All buildings except outbuildings, backcountry huts, or ancillary buildings must under the Building Code clause F7 have appropriate means of detection and warning for fire provided within each household unit.
All new dwellings and consented alterations to dwellings are required to have smoke alarms installed. No matter how minor the work carried out on a dwelling, if it requires a Building Consent, the whole dwelling must be upgraded with smoke alarms in order to comply with the Building Code. See MBIE guidance and also section 112 of the Building Act 2004.
Choosing a Smoke Alarm
The smoke alarms can be either hard wired or battery powered. In addition, they must have:
- A hush facility, i.e. a button that silences the alarm for a minimum duration of 60 seconds. A hush facility is a button on the smoke alarm which silences the alarm for a limited time after activation. This allows the cause of a nuisance alarm to be cleared without having to remove the battery to silence the smoke alarm.
- An alarm test facility easily reached by the building occupants. This facility may be located on the smoke alarms.
- Approval by a recognised authority as complying with at least one of:
- UL 217
- ULC S531
- AS 3786
- BS 5446 Part 1
- For more advice go to Fire and Emergency NZ
Where do I need to install Smoke Alarms?
Smoke detectors must be located
- on the escape routes on all levels within the dwelling.
- either in every sleeping space or within 3 metres of every sleeping space door, so that the alarm is audible to occupants on the other side of a closed door.
- so that an alarm is given before the escape route from any bedroom becomes blocked by smoke. This includes those parts of escape routes on other floors. Although not required by the Acceptable Solution F7, the interconnection of individual smoke alarms should be considered if audibility is a problem.
Smoke alarms are to be installed on or near the ceiling, in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. View the newest information from Fire and Emergency NZ about buying and installing Smoke Alarms.
Maintenance – keeping Smoke Alarms in good working order
Follow the manufacturer’s maintenance advice. Generally, it is advised that on a monthly basis you should:
- Confirm that the alarm still works by pressing the test facility located on the outside of the device. Replace dead batteries immediately.
- Gently vacuum the dust that gathers on the device. Do not take the alarm apart or off its mount to do this.
- Building Code clause F7
- Acceptable Solution F7
- Fire Safety and Evacuation of Buildings Regulations 2006
- For further information on smoke alarms and building consents, please contact the Building Unit of your local Council.
Last updated 2018-09-11