The ‘Kids Don’t Fly’ safety campaign, an initiative of Kids Health, the Child Health Promotion Unit at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead states that approximately 50 children per year fall from windows or balconies in Australia. Unfortunately, this results with many children being seriously injured and sometimes even resulting in death. In 2010 across NSW, 34 children were hospitalised after falling from a window. Children aged from 1 to 5 years are most at risk as they are naturally curious but lack the ability to recognise danger.
As a result the NSW Government developed a range of measures to help prevent the incidence of falls. These measures culminated in the introduction of The Strata Schemes Management Amendment (Child Window Safety Devices) Bill 2013, this included :
- A requirement for Strata schemes with residential lots to install safety devices that lock the window opening at less than 12.5 cm, on all windows that present a risk to young children by 13 March 2018.
- The bill allowed individual strata owners to install window safety devices regardless of their schemes by-laws.
A child safe window lock is required in all buildings under the following conditions:
- it is a window within the meaning of the Building Code of Australia, and
- it can be opened, and
- the lowest level of the window opening is less than 1.7 metres above the surface of any internal floor that abuts the wall of which it forms part, and
- that internal floor is 2 metres or more above the ground surface, or any external surface, below the window that abuts the wall, and
- it is a window on common property to which access can be gained from a residence in a strata scheme or a window on any part of the building that is part of a residence.
The safety devices must be robust and childproof.
Frequently asked questions about compulsory window locks
Will this mean that we can’t open the window?
No, a window lock that allows the window to be fully opened, fully closed and also locked at less than 12.5cm, complies with the legislation.
Are there other requirements other than restricting the window opening?
Besides restricting the window from opening more than 12.5 cm or more, the device must also be able to withstand a force equal to 25 kilograms/ withstand 250 newtons of outward or horizontal force.
If we have flyscreens are we exempt?
Security screens, such as bars or grills on the windows so long as they have gaps less than 12.5cm.
Flyscreens don’t comply unless they are secured and capable of resisting the very strong outward pressure which would prevent a child falling through.
Do I need the Owners Corporation approval to install window safety devices?
Tenants must get written permission from their landlord before installing locks that require drilling. Landlords cannot refuse a tenant’s request unless they have a very good reason.
Lot owners have the right to install window safety devices themselves. They must pay for them, make sure the locks meet the legal requirements and are responsible for any damage to common property from the installation. Lot owners must also advise the owner’s corporation prior to undertaking works.
About Strata Life – Strata Management Services
At Strata Life we strive to take the pressure of the day to day running of a strata scheme off of the shoulders of the committee members and owners. Whilst the nature of strata itself does mean that the owners/ committee are responsible for the decisions, the pressure is reduced by having a proactive manager provide guidance with a plain sense approach and quickly actioning issues as they arise.
We appreciate Committee members often have full time jobs and busy lives. Add to this that the strata scheme is often your home where Committee members do not want to have to police other residents.
Our aim is to minimise the work and time where we can, take on the role of reminding owners and residents of the by-laws so that everyone can peacefully enjoy community living.
Our team has extensive experience with properties on the Upper North Shore, Hornsby and the Northern Beaches areas, with excellent local contractors and superior local knowledge.
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Whether you’re an existing client or not, our strata managers are here to help with all matters relating to strata schemes and community living. Our office is open Monday – Friday, 8am – 6pm to answer your call or, for after-hours assistance, please complete our online enquiry form and we’ll get back to you the following business day.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is general information only and not legal advice. The currency, accuracy and completeness of this article (and its contents) should be checked by obtaining independent legal advice before you take any action or otherwise rely upon its contents in any way. Strata Life disclaims any liability for negligence or otherwise in any way connected with this article.