RCDs and Smoke Alarms

What's the deal with RCDs and Smoke Alarms?

RCDs are a vital safety feature in any home or office, and are required by law in all properties in Western Australia. RCDs work by detecting any loss of current and automatically shutting off the power, preventing electrocution or fires.

Smoke alarms are also required by law in all WA dwellings, and must meet the standards set out in AS 3786:2014. Smoke alarms play a vital role in early detection of fires, and can save lives.

Therefore, it is essential that all RCDs and smoke alarms are properly installed and maintained.

What is an RCD?

RCDs are important safety devices that help protect people from electric shock. RCDs (Residual Current Devices), prevent electrocution by cutting the power to a circuit in the event of earth leakage. This can also provide some protection against electrical fires caused by faulty wiring or appliances. RCDs allow a property’s electrical circuits to be divided evenly, reducing the load. In addition, RCDs can provide peace of mind by offering an extra level of protection, particularly if there are young children or elderly people in the home who are more vulnerable to electric shocks. RCDs ensure some light and power remain operational if one RCD is triggered by an electrical fault such as a toaster or other small appliance malfunctioning.

A photo of RCDs | WA Fire

RCD Regulations in WA

It is a legal requirement in Western Australia that all properties built after 2000 must have two Residual Current Devices (RCDs) installed. RCDs are an important safety measure that protect against electrical shocks, and can potentially save lives. If you are selling a property that was built after 2000, it is essential to check that there are two RCDs installed prior to settlement. If there are not, the seller may be subject to penalties of up to $15,000 ($100,000 for corporations). It is also important to ensure that RCDs are installed in accordance with the Electricity Regulations 1947 WA, and that they are fitted to protect all power and lighting circuits. By taking these simple steps, you can help to ensure the safety of your property and avoid any potential penalties.

As of August 2011, all landlords in Western Australia must ensure their rental properties have at least two RCDs installed. RCDs are required by law in order to ensure the safety of tenants.

If you are a tenant, be sure to ask your landlord if the property has been properly equipped with RCDs. If not, you may be at risk of electric shock. In addition, always follow basic safety precautions when using electrical appliances and devices. By taking these simple steps, you can help to protect yourself and your family from electric shock.

RCD & Smoke Alarm Regulations for Sale of Property | WA Fire

Why are smoke alarms so important?

Most people are unaware that we lose our sense of smell when we sleep. This makes smoke detectors especially important, as they can provide early warning in the event of a fire. Smoke detectors are an essential piece of safety equipment in any home. Not only can they save lives, but they can also help to prevent property damage. A working smoke detector is one of the best ways to protect yourself and your family from the dangers of fire.

A photo of a Smoke Alarm | WA Fire

Smoke Alarm Regulations in WA

In Western Australia, new or existing dwellings must be fitted with smoke alarms that comply with AS 3786:2014 (Incorporating Amendment No. 1) – Smoke alarms using scattered light, transmitted light or ionisation. This means that smoke alarms using any of these three technologies must be installed in homes across the state. The main types of smoke alarms on the market are photoelectric, ionisation and dual-sensor alarms. Photoelectric alarms are best at detecting smolderingfires, while ionisation alarms are better at detecting flaming fires. Dual-sensor alarms combine both technologies to provide the best protection possible. While all three types of alarms are effective, photoelectric alarms are generally considered to be the safest option. If you’re looking for a smoke alarm for your home in Western Australia, make sure it complies with AS 3786:2014 and choose the type of alarm that best suits your needs.

Over time, smoke alarms can become less effective. Alarms that are more than 10 years old may not meet current standards, and their performance may degrade over time. Additionally, alarms that are not maintained or tested regularly may also become less effective. For these reasons, it is important to replace smoke alarms that are no longer working or that are more than 10 years old with compliant alarms. This will help to ensure that people have the best possible chance of safely escaping if a fire does occur.

Mains powered smoke alarms are compulsory in WA, pursuant to Western Australian Building Regulations, and must be installed by owners prior to transfer of ownership (regulation 56), prior to being rented or made available for rent (regulation 58), or when being made available for hire (regulation 59). Smoke alarms must comply with AS 3786:2014 and be in working order and less than 10 years old. A mains powered smoke alarm is an electrically powered device that uses an ionization chamber to detect smoke. It is connected to the mains power supply and has a battery backup. A mains powered smoke alarm is more reliable than a battery powered smoke alarm as it will continue to work even if the batteries are flat. By law, all new homes must have mains wired-in smoke alarms fitted.

It is recommended that you get an alarm with a backup battery as it will continue to work even if there is a power outage.

As an owner of a rental property in Western Australia, it is your responsibility to have compliant mains-powered smoke alarms fitted prior to making the dwelling available for rent or hire. This is to ensure the safety of your tenants, as well as to comply with WA legislation. Smoke alarms are required by law to be fitted in all rental properties in WA, and must be tested and replaced regularly in order to be effective. Failure to do so could result in heavy fine – an infringement notice of $750, with the seller or landlord facing a fine of up to $5,000.

RCD & Smoke Alarm Regulations | WA Fire

In a nutshell

  • RCDs protect against electric shock by breaking the circuit if there is a fault.
  • At least two RCDs must be installed in all homes to comply with Western Australian legislation.
  • One hard-wired smoke alarm is also required.
  • Smoke Alarms must comply with AS 3786:2014 (Incorporating Amendment No. 1).
  • Smoke alarms must be installed and maintained in accordance with the regulations to avoid infringement notices of $750 or fines of up to $5,000.
  • RCDs must be installed in accordance with Western Australian legislation to avoid fines of up to $15,000.

If you’re unsure, we can help you

If in doubt, please call WA Fire on 1800 347392 or email us via our contact form.

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