RCD and Smoke alarm testing

Discussion in 'Property Management' started by smallbuyer, 22nd Jan, 2018.

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  1. smallbuyer

    smallbuyer Well-Known Member

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    Got a message from my property manager saying i should take a $129 p/a package to test/replace smoke alarms and test RCD's. Seems like a lot, i though property managers should be testing smoke alarms / RCD's during inspections and you only should have to replace them every 10 years. I heard you can get sealed 10 year batteries now so you dont even need to change these?
    This is in WA and the property is almost new.

    Is my assumption wrong, anyone got any more info on this?

    Cheers
     
  2. Illusivedreams

    Illusivedreams Well-Known Member

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    I know. Nsw is more flexible than say QLD.
    But laws are nuts.
    Testing RCDs that' a new one
     
  3. bunkai

    bunkai Well-Known Member

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    Yeh.RCDs is a new one ;)

    I confirmed with my PM/provider that the service includes replacing any faulty detectors that they had installed for the full ten years. I am happy to pay for the service but not to be then be slugged 60 for a $15 detector on an apparent fault. I suspect that is what is going to happen when they start looking for more revenue from their business model.
     
  4. lightbulbmoment

    lightbulbmoment Well-Known Member

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    Getting ripped dont do it
     
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  5. Tom Rivera

    Tom Rivera Property Manager Business Member

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    Property Managers are NOT allowed to test smoke alarms, and they MUST be tested by either the Landlord or the compliance company 30 days prior to lease renewal or annually (whichever comes first).

    RCD testing and blind cord compliance are extra services that some of these companies offer.

    Annual plans range anywhere from about $79 p.a. all the way to $149+. I personally have my clients on a $99 plan because I found the companies charging less were unreliable, which cancels out any benefit of using them in the first place as far as liability is concerned.
     
  6. Ted Varrick

    Ted Varrick Well-Known Member

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    You probably wont be paying for a $15 detector.

    You will need a detector with either a 10 year battery or one that's hard wired (in NSW).

    And you should consider your insurance company's response if your IP has a fire where neither of these are in place.
     
  7. bunkai

    bunkai Well-Known Member

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    The example was illustrative - and equally applies to a more expensive detector. I can just see this work being subcontracted out and paid per job and replacement detector.

    and I suspect my insurance company's response would be fine as all of my properties are compliant with the current and upcoming legislation in their locations ;) Varies a lot by location.
     
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  8. G..

    G.. Well-Known Member

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  9. marmot

    marmot Well-Known Member

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    Maybe he is saying that they dont personally test them , but use a 3rd party that is suitably qualified to test and clean, and then supply the paper trail.
    Which then covers everyones backsides in the event of a fire.
    Some states also require the owners to submit a fire safety statement to the local council and the fire brigade annually, but that is more for short term tourist accommodation(stayz,airbnb etc)
     
  10. GapPhantom

    GapPhantom Active Member

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    If a "Property Manager" isn't "suitably qualified" to test and clean a smoke alarm, then god help us...
    Is it older than 10 years? Yes or No?
    Is it working... Press the Test button and does it make noise... Yes or No?
    Is it free from dust and grease, not obstructed.. Yes or No?
     
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  11. S.T

    S.T Well-Known Member

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    Should just stick this in the official property management training courses, a long with how to change a light bulb.
     
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  12. Paul@PFI

    [email protected] Tax Accounting + SMSF Business Plus Member

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    Old radioactive type alarms are now prohibited...Impossible to buy now. Photoelectric must be installed now. If its got the radioactive symbol its outdated. (New ones do cost a bit more)
    Special rules require hardwired as a minimum in a new build or after reno. Sparkies know the rules and the circuit / backup battery requirements.
    Number of points depends on property design. One is not compliant in many cases.
    Alarms have a expiry date
    NEW alarms since late 2017 are sealed units - Battery exchange models are now outdated and not allowed to be installed but the battery can be replaced provided they arent defective. Battery replacement models now dont comply with AS3786-2014 BUT.........The former battery models are due to be phased out in 2022. Better to do so from now on.
    While new ones are sealed 10 year life units its not as simple as putting one or two in.


    The area of these alarms is complex and until you are compliant with 10 year sealed units AND battery backup then the PM service is a great idea. But the ambulance chasers have made a cottage industry of fear. That is being falsely dumped on owners.

    Choking hazards with cords
    Water temperature cutoff
    Meth detection
    Electrical connection test and tag
    Non faulty faulty switches and plugs
    Carbon monoxide alerts
    Pools and fencing
    Fall hazards with shelving, drawers and TVs
    Paint and electromagnetic hazards
    Insulation hazards
    Asbestos materials
    Lead paints
    AC remote batteries have gone flat - WTF !!
    Who will change the light bulbs on ceiling or in oven ?

    ...just some of the stupid things tenants whinge about.


    Soon property owners will need to install sleep apnea machines and ensure concrete surfaces are replaced with nerf foam protectors....Houses wrapped in bubble wrap. And then someone will whinge its not organic plastic or made from hemp seeds.

    But if I own a property these obligations are ignored. Double standards ??

    Tenants need to accept these risks and responsibilities and be given clearer direction in the lease and by PMs. Its out of control.
     
