Smoke Alarms

The Building Code of Australia (BCA) contains Specification E2.2a Smoke Detection and Alarm Systems (smoke alarms). Part E2 Smoke Hazard Management and the Specification dictate which buildings require smoke alarms, which ultimately became an essential safety measure when nominated by the building surveyor/ building certifier.

Building Code of Australia

The BCA requires smoke alarms system to be installed in a building to provide early warning of a fire to enable quick evacuation. The smoke alarms system must operate to a level that detects the presence and location of a fire and alert the fire brigade.

The following Standards affect the design, location and installation of smoke alarms systems.

  • AS 3786-1993 Smoke Alarms
  • AS/NZS 1681:1998 The use of ventilation and air-conditioning in buildings – Fire and smoke control in multi-compartment buildings
  • AS 1670.1-2004 Fire detection, warning, control and intercom systems – System design, installation and commissioning – Fire

The following illustration depicts the location of smoke detectors (smoke alarms) in a Class 3 building.

The following is a part extract of clause I1.1 for an Essential Safety Measure (as appeared in BCA 2013) known as smoke alarms:

Table I1.7 SAFETY MEASURES – OTHER MEASURES

Safety Measures BCA Provision for Determining Standard of Performance
Smoke and heat alarm system Clause 3 of specification E2.2a

Essential Safety Measures Audit – Smoke Alarms

An essential safety measures auditor needs to check the essential safety measures determination/ schedule issued by the building surveyor/ certifier to see if smoke alarms are nominated as an essential safety measures. The auditor should ensure that the logbook is on site under AS 1851-2005 Maintenance of fire protection systems and equipment (Section 7) to ascertain whether inspections, testing and maintenance on smoke alarms are being carried out correctly. Any deficiencies detected on the smoke alarms should be recorded in the building’s essential safety measures logbook to allow the signing of the Annual Statement, Annual Certificate Compliance, Annual Fire Safety Statement, Annual Maintenance Statement and Annual Occupiers Statement.