Window Safety Devices Will Be Enforceable – Deadline is 13th March 2018
More than 50 kids fall from windows or balconies every year. As a result of the accidental falls, many kids were admitted to hospitals with bad injuries and some of them had a tragic end. Majority of those falls happen with
kids between one to five years old at their own homes.
The Building Code of Australia (BCA) updated the regulations for the installation of windows restrictors. The safety devