New Zealanders’ homes are set to become safer with the implementation of a Building Code update by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment. From 01 November 2024, it will be mandatory for all new homes to have a Type 1 Smoke Alarm System.
C1-C6 Protection from Fire – Acceptable Solution C/AS1, published by MBIE on 02 November 2023, requires that “each household unit shall be provided with a minimum of Type 1 domestic smoke alarm system in compliance with NZS 4514.”
What is a Type 1 Smoke Alarm System?
A Type 1 is a smoke alarm or multiple interconnected smoke alarm devices, each containing a smoke detector and an alarm sounding feature. According to MBIE, interconnected smoke alarms alert occupants in residential fires faster and provide occupants more time to respond and escape from a fire.
Where does NZS 4514:2021 require smoke alarms to be installed?
Smoke alarms are required in all bedrooms, living spaces, hallways, and landings within the building.
How Do Interconnected Smoke Alarms Work?
Interconnected smoke alarms work by sending signals between the smoke alarms in a house. This means that if one smoke alarm in a particular room detects a fire, all the smoke alarms in that house will activate and sound an alarm – adding an extra layer of safety by letting everyone in the house know about a fire at the same time, even if they are further away or sleeping.
Transition Period Changes
From 01 November 2024, previous versions of acceptable solutions and verification methods will no longer be deemed to comply with the Building Code. For new buildings, a hard-wired interconnected smoke alarm system can be installed during construction while the house is being wired.
For those who wish to upgrade to the new Building Code requirements in the course of renovating an existing building, there is a battery-operated, wireless interconnected smoke alarm system which enables safety improvement without rewiring the home.
PDL’s Commitment to Compliance and Safety
Lyndsay McCarthy, National Builders Manager at PDL by Schneider Electric, says of the Building Code update, “PDL by Schneider Electric recommends that builders begin to incorporate the new building code regulations as soon as possible. Interconnected smoke alarms are a crucial safety feature for any modern home; they ensure all occupants of a home receive a fire alert earlier and simultaneously. The new regulations requiring them in all new builds will go a long way in protecting families from potential fire hazards.
“As New Zealand housing moves further into medium-density territory with more new multistorey homes and townhouses, interconnectivity is more important and helpful. If the children and parents are on different floors, an interconnected smoke alarm system means everyone hears the alert at once. We are pleased to offer solutions such as the PDL Wiser smoke alarm and Clipsal Fire Tek® smoke alarms, which are fully compliant and help provide peace of mind for homeowners, renters, investors, and property managers.
Schneider Electric’s interconnected smoke alarm solutions that comply to the new building code update:
PDL Wiser Smoke alarm – PDL599WSAL
- Interconnected; can be used to comply with the updated Code.
- Can be integrated into Wiser smart home automations, with additional features such as lights turning on when smoke is detected (an extra safety measure for very young or elderly occupants, or those who may not be able to hear an alarm), and push notifications. Through the Wiser app, test reminders (like the emergency alerts sent to your phone) will be sent at regular intervals to prompt alarm system tests.
- Can be used as an independent, stand-alone product in older homes.
- As a quality product, it features a dual spectrum photoelectric smoke detection chamber to help mitigate false alarms.
- Wireless, so can be easily fitted retrospectively. This is a future solution in case the Code later requires all existing builds, not just new builds, to have interconnected smoke alarms. This will also help ensure property owners remain ahead of regulations for insurance purposes.
- Purchased exclusively via electricians; the wireless alarm can be installed by a registered electrician or by the homeowner or occupant – it’s as easy as using a few screws.
- Features a lithium battery that lasts for up to 10 years and can be interconnected with up to 40 other Wiser smoke alarms, ensuring everyone in the house is alerted to a potential fire.
Clipsal Fire Tek® mains powered smoke alarms – 755PSMA4, 755RLPSMA4 & 755PFM4:
- Interconnect up to 40 smoke alarms
- Photoelectric smoke detection technology
- 220-240V powered with 9VDC and rechargeable lithium battery backup up options
- Stylish flush mount and surface mount designs
- Simple installation and maintenance in new or existing homes.
- Robust design with 5 Ticks quality certification mark.