RCD & Smoke Alarm Compliance

RCD & Smoke Alarm Compliance

Smoke Alarm Maintenance

The Building Regulations 2012 do clearly state that it is the responsibility of the owner (i.e. landlord) to ensure “to the extent practicable” that the smoke alarms are in full working order and not more than 10 years old (Part 8, Division 3, Regulation 62).

What maintenance companies are offering is a yearly testing and cleaning program to meet the above “to the extent practicable” requirement and safeguard the landlord/real estate agent against any legal ramifications that may arise.

Current legislation and standards do not specify how often smoke alarms must be tested however the relevant authorities do provide recommendations.

FESA recommend that occupants test alarms monthly by pressing the “test” button on the alarm and also recommend cleaning of the smoke alarm with a vacuum cleaner at least once a year. Additionally, FESA recommend changing the backup battery in mains powered smoke alarms yearly.

Residual Current Device (RCD) Maintenance

Overseas research indicates that a primary cause of failure of RCDs is ingress of dust and moisture which can cause the moving components to stick or to operate slower than intended. The research also shows that regular testing, by pushing the “test” button, is effective in improving reliability.

Energy safety recommend that property managers remind their tenants to push the “test” button on RCDs every three months and notify them if the RCD does not operate. While this simple test moves the contacts and aids reliability it does not test the operating time of the RCD.

AS/NZS 3760:2010 recommends an appropriately trained, qualified or experienced person carries out their own push-button test along with an operating/disconnection time test at least once every two years (for residential properties). When tested at its rated sensitivity an RCD must trip within 300 milliseconds (for a 30mA RCD), which is much less than the critical section of the cardiac cycle, therefore significantly reducing the risk of death or injury.

By using a qualified electrician to carry out smoke alarm and RCD maintenance the property manager and the owner can be assured that the correct procedures are undertaken to ensure that the property is smoke alarm and RCD compliant and safe.

Bara Electrical and Services are experienced in checking properties for smoke alarm and RCD compliance in accordance with the relevant codes including installation and testing for correct operation. We have put together a package for our clients to provide scheduled maintenance and testing of smoke alarms and RCDs in accordance with the relevant codes and regulations.