Share House Accommodation

NSW legislation stipulates that residents must have at least one working smoke alarm (sometimes mistakenly referred to as “smoke detectors”) installed on each level of their home. This includes owner- occupied, rental properties, relocatable homes or any other residential building where people sleep.

Smoke alarms are life-saving devices that provide benefits for occupants. They detect smoke well before any sleeping occupant would and provide critical seconds to implement actions to save life and property.

Smoke alarms are designed to detect fire/smoke and emit a loud and distinctive sound to alert occupants of potential danger.

The Building Legislation Amendment (Smoke Alarms) Act 2005 and the Environmental Planning and Assessment Amendment (Smoke Alarms) Regulation 2006 commenced in NSW on 1 May 2006.

The legislation refers to residential accommodation across NSW and requires the installation of one or more smoke alarms in buildings in which people sleep, smoke alarms installed in such buildings must be operational, and people must not remove or interfere with the operation of smoke alarms installed in such buildings. A person who does not comply with the legislation is guilty of an offence (maximum penalty $550).

The types of Residential accommodation require smoke alarms are as follows; detached houses, terrace houses, town houses, villa units (Class 1a buildings), apartments, home units, flats (Class 2 buildings) caretakers flats, single residences above shops (Class 4 parts of buildings), relocatable homes, e.g. manufactured homes and moveable dwellings, campervans, caravans but not tents or soft sided camper trailers.

Shared accommodation installation is also mandatory in small boarding houses, guest houses, hostels; backpackers accommodation; bed and breakfast accommodation (Class 1b buildings), large boarding houses, guest houses, hostels, backpacker accommodation; residential parts of hotels, motels, schools, health care buildings, detention centres; certain residential accommodation for the aged, children and people with disabilities (Class 3 buildings) and hospitals and nursing homes (Class 9a health care buildings).

If you answered yes to any of the above, then you must have a minimum of one working smoke alarm on each level of your building.

Any alarms installed after 1 May 2006 must comply with AS3786.

Living in share house means more than working out the roster for washing up cleaning the house etc you also need to ensure that you have working smoke alarms in each level of the house and in each bedroom of the property.  These alarms are to be 240v hardwired or wireless.

You also need to have an evacuation procedure in place in the event of a fire.

The following fire safety measures can help reduce the risk of fire occurring,

Kitchen - ensure that stovetops, ovens and microwave ovens are cleaned regularly as accumulated grease and oil under the stove hotplates can cause a fire.

Electronics - Using broken electronics and electrical cords is another common cause of house fire, check your electronic appliances regularly and discard the items if the cords are broken or frayed.

At the start of winter check your electric blanket for any hot spots before using and never sleep with it turned on no matter how tempting

Power boards - Never overload power boards as this poses a high risk of overheating and exploding, so never use double adapters in them or piggyback power boards and extension cords. 

Heaters – Keep them a metre away from any furnishings and people, never leave heaters unattended or leave on when sleeping.

Wood Fires - Never leave a wood pile for wood fires stacked next to the fire and make sure the chimney and flues are cleaned professionally twice a year

Other things that are obvious risk for accidental fires are leaving candles unattended, smoking in bed.  Take precautions in the kitchen don’t leave food unattended on the stove, never mix water and hot oil

Wheat bags can also overheat when covered in bedding and are known to have started fatal house fires.


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