Changes to fire detection, alarm and warning system licences

Fire detection, alarm and warning system licences transitioned to the electrical stream under the new framework which commenced on 1 May 2021. 

Key changes for licensees:

  • The definition of ‘fire protection work’ has been amended and from 1 May 2021, no longer includes the installation, certification, repair or maintenance of a battery-operated smoke alarm in a building that is a class 1a or 2 building under the Building Code of Australia.
  • The contractor licensing exemption that allowed, prior to 1 May 2021, “Inspection, testing, installation or general repair by a person who is a licensed electrical mechanic, of a fire detection system, alarm system or emergency warning and communication system for a building” without a QBCC contractor licence was removed from 1 May 2021.  

  • Licensed electricians require a QBCC contractor licence for this fire protection work to the extent that it is not electrical work under the Electrical Safety Act 2002.

  • Employees of licensed contractors who hold an electrical mechanic’s licence will continue to be exempt from holding a QBCC occupational licence for this work.

  • To assist electrical mechanics who currently perform this work, transitional provisions will allow them to apply for the contractor licence before 1 November 2021, during which time they may continue to lawfully carry out this work.   

  • An alternative licensing pathway is also available during this time to assist electrical mechanics in obtaining a QBCC contractor or nominee supervisor licence. The alternative licensing pathway will enable electrical mechanics to meet technical qualifications by demonstrating 6 months’ experience in installing and maintaining the inputs, outputs and controls associated with fire detection systems, or emergency warning and intercom systems.

  • This specified experience may be accepted instead of the prescribed technical qualifications and is in addition to the experience requirements and other licensing requirements for a contractor and nominee supervisor licence. Applications seeking to rely on the alternative licensing pathway must be lodged before 1 November 2021. 

  • New definition to clarify 'fire alarm systems' includes intercom systems as well as smoke and heat alarm systems and devices. Please note that this definition is subject to the above exclusion from fire protection work of specified work associated with a battery-operated smoke alarms in class 1a or 2 buildings above. 

  • There are changes for licensees transitioning to the new ‘certify’ classes

  • The current ‘fire detection alarm and warning systems - maintain – extra low voltage’ class is a continuing class of licence with its current scope of work retained.  

Transitioned licensees 

Licensed electrical mechanics who currently install, maintain, repair, inspect or test fire detection alarm and warning systems have until 31 October 2021 to apply for a fire protection licence for this work.  

Upskilling requirement 

Contractors and nominee supervisors who hold both the electrical stream – install and maintain – fire alarms class and an electrical mechanic's licence can avoid the upskilling requirement if they demonstrate, to the QBCC before 1 November 2021, that they have: 

  • at least 6 months’ experience in installing and maintaining the inputs, outputs and controls associated with fire detection systems or emergency warning and intercom systems.  

The upskilling requirement for licensees transitioning to the 'electrical stream – install and maintain – fire alarm systems' has been amended to include an alternative upskilling option for licensees who also an electrical mechanic's licence. Licensed electrical mechanics may satisfy the upskilling requirement by demonstrating the satisfactory completion of 6 prescribed units of competency.

See this fact sheet for detailed information about changes to licence classes for emergency lighting + fire detection, alarm & warning systems (PDF).

Former licence classes that have transitioned: