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Countdown begins to strata window safety 

27 June 2017

Strata building windows can be fully opened and still comply with the legislation which says they have to be fitted with safety devices to enable them to be locked at 12.5cm by 13 March 2018.

The new legislation is being brought in by the NSW Government to prevent children falling from windows. Each year around 50 children fall from windows or balconies in Australia. 

As a result the NSW Government is making amends to the Building Code of Australia and the Strata Schemes Managing Act, which owners corporations need to comply with by 13 March 2018. If the requirements are not met by then, owners corporations face fines.

However windows only have to be locked when children are in the apartment or on all common access areas such as stair landings. 

Dr Cathy Sherry, Senior Lecturer of Law at the University of New South Wales, said: “I have heard anecdotally from a number of people that their strata managers are making them install locks that will prevent them ever opening their windows more than 12.5cm.

“In fact, the legislation allows locks and limiting devices to have an override, as long as it is child-proof. That way, if there are no young children present, people can open their windows as wide as they want.

“Having spent a lot of time working with The Children’s Hospital, Westmead, on the reforms, it would be a real shame to see them being implemented in a way that is going to frustrate and annoy people.  

“The idea was for everyone to have the physical ability to keep kids safe; not for no one ever to be able to fully open a window.”

A campaign has been created called Kids Don’t Fly providing information on simple and effective ways to prevent kids from falls.

Strata title management company, Strata Choice, has also made an informative video on child window safety, which you can watch here.

Who and what is affected?

The window of strata apartments form part of the building and so it is the owners corporation who is responsible for ensuring that windows meet requirements.

Windows affected are ones which open and have a two metre or greater fall on the outside, and a 1.7 metre or less height on the inside.

The details are explained in the Strata Schemes Management Regulation 2010

How to be compliant?

The most common solution is to install a locking device or stopper fitted to the affected window so it is restricted to opening only 12.5cm.

Security screens such as bars or grills can be installed with permission from the strata manager, but plastic or wire flyscreen’s are not strong enough unless reinforced.

Windows must also meet a pressure test of 250 newtons, or the same force as 25.5kg of weight in pressure.

Lot owners can install a window safety device by letting the owners corporation know. However tenants must get written permission from their landlord if a lock requires drilling.

Find out more information from the NSW Fair Trading website.