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smoke alarm overcharging

Discussion in 'Property Management' started by Fernfurn, 31st Oct, 2015.

  1. Fernfurn

    Fernfurn Active Member

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    Isigned up for a $99 py smoke alarm check and have just received the first bill for $380. Bill includes servicing $99 .and renewing 4alarms. I only have 2 in this townhouse. On discussion about why they would service alarms and then replace them with them they said the $99 was actually their call out fee. On advising them I only have 2 in the place they sent me a long list of smoke alarm regulations which said they need one 1500m from each bedroom so they had to put in extras. When I said this was a relatively new townhouse I am surprised they are out of date, they said they need replacing in 2016 and they wouldnt be back again in that area before then, so replaced them now. I really feel this is total gouging and as I didn't authorise all this work and was never even notified although I am reachable by mobile all the time I really feel disinclined to pay this invoice
     
  2. charlie01

    charlie01 Active Member

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    I am in Brisbane. I do it myself. All I need is get a form from PM,fill out the locations of the alarms,expiry dates,and I change batteries yearly. I used smoke alarm company before I noticed all I got is bills from them. I doubt if they actually came out to check the alarms because I had to go to my IPs to change batteries all the time.(They possibly charged me fees for the services they never delivered)
     
  3. Scott No Mates

    Scott No Mates Well-Known Member

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    @Fernfurn - Refer to the BCA

    upload_2015-10-31_14-44-25.png

    upload_2015-10-31_14-45-7.png

    upload_2015-10-31_14-46-3.png

    In most cases two will suffice.

    If you don't know, then consult the BCA or have the property manager confirm why they are spending your money.
     
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  4. Scott No Mates

    Scott No Mates Well-Known Member

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    Can you post the list? There is nothing in the BCA which tells you that a detector needs to be 1.5km from the bedroom (it would be pretty ineffective or very sensitive).

    Some detectors do have a limited life - totally dependent upon the radioactive isotope.
     
    Last edited: 2nd Nov, 2015
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  5. mrdobalina

    mrdobalina Well-Known Member

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    Just finishing building new units. Definitely didn't have 1 smoke alarm per bedroom.

    Scam.
     
  6. Azazel

    Azazel Well-Known Member

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    That sounds a bit strange.
    But if you're in a different location, you need to have someone do it for you.
    The PM should organise a more reasonable option.
     
  7. dabbler

    dabbler Well-Known Member

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    Only ever seen one in most single level dwelling usually in hallway.
     
  8. Richard Williams

    Richard Williams Buyers Agent - Southeast QLD Business Member

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    Which company? I signed up I think it was for unlimited smoke alarm replacement and annual check for no more than $99pa I think... Sounds too cheap to be true.
     
  9. Richard Williams

    Richard Williams Buyers Agent - Southeast QLD Business Member

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    What form is that?
     
  10. charlie01

    charlie01 Active Member

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    RE's own smoke alarm record form
     
  11. mush

    mush Well-Known Member

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    Hi Fernfurn, for all the information you need google: "Your State",i.e Queensland,department of commerce/government smoke alarms.
     
  12. Fernfurn

    Fernfurn Active Member

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    what is the full name of the BCA so I canlook itup? I have looked up Vic smoke alarm regs and there are virtually none, just that you have to have one. The company is Smarthouse Fire Solutions and I would really love to know detail of the Vic govt regs as according to their paperwork they have put anew one in 1900mm from B3 one and 300mm!!!! from B3
     
  13. Scott No Mates

    Scott No Mates Well-Known Member

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    @Fernfurn - read my original post. All you need to know is in the National Construction Code of Australia.

    abcb.gov.au
     
    Last edited: 2nd Nov, 2015
  14. Fernfurn

    Fernfurn Active Member

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    thank you, just didn't know what the BCA was. Have just looked all over this site and typed into 'search' but cant find anything about them. have put inn a request for info
     
    Last edited: 2nd Nov, 2015
  15. Hanison

    Hanison Well-Known Member

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  16. Michael Thomas

    Michael Thomas Member

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    The BCA Volume 2 and the NCC set down the minimum requirements for smoke alarms in Australia at a national level.
    In neither of these documents including amendments is there any requirement for alarms to be within a specific distance from bedroom doors.
    However every state and territory do have their own respective codes that set down additional requirements to those in the BCA and NCC.
    In Queensland, this is called the QDC (Queensland Development Code). There is no requirement in the QDC for proximity of smoke alarms to bedrooms in residential class 1a dwellings.
    In Victoria however, I do believe that the Victorian Building Commission may have additional requirements in relation to proximity with bedrooms, although I cannot be sure, as I operate in Brisbane only.
    In saying this, this is not the first time I have heard of one of our competitors pushing Victoria specific legislation onto Queenslanders, which is appalling practice.
     
  17. Plucka

    Plucka Well-Known Member

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    Sounds like you got scammed bad. $380 for 2 smoke alarms, you know you can buy them for $20 at bunnings. BS regulation they quoted as well.
     
  18. Plucka

    Plucka Well-Known Member

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    I know my smoke alarm testing company charges about the same $99 but this includes replacing any alarms that need to. Given they didn't check with you in advance I would refuse to pay the invoice. Tell them to remove the alarms they added if they wish.
     
  19. Michael Thomas

    Michael Thomas Member

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    Playing devil's advocate for just a moment ....
    $380.00 is a tad steep.
    However Plucka, the cheapest hard-wired alarm from Bunnings is over $40.00 per unit, not $20.00.
    Then add the electrician cost (these cannot be installed by anybody but a licensed electrician and most smoke alarm companies have electrical sub-contractors), so typically the cost (cost price to the smoke alarm company) to REPLACE two hard-wired smoke alarms is approximately $180.00 - $200.00 (and that is installing higher quality and more expensive photo-electric alarms that we generally acquire at trade cost, that ends up being similar in cost to the retail cost of the ionisation type alarms).
    However in this case it sounds like the smoke alarm company has:
    1. Advised that two EXTRA alarms be installed. This would require the roughing in of additional wiring, junction boxes etc to connect the EXTRA alarms to the lighting circuit of the dwelling. This incurs more material costs and labour and typically would inflate the cost to around the $240.00 - $320.00 mark.
    2. Potentially advised you to have work done that is not required at all to meet with your state specific legislation.

    The big question here is not whether $380.00 was too expensive, but more so, does this company have any idea what they are actually talking about at all?
    WAS THE WORK EVEN REQUIRED AT ALL?

    If not, there should have been no cost whatsoever but that of their inspection fee if not already paid for.

    I would very much like to know if any other Queenslanders have experienced anything similar as it gives our industry a really bad name.
     
  20. Plucka

    Plucka Well-Known Member

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    I was referring to battery alarms but yes I forgot about the law requiring newer buildings to have them hard wired. Depends if the house/unit was built before 1997.