edition of the BCA at the time of their installation.

Interconnection requirements

Interconnection of smoke alarms are not required in existing dwellings constructed or approved for construction before 1 May 2015. However owners still need to have compliant smoke alarms prior to selling, transferring ownership, renting or hiring a dwelling.

When new building work to the existing dwelling is carried out, such as an addition or alteration, and more than two or more smoke alarms are installed in the addition or alteration, the smoke alarms must be interconnected. 

Summary of interconnection requirements for alterations and additions to existing dwellings:

Are battery-powered smoke alarms permitted?

The local government may approve battery-powered smoke alarms in lieu of alarms hard-wired to consumer power. A written application is to be made to the City's Building Services team for its consideration.

Are there penalties for non-compliance?

Yes, local governments have the power under the Building Act 2011 and Building Regulations 2012 to issue either an infringement notice or prosecute an owner who fails to have compliant smoke alarms installed prior to the sale, transfer of ownership, rent or hire of the dwelling. A penalty of up to $5,000 can be imposed.


If you have any questions, please contact the City's Building Services team on (08) 9273 6000 or via email at

Was this page helpful?