Electrical stream

Fire alarm systems and emergency lighting assist building occupants to safely evacuate in the event of a fire. 

Electrical stream licences are offered across the following classes:

  • design – fire alarms systems
  • certify – fire alarm systems
  • certify – emergency lighting 
  • install and maintain – fire alarm systems
  • inspect and test – emergency lighting. 

Licensed electrical mechanics can continue to inspect and test emergency lighting without a QBCC licence.

However, the contractor licensing exemption that, up until 1 May 2021, had enabled licensed electricians to carry out fire protection work for the installation, maintenance, general repair, inspection or testing of fire detection, alarm and warning systems will be removed from 1 May 2021.

The removal of this exemption means electrical mechanics will need to hold a contractor’s licence for fire protection work on fire alarm systems that is not otherwise electrical work.  

Electrical contractors who currently perform this work will have until 31 October 2021 to lodge an application for the required licence. Electrical mechanics who did not perform this work prior to 1 May 2021 and who seek to do so as a contractor will require a contractor’s fire protection licence from 1 May 2021.  

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.  

Work on domestic battery-operated smoke alarms (in a class 1a or 2 building) will not require a QBCC fire protection licence.  

Transitional provisions have been included to enable licensed electrical mechanics – until 31 October 2021 – to apply for a QBCC contractor or nominee supervisor licence, with alternative licensing pathways also available during this period. 

Scopes of work

Design – fire alarm systems
  • design fire alarm systems.

Note: the scope of work does not include professional engineering services under the Professional Engineers Act 2002.

Certify – fire alarm systems
  • certify fire alarm systems.
Certify – emergency lighting
  • certify emergency lighting.
Install and maintain – fire alarm systems
  • install and maintain fire alarm systems, restricted to systems that are extra-low voltage – AND 
  • install fire collars, if the installation is incidental to work mentioned above.

Note: maintain includes inspect and test of equipment.

Inspect and test – emergency lighting
  • inspect and test emergency lighting.

Technical qualifications

From 1 May 2021, the new fire protection licence classes replaced existing classes. Licence applications received after this time are taken to be for the new relevant class and must meet the technical qualifications prescribed for the new licence class. 

To support electrical mechanics in meeting the new contractor licensing requirements, an alternative licensing pathway will be available for applications lodged before 1 November 2021.  

Under the alternative licensing pathway, electrical mechanics who apply for an 'electrical stream - install and maintain – fire alarms' contractor’s or nominee supervisor’s licence before 1 November 2021 will have the option to demonstrate they have the specified experience as an alternative to the prescribed technical qualifications.  

To be eligible to rely on the alternative licensing pathway the applicant must demonstrate they have at least 6 months’ experience in the installation and maintenance of the inputs, outputs and controls associated with the fire detection systems or emergency warning and intercom systems.  

Please note: the alternative licensing pathway enables applicants to meet technical qualifications only and applicants must still meet all other licensing requirements, including the requirement to hold 2 years’ experience. The above specified experience which is an alternative to holding the relevant technical qualifications may be included as part of the experience requirement.  

Transitional pathways have also been provided to enable the QBCC to accept the current technical qualification for a new class in certain circumstances.   

  • For applications lodged before 1 May 2021 but pending determination, a technical qualification that was prescribed for a former class may be accepted for a new fire class to which the former class has transitioned. Where an upskilling requirement applied to the transition of the former class, the upskilling requirement will also apply to those relying on the former qualification.   
  • For applications lodged from 1 May 2021, a transitional pathway will allow technical qualifications for a former class to be accepted for two specified new electrical stream classes. The transitional pathway is available to applicants who were enrolled in the qualification prior to 1 May 2021 and who complete the qualification between 1 May 2021 and 1 May 2022. Under the transitional pathway, the technical qualification for the following classes may be accepted for the new relevant class: 
    • fire detection, alarm and warning systems – certify (relevant new class: electrical stream – certify – fire alarm systems)
    • emergency lighting – inspect and test (relevant new class: electrical stream – inspect and test – fire alarm systems). 

For work that is currently under a licence class that will become a 'continuing class' (that is, fire detection, alarms and warning systems – maintain – extra low voltage), those holding the applicable licence class as at 30 April 2021 can continue to hold the continuing class with their existing qualifications. The scope of work for this class will not change.  

From 1 May 2021, all new applications must be assessed against the new technical qualifications for the new licence class for the relevant work unless one of the above alternative pathways applies. Classes that become continuing classes on 1 May 2021 will not be available for issue to new applicants or restoration. 

For more information: