How much does it cost to install a smoke alarm?

In Australia, smoke alarms are now inexpensive consumer items. National hardware chains have reduced prices dramatically.

Basic portable photoelectric smoke alarms are available for $12-$15 each. (including a 9v replaceable battery). Most homeowners will conduct DIY installations of portable smoke alarms. Trade attendance rates vary. e.g. $75-$85 for a handyman to attend, plus cost of smoke alarms.

Mains powered (hard-wired) photoelectric smoke alarms are available for $20-$35 each. (including a 9v replaceable battery).

Mains powered smoke alarms need installation by a Grade A Electrician. Homeowners should request a Certificate of Electrical Safety (CES). Typical CES fees are $15-25.

Grade A Electricians charge an upfront attendance fee of $85-95.

Grade A Electrician pricing is then charged on basis of time taken. (e.g. $80-90 per hour) and extra for materials (wiring/cable fittings). This labour rate is often broken down into 30 minute and 15 minutes blocks.

Expect all Trades to double the smoke alarm (RRP) pricing stated above.

NB… Homes built after 1Aug1997 must have mains powered smoke alarms in Victoria, Australia.

The Smoke Alarm Guy

The Crucial Role of Real Estate Agents in Supporting the Local Economy

Stereotypes can limit your brand

Real Estate Agents (REA’s) are commonly maligned in pop culture. They are often viewed as being exclusively sales focused and indeed, sometimes, can live down to this stereotype.

However, the idea that REA’s are only interested in selling is simplistic. The reality is that consciously or otherwise, as business entities they are vital contributors to their local economy.

Real Estate Agents who transact locally, play a valuable role in the employment of nearby residents, the success of the local supply chain, and the support of local sporting and community groups.

Studies show that shopping locally delivers significant economic benefits, as illustrated in this US-based study below. Figure 1 below.

Andersonville Economic Study

Local Transactions as Leverage

Australian studies show similar figures. ‘Locals4Locals’ an Australian Not for Profit organisation states that for every $100 spent at a local business, rather than a multinational company, an average of $58 remains in the community. Local businesses keep their profits within the community and purchase from other nearby sources, delivering a powerful multiplier effect that stimulates the economy.

A recent study by Maroondah City Council found that for each new person employed in a local business, the increased consumption and demand for services could result in additional employment in other sectors of the economy. For example, for every ten people employed in professional services, 10 jobs could be created in other local businesses.

Shopping locally benefits the sustainability of the neighbourhood, encourages resident engagement, and builds loyal long-term relationships. It also indirectly boosts tourism, because unique businesses enhance the character of a suburb or town. Travellers are more likely to visit localities that feature a diverse range of enterprises.

Local businesses are Australia’s largest employers. They specialise in services that are valued by the community, their stock is often of superior quality, they hire staff with relevant expertise, and the owners are usually easy to contact, this all leads to improved customer satisfaction.

These Business Owners remain committed to the community’s welfare and prosperity, and they’re usually the most generous contributors to community fundraising events and charities. In towns and suburbs across Australia, one of the most prominent businesses is the local Real Estate Agency.

The Economic role of Real Estate Agents

Helping residents to buy and sell their homes is a key role for REAs, but it’s not the only one. Many agents across Australia are also proud to get behind local schools, sporting groups and clubs, by offering funding to assist with equipment, training, and administration costs.

Real Estate Agents have a strong local knowledge and a deep commitment to the success of the neighbourhood. Local charities and sporting groups often rely on their sponsorship to survive.

Furthermore, these agencies either purchase for themselves or facilitate on behalf of others a wide range of goods and services from local businesses. Some of these items are listed below.

  • Vehicle hire or purchase
  • Computer equipment
  • Mobile phones
  • Printing services (brochures and signboards)
  • Trades and related compliance services
  • Photography and videography
  • Office Uniforms
  • Breakfast, lunch and coffee
  • By buying locally, these agencies are helping to drive their local economy.

Michael Shuman, a globally recognised expert on community economics has authored 20 studies on local procurement. Shuman has analysed the impact to communities when local industries expand and discovered that even a modest increase generates a large number of jobs. 

