According to NSW Fair Trading, each year around 50 children fall from windows or balconies in Australia, many of which suffer serious injuries or death.
In an attempt to prevent these unfortunate events from happening, from 13 March 2018 all residential strata building in NSW must now be fitted with devices that enable the maximum widow opening to be less than 12.5cm.
Leaving it to the last minute places your scheme at risk, but most importantly leaves young children vulnerable to fall from windows in your building.
If these requirements are not met by the due date, Owners’ Corporations face fines of up to $550, and any owners who obstruct an Owners’ Corporation can also be fined. The Tribunal also has powers to order an Owners’ Corporation to comply with its obligations regarding window safety devices.
With more people that even living in units and apartments, the new changes are vital to keeping children safe.
What are the requirements?
Owners Corporations now have a duty to install the complying window safety device, at its own expense, where:
- the window is a window within the meaning of the Building Code of Australia; and
- the window can be opened; and
- the lowest level of the window opening is less than 1.7 meters above the surface of any internal floor that abuts the wall of which it forms part; and
- the internal floor is 2 meters or more above the ground surface or any external surface, below the window that abuts the wall; and
- the window is on common property to which access can be gained from a residence in the strata scheme or the window is on any part of the building that is part of a residence.
What is a complying window safety device?
A screen, lock or any other device is a complying window safety device if it:
- is capable of restricting the opening of a window so that a sphere having a diameter of 125mm or more cannot pass through the window opening; and
- is capable of resisting an outward horizontal action of 250 newtons; and
- has a child restraint release mechanism, in the case of a device that can be removed, overridden or unclocked.
Normally, a security screen would satisfy this requirement if it has those three characteristics.
Author: Cristian Fuenzalida.