On 23 August 2011 a fire erupted at a house in Slacks Creek Queensland. Twenty-three calls were made to the emergency services, but by the time the Queensland Fire and Emergency Service arrived the house was fully engulfed.
The Fire claimed the lives of eleven people, including eight children under the age of eighteen, making it the greatest loss of life in a domestic house fire in Australian history.
The State Coroner made two broad recommendations following a coronial inquest. As a result, on 1 January 2017 the Fire and Emergency Services (Domestic Smoke Alarms) Amendment Act 2016 was introduced to amend the Fire and Emergency Services Act 1990.
The Queensland Law Society and the Real Estate Institute of Queensland prepared new editions of the two standard residential contracts as a result of the commencement of the Act and to reflect changes to the definition of “Compliant Smoke Alarm”.
For existing properties, and properties for sale or lease, it is now a requirement that:
- existing smoke alarms manufactured more than ten years ago must be replaced with photoelectric smoke alarms which comply with Australian Standard 3786-2014;
- smoke alarms that do not operate when tested must be replaced immediately; and
- existing hardwired smoke alarms that need replacement, must be replaced with a hardwired photoelectric smoke alarm.
For best protection, it is recommended that smoke alarms be interconnected and installed in locations as prescribed by the Building Fire Safety Regulation 2008, including:
- in each bedroom;
- for each story of the dwelling with one or more bedrooms:
- in hallways that connect bedrooms and the rest of the dwelling;
- if there is no hallway, between the bedroom and other parts of the storey; and
- if there are no bedrooms on a storey, at least one smoke alarm must be installed in the most likely path of travel to exit the dwelling.
When purchasing a residential property, Buyers should ensure they are entering into a current edition of the standard contract being either:
- Contract for Houses and Residential Land (now 13th edition); or
- Contract for Residential Lots in a Community Titles Scheme (now 9th edition).