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Advice on complying with strata window safety

29 August 2017

Strata schemes which are non-compliant with the new window lock legislation, which begins on 13 March 2018, need to take steps as the date closes in. 

This is according to REINSW Strata Chapter Chair, Gary Adamson, who has advised strata managers of what to do.

The new law requires strata building windows to be fitted with safety devices to enable them to be locked at 12.5cm. It is being brought in by the NSW Government to prevent children falling from windows. 

Gary said the legislation has been in place since 2015 and would expect that all strata managers have notified their clients of the requirements and listed the matter on the agenda of general meetings.

He added that the only reason they shouldn’t have undertaken the work is the “procrastination of the owners in the strata plan”.

For those schemes that are still non-compliant, Gary recommended to advise the strata committee in writing that:

  • they have been notified of the requirements 
  • it is incumbent upon the strata committee to ensure the requirements are complied with by the due date, 13 March 2018
  • you (the strata manager) will not be held responsible for any accidents or injuries occurring as a result of the refusal of the owners corporation to comply with the statutory requirement.

In addition, the committee members should be advised that they may be held personally liable for any accidents occurring as a result of their failure to ensure compliance by the due date.

How is it going to affect the work of a strata manager?

Gary said: “From a strata manager’s perspective it is just one more time consuming compliance issue to address (subject to the instructions of the owners corporation). 

“There will invariably be additional time involved for which there should be a time-based fee recouped from the owners corporation in arranging for the necessary meeting and quotes, issuing work orders and arranging access to each lot for the trades people to undertake the installations.”

What issues could arise?

Gary said: “The longer strata clients delay the approval of the installations and the closer it gets to the timeline for compliance, the more likely there will be a growing shortage of trades people to undertake the work and at a greater cost.

“This is not the strata managers fault but rather the recalcitrant strata plans, and strata managers should ensure that they have correspondence on file to identify that the problem is with the owners corporation and not the strata managers office.”

What are your top tips to comply?

“All strata managers should be on top of this matter and therefore “ready”. 

“What they need to do for slow-moving strata clients is advise them that as this is a statutory requirement they will have to notify their insurer under the terms of the insurance policy that they are non-compliant.

“In the event of an injury arising on, or after the due date, the insurer would be within their contractual rights to deny a claim.

“Under these circumstance the owners corporation will be left without cover and any third party action would no doubt result not only in the owners corporation, but also the individual strata committee members being sued for damages.”