A Step Forward in Safety - The New Rules for Smoke
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A Step Forward in Safety - The New Rules for Smoke

New Zealanders’ homes will become safer with the implementation of a Building Code update by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.

From November 2024, after a transition period starting this November, all new homes are required to have interconnected smoke alarms rather than stand-alone ones in every new bedroom and living space, on every level of a new build home.

Electrician installing PDL smoke alarm.

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.

According to MBIE, interconnected smoke alarms provide a two to three times’ increase in the ability to alert occupants in residential fires and for occupants to respond and escape from a fire.

Homeowner holding a smartphone on his right hand and smoke alarm on his left hand.

Transition Period Changes

Following the 12-month transition period, 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.

Electrician carrying his tool belt.

PDL’s Commitment to Compliance and Safety

Lyndsay McCarthy, National Builders Manager at PDL by Schneider Electric, says of the Building Code update, “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 multi-storey homes such as townhouses, interconnectivity is more important and helpful. If the kids 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, which is fully compliant and provides peace of mind for homeowners, renters, investors, and property managers, and can be installed easily in both new builds and retrofit projects due to its wireless functionality. It is important that those in the building and electrical industry are aware of these changes, so they can provide the right advice and guidance to their customers on residential projects.”

Man carrying a ladder.

PDL Wiser Interconnected Smoke Alarm

PDL’s Wiser smoke alarm is currently available and aligns with the Building Code update:

  • Interconnected: Complies with the updated Code, ensuring maximum safety.
  • Smart Home Integration: Easily integrates into Wiser smart home systems, offering additional features like automatic light activation when smoke is detected. Push notifications and regular test reminders through the Wiser app further enhance safety.
  • Versatile: Suitable for use in older homes as a standalone product.
  • Advanced Detection: Features a dual-spectrum photoelectric smoke detection chamber to minimise false alarms.
  • Wireless Installation: Effortless retrofitting for future compliance and insurance requirements.
  • Simple Installation: Can be purchased exclusively through electricians, who can install it, or by homeowners looking for a straightforward installation process.
  • Long Battery Life: Equipped with a lithium battery that lasts up to 12 years and can interconnect with up to 24 other Wiser smoke alarms, ensuring comprehensive coverage.

PDL by Schneider Electric’s unwavering dedication to fire safety and compliance guarantees that interconnected smoke alarms will become a standard feature, safeguarding families and properties throughout New Zealand.