Shuman is also an advocate of anchor institutions in ‘Buy Local’ strategies. These are organisations that incorporate economic development into their business strategy. When companies do this, it can lead to dramatic improvements in the local economy.

In many ways, Real Estate Agents act as anchor institutions within their communities. Highly visible organisations with a strong community presence.

Gauging my Local Economic Impact

How do you gauge your effectiveness? The points below offer a quick checklist.

  • As a Director am I on 1st name basis with the Business Owners we rely on?
  • Are my staff using local businesses or are they dealing with companies at a distance?
  • Do our preferred Suppliers hire staff that live, rent, buy and sell in our area?
  • Do they employ a stable workforce and is there long-term relationship available?
  • Have I discussed with them the value of #buyinglocal as a growth strategy?


Too frequently, Directors of Real Estate Agencies are unaware of the contribution their business makes to the local economy. Armed with this knowledge, they can get on the front foot, engage their market in a broader conversation and more accurately market themselves as an economic agent for change.


Melbourne Fire Safety

Growing City, Growing Density – Shrinking Fire Safety

Melbourne is big and getting bigger. We are told it’s set to speed up further still. In fact, by some measures, we have already overtaken Sydney.

The prohibitive cost of infrastructure to support the urban sprawl has more recently resulted in urban planning authorities encouraging higher density living. As Australians, we are used to a high standard of living. However higher density lifestyles do come with downsides and can place a damper on that standard of living.

Melbourne Skyline

Higher density lifestyles do come with downsides, and increased risk of fire.

Today we are living closer together, often in homes constructed of lighter materials than those built for generations prior. Add in the greater presence of more flammable materials within our home furnishings, we have a greater risk on our hands from a fire evacuation perspective. Particularly with townhouse design styles. Read more

Airbnb fire protection

Playing With Fire: Tenants Moonlighting on Airbnb Place Rent Rolls at Fire Risk

Whether you’ve used one on your travels, or you simply live near one, there’s a good chance you’ve heard of Airbnb. Founded less than ten years ago, the online short-term accommodation hub is now a global phenomenon.

Over the past two years, I’ve stayed in three Airbnbs in which the hosts were tenants, not owner-occupiers. Each time, when I pointed out the lack of smoke alarms, they seemed confused or reluctant to discuss the issue. Smoke alarms are considered a fixture on tenancy agreements, and installation is the landlord’s responsibility.

Airbnb: High on Convenience, Low on Fire Safety Standards

It’s no overstatement to say Airbnb has revolutionised accommodation. It’s also important to note that every new technology is met with scepticism. We each have different views on the pros and cons of Airbnb and other disruptive business models. But one thing we can all agree on is the need for safety standards to be maintained. This is vital, whether the residents are owner-occupiers, renters or holidaymakers. While celebrating the technological progress and innovation of companies like Airbnb, we should never lose sight of our longstanding community safety standards. Read more

Fire Escape plan for children

Your children may not hear the smoke alarm. How do you protect them?

It’s a parent’s nightmare: the house is on fire and they can’t reach their children. Worse, even if the smoke alarm is going off experts say your children may not hear it, so they may not save themselves.

Having a working, reliable smoke alarm has proven time and again to save lives from house fires. However, smoke alarms are only one piece of the safety puzzle. Forensic scientists and fire investigators are warning parents that smoke alarms may not wake children.

Can children hear smoke alarms?

Can children hear smoke alarms?

According to research, the frequency of the alarms may be too high-pitched for young children to hear, especially for male children. Children are biologically different. They sleep differently than adults and they remain in a deep sleep longer than adults. Because of this, a smoke alarm may not be enough to rouse them from sleep.

The fire brigade, as well as smoke alarm providers, recommend that families have a solid fire escape plan in place. Parents are encouraged to practise the plan with the children but remember it’s a lot different to practise in a controlled situation than it will be going through an uncontrolled fire.

As parents are developing the family’s fire escape plan, experts recommend they also plan for how they will help children who are not awakened by the alarm. By having a tested plan in place that has been practised, parent’s will be able to quickly assess the situation and assist the children. In the case of fire, seconds can make a life-saving difference. Read more