NSW Department of Planning and Environment

Smoke alarms

Smoke alarms are critical life-saving devices that provide early warning to sleeping occupants of the presence of fire. This is why smoke alarms are compulsory in all homes, apartments, rental properties, relocatable homes, caravans, moveable dwellings or any other residential building where people sleep.

Since the early 1990’s, smoke alarms have been mandatory in certain newly constructed buildings in NSW. This was expanded in 2006 to require smoke alarms in all existing homes and other shared accommodation buildings.

Building and apartment owners must ensure that at least one working smoke alarm complying with Australian Standard 3786 is installed on each level of the premises.

Information about the types of alarms required and where to locate alarms in existing buildings can be found in the Smoke Alarms Advisory note. This information is only relevant to buildings that were not required to have smoke alarms installed as part of the construction of the building or similar requirement.

For new buildings, minimum requirements for smoke alarms are contained in the National Construction Code.

Information on smoke alarm requirements for caravans and moveable dwellings can be found in the Planning Circular BS 11-001 - New smoke alarm requirements for moveable dwellings.

Note: Any reference to AS3786-1993 in the Advisory Note and Planning Circular needs to be read as a reference to AS3786-2014.

More information

Fire and Rescue NSW

Provides information for the community, including the types of alarms available and their maintenance, and advice for landlords, tenants, the aged and people with hearing impairments.
For further information, visit Fire and Rescue NSW.

NSW Fair Trading

For information about changes to fair trading laws, which affect landlords and tenants, owners and residents of residential parks, strata scheme lot owners, and operators and residents of retirement villages, visit NSW Fair Trading.

Department of Customer Service

The Department of Customer Service Building Code Advisory Service can provide general information about the smoke alarm requirements for new and existing buildings. This service operates between 9.30am and 11.30am on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays and can be contacted on (02) 9372 9271. For further information, visit Department of Customer Service.

Page last updated: 31/08/2022