Window safety devices for strata schemes in NSW intended to promote child safety
From 13 March 2018, all strata buildings in New South Wales must be fitted with devices that enable the maximum window openings to be no more than 12.5 centimetres.
All owners corporations must now have devices installed on all applicable common property windows.
The devices must be robust and child-proof.
Window safety devices for common areas and individual apartments
The devices must be installed on all windows above the ground floor. This includes both inside windows (eg within each apartment) and outside windows (eg common areas and gymnasiums). That said, window safety devices do not need to be applied to windows that are 1.7 metres or higher above the internal floor level.
Windows will still fully open, but the window safety devices allow the window to be locked so that it will not open any more than 12.5 cm when the device is engaged. When the device is not activated, the window can still open fully and close fully.
The devices are designed to be engaged when children are in the lot, giving owners and occupiers of the strata lot peace of mind to know that children are protected from falling out the window.
Windows with bars, grilles and fly screens
Windows with bars or grilles over them may comply with the regulation, provided that the grilles or bars are less than 12.5 cm apart. The grilles or bars must also be robust and child-proof.
Ordinary fly screens will not comply, as they are not strong enough to stop a child from falling through a window and provide a false sense of security. The device must be able to withstand a force of 250 Newtons – which is approximately equivalent to 25 kg of force.
Responsibility for installing window safety devices rests with owners corporations
Owners corporations are responsible for the common property and must have window safety devices installed on all common property windows.
If the window safety requirement is not met, there is a penalty. The owners corporation in the first instance will face fines and owners will face fines, depending on the window’s position and the reason for the breach of the regulations.
The obligation to install the safety devices is upon the owners corporation, which cannot pass this obligation through to individual lot owners.
However, the owners corporation is not required to monitor or enforce the use of window safety devices.
Landlords and tenants encouraged to check Residential Condition Report
Landlords and tenants entering into new tenancy agreements in strata buildings must ensure that the Residential Condition Report refers to window safety devices. Both landlords and tenants are encouraged to check that the Residential Condition Report matches the condition of the window safety devices on the property.
If the window safety device is not working or not present, tenants are encouraged to ensure that the landlord installs or rectifies the window safety device.
If you are an owner or occupier of a strata unit to which the new window locking devices must be fitted, you should ensure that the owners corporation takes steps to install the window locking devices immediately.
For more information, please see the page on window safety device requirements on the website of NSW Fair Trading.