Flat Chat Forum Common Property Current Page

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  • #12142
    LawoftheLand
    Flatchatter

    Hi,

    We have excessive smoke alarms in our Lots. For example my 2 bedroom Lot has four (yes 4!) alarms.  I am all for safety and abiding by legislation but there is definitely an overkill here.

    In a Department of Planning document it states a building classified as a level 2 only requires one smoke alarm per level flooring. We are a level 2 building, registered in 2007, mixed scheme use of 42 lots and 1 commercial in NSW.

    Rather than rely on the S/M’s “understanding” or vague “interpretation ” and the fire companies “recommendations” can anyone give me specific directions here including building codes or legislative requirements – please? 

    Also do these unnecessary smoke alarms now form common property.  Why do we need to maintain 4 alarms when 1 would suffice and that’s what the law states?

     

    https://www.fire.nsw.gov.au/gallery/files/pdf/community/smoke_alarms_advisory_note.pdf

Viewing 10 replies - 1 through 10 (of 10 total)
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  • #31087
    Lady Penelope
    Strataguru

    The answer to your query about smoke alarms and common property very much depends on the type of smoke alarms that were installed  and how they were installed.

    The extract below is from the Strataman site:

    Repair & Maintenance

    Under current legislation, the Owners Corporation is responsible for repairing AND maintaining smoke alarms IF the smoke alarms are hard-wired to the lot’s electricity supply with a backup battery or connected to a common fire board or panel.  However, if the smoke detectors are stand alone and battery-operated, then the lot owner (or tenant) is responsible for checking and changing the battery.  Ultimately, The Owners Corporation is responsible for replacing or repairing a faulty smoke alarm.

    #31094
    LawoftheLand
    Flatchatter
    Chat-starter

    Thanks Lady P.

    So okay they’re now deemed common property. Even if they were installed when the building was erected by the over zealous fire company/developer? (probably deliberately- $$$) there are still too many in each Lot.

    Stata Law state they are common property and have to be maintained and yet Department of Planning Law state how many have to be installed per level. Why do we need to maintain excessive smoke alarms that were installed wrongly in the first instance? 

    I still don’t understand.

    #31097
    twosailram
    Flatchatter

    The answer is possibly driven by the floor plan, but before a fire, 1 might be enough, after a fire where an occupier doesn’t get woken by a single alarm, one isn’t enough.

    Is this such a big expense to get too concerned about? Our building’s hard wired alarms have a 10 year life. Our strata has other much higher and more frequent recurring expenses to focus on.

    #31103
    tharra
    Flatchatter

    twosailram is likely on the money, the smoke alarm install is dictated by floor plate/construction issues. Before casting blame I’d be going back to look at the Fire Safety Reports generated during design/construction & annual fire safety checks of your strata scheme. Reports should be lodged with your council. Having spent some quality time with the boxes of documents concerning our scheme it can take some time to sift through to find what you’re looking for.

    Not sure where you are but I’ve found the City of Sydney archives department super helpful with access requests. They email  digitised documents otherwise are happy to book appointments for archive viewing in their reading room.

    #31108
    challis
    Flatchatter

    My unit in potts point-sydney had smoke alarm in every room,which went off when ever someone burnt there toast–cooked a well done steak-

    i spoke to the fireman,i dont come over to your house if you burn your toast,and give you a $500 bill for the visit,why do i get discriminated against becouse i live in a home unit and like to eat burnt toast !!!

     

    came home 1 day to find the fire brigade had broken down every door on the 3rd floor to find a rouge sensor that decided to go off for no known reason,nice earner for the fire door installer,at $2500 odd for each 6 new doors!!! makes the painters and dockers union look good these installers,kickback to someone?

    after talking to the council we were able to change over from smoke to heat alarm all but the hall way sensor,and now its managable

    its not excessive to have a sensor in each room,what is is the 2nd class citizen you are living in a home unit

    #31111
    pommie
    Flatchatter

    @Lady Penelope said:

    The extract below is from the Strataman site:

    Repair & Maintenance

    Under current legislation, the Owners Corporation is responsible for repairing AND maintaining smoke alarms IF the smoke alarms are hard-wired to the lot’s electricity supply with a backup battery OR connected to a common fire board or panel. 

    I understood that, in NSW, the Owners Corporation was only responsible for hard-wired alarms within a Lot IF they were connected to a fire control panel or interconnected. Otherwise, testing and replacement was the Lot Owners responsibility.

    Our Strata Manager, in a document on their webpage, that

    If the smoke detectors are stand alone and are not connected to a fire board in the building then they are
    Owners Responsibility, otherwise they are Owners Corporation.

    The current regulation (Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation 2000, Part 9 Division 7A Clause 186A) talks about the Owner of a Lot within a strata building being responsible for the installation and maintenance of an alarm.

    Is this the correct interpretation?

    #31112
    Jimmy-T
    Keymaster

    Is what the correct interpretation? You have cited several sources. 

    But to answer the question, if the smoke alarms are connected to each other or wired into the building (in whatever way), they are strata responsibility.  Otherwise, unless otherwise stated in the strata plan or by-laws, they are the individual lot owners’.

    #31113
    pommie
    Flatchatter

    Sorry – I meant my initial statement – the Owners Corporation was only responsible for hard-wired (powered) alarms within a Lot IF they were connected to a fire control panel or interconnected.

    Our strata manager is telling us that if they are monitored centrally, then they are the Owners Corporation responsibility to repair and replace. If they are simply powered from the mains power with a Lot, then they are the Lot Owners responsibility.

    You are saying that if they are connected to the mains power, but not otherwise monitored, they are still the Owners Corporation responsibility?

    #31114
    Lady Penelope
    Strataguru

    The assessment from your SM sounds reasonable.

    The reasons for the discrepancies are probably because the EPA Regulations are the bare minimum for safety. Fire & Rescue NSW recommends owners and occupants consider higher levels of protection than that stated in the Regulations. Some owners and OCs opt for the higher level of protections as recommended by the NSW Fire & Rescue.

    Extract from Real Property Services:

    It is the Owner’s responsibility to install, replace and maintain any smoke alarms within their individual unit. This includes replacing the batteries and testing once a year.

    The exception to this is if the smoke alarm was installed by the Owners Corporation. In that case, the owners corporation is responsible for maintaining and testing the smoke alarm.

    If an individual lot owner fails to replace their smoke alarm once it has passed it’s used by date, it would not affect the Owners Corporation’s strata insurance and The Owners Corporation would still be compliant with the Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulations.

    #31122
    LawoftheLand
    Flatchatter
    Chat-starter

    Thank you for all the input, most helpful.

    The use of words like “recommends” and “consider” by any S/M or appearing on quotes should be a red flag to all, in my opinion.  Especially when the quote is astronomical or a “Rolls Royce” version.  Ultimately it is the decision of the O/C to spend the funds wisely and in accordance with varying legislations. Not just because the S/M said so. And hey, I would like to “recommend” a pool with a swim up cocktail bar serviced by wait staff 24/7, see if I can get that over the line! Lol.

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