Hi and welcome back to my blog, as many of you know by now one of my things is to ensure that not just my company but companies that we consult with are up to date with all the recent changes to Building Codes. We should by now be aware that the Building Code of Australia (BCA) 2014 now stipulate that new Class 1 buildings (a detached house or one or more attached dwellings) that require more than one smoke alarm, need to be fitted with interconnecting smoke alarms.

This change, which came into effect on 1 May 2014, seeks to improve the response rate to residential fires, so that when one smoke alarm in a building is triggered, all others installed in the same building will also be activated. This change will be particularly beneficial for two storey buildings or homes where bedrooms are separated by living areas.

Currently, the layout of some homes can create a situation where sleeping occupants in different parts of the home may not be alerted to the presence of a fire. Interconnected smoke alarms will ensure that if one alarm in the house goes off, they all go off. Even if the fire starts and is detected in the basement, people asleep upstairs will hear the alarm because of this safety feature — every alarm in the house goes off.

fssIf you buy an AC-powered smoke detector today, it will have three wires — black, white and red. Black accepts 120 volts AC, white is neutral, and red is the intercommunication wire. All of the alarms operate off the same circuit from the fuse box and are normally connected using normal wire for three-way switches. The electrician runs the red wire from alarm to alarm to interconnect them.

When any alarm detects a fire, it sends a 9-volt signal on the red wire. Any alarm that detects a 9-volt signal on the red wire will begin sounding its alarm immediately. Most alarms can handle about a dozen units intercommunicating on the same red wire. It’s a very simple and a very effective system.

……….. ‘Til the next time Greg