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  13. marmot

    marmot Well-Known Member

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    In many cases where the smoke detector has been there for a number of years, there is a good chance the date of installation was never written on it, or the sticker has long since fallen off .
    The also should test under "smoke conditions", and if a detector has been fitted in the correct position, fitted in the wrong area, it is next to useless
    The owner of the property should have the paperwork from installation , and in many cases council will have the documentation ,as it would form part of the final compliance certificate with the relevant building code.
    They vary depending on the building code,Class 1,1b and 2 etc and it forms part of the Fire Safety Measures, depending on the class of building.
    A property manager would not know what the essential measures are, as they vary from property to property, depending on its usage, and the building class,as set out by council.
    Many councils require annual inspection of the "Essential Measures" ,but that is mainly when it is used for short term holiday accommodation(stayz,airbnb etc) and can sometimes also include fire blankets and fire extinguishers, but that is also set out in the D.A paperwork .
     
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  14. GapPhantom

    GapPhantom Active Member

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    Sorry, so common sense then would say "I can't confirm it's under 10 years old, replace it..."

    Nope... No different to testing an RCD... Press the button, and it works... Full functional proof testing isn't required!

    All good marmot.. I think you're overcomplicating a very simple device.. Smoke detectors have been designed to be simple because otherwise people won't use them!!
     
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  15. Redwing

    Redwing Well-Known Member

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    Our smoke alarms are hardwired with 9v 10 year battery back up in case of loss of power

    WA DFES Smoke Alarm Legislative Requirements

    2 x complaint RCD's

    WA Residual Current Devices (RCDs) / safety switches

    To ensure that the RCDs fitted to your property perform correctly, they must be tested at regular intervals. EnergySafety recommends that each RCD be tested every three months.

    To test your RCD press the ‘test’ button on the front of the device quickly and then release it. The button will only test the RCD if an electricity supply is connected.

    Pressing the test button will simulate an earth leakage fault and indicates whether the device is operating correctly. When an RCD operates all power is lost to the equipment, power point or circuit protected by the RCD. To restore power simply move the “on/off” switch back to the “on” position. Electrical clocks and timing devices may have to be reset.

    If the RCD fails to operate, a licensed electrical contractor must be engaged to test the RCD and replace it if necessary.
     
  16. GapPhantom

    GapPhantom Active Member

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    @Redwing.. Perfect... Press the button, it works or it doesn't.. Not rocket science by any means!
     
  17. Real-Spark

    Real-Spark New Member

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    Redwing is 100% correct.
    There are a number of Real Estate firms telling their landlords that they have to engage an electrician who checks their RCD's and Smoke Alarms annually. I advise people to ignore this as there is no such law in WA. This is just money for jam for the electrician. Owners should demand that their property manager checks those devices during their quarterly inspections. Take a say 800mm stick along and test the smoke alarms as well as the rcd's. Simple, no rocket science. It requires no tools or licences. If any of the devices don't work, then engage an electrician.
     
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  18. Scott No Mates

    Scott No Mates Well-Known Member

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    Also comes in handy as a cattle prod for recalcitrant tenants. :eek:
     
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  19. Paul@PFI

    [email protected] Tax Accounting + SMSF Business Plus Member

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    Only a electrician can identify and replace a hardwired battery that requires replacement. Testing hardwired units is problematic and in some cases powering the property down is recommended to test for backup. A sparkies job. A battery alarm aged 10years is expired even if it works and must be replaced. A property not capable of hardwired installation may be exempt from a hardwired alarm requirement and a specific battery alarm may be allowed instead but a electrician needs to determine that. Hence why many PMs engage qualified electricians to test all variety of alarms. PMs are also reluctant to accept liability for new batteries in new leases as they consider the device a electrical appliance.

    All states are rolling out semi-uniform changes to comply with Australian Standards (national uniformity) and the state fire brigade website will explain the relevant laws and date/s. All rental properties will require a powered alarm as a minimum in due course.

    Here are the rules.
    QLD
    NSW
    VIC
    SA
    WA
    ACT
    NT

    Responsibility for maintenance after a tenancy commences varies. eg In NSW landlord must installa new battery (it fails to mention sealed units !!) and then it MAY be the occupant who must change and maintain the unit but an occupant incapable of changing the battery (eg old, disabled) is excluded and the landlord must do it. A grey area.....sealed units, what is real incapability (?) and what happens is the unit is past 10 years arent explained. Again, reason who many PMs outsource the specialised information needed to meet compliance.

    State laws vary for landlord and tenant / occupant responsibility. Typically governed by state residential tenancy laws, state planning and development laws AND state smoke detector laws. Renovations (what degree?) trigger a requirement for hardwired alarms.

    If the alarm has a radiation symbol (ionisation type) on the underside it should be replaced even prior to its expiry date and the sooner the better. Not actually banned retailers have been strongly encouraged to cease selling them. Bans on old style units have been proposed. Photoelectric alternatives should be common in retail stores. The new photoelectric ones are sealed units. Up to 10 years life. Unless installed correctly they chirp. If battery gets low they chirp. They have a flashing LED that indicates that it operates. And a test button.

    Smoke alarms save lives and is all they do. Landlords should accept this is a responsibility. And that means a cost incurred. The prevention of unthinkable loss of life in your property is worth a minor cost
     
  20. Real-Spark

    Real-Spark New Member

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    Provided it is known how old the smoke alarms are, it is common sense to check/test those devices. If a person can change a 12v battery in their remote for whatever, then they should be able to change a battery in a smoke alarm on 1 April. It is however a grey area as to who should change the battery, tenant or landlord. A decent and capable PM can do this if not, they are useless. There are many in the the industry who don't know the difference between a circuit breaker and a RCD and a hard wired smoke alarm and a battery operated one.The former has a green light when energized by 240v.
    Once again if the testing of the device RCD or Smoke Alarm does not require tools to open, in other words exposing live wiring > low voltage, then anybody can test.
    Engage an electrician where needed by all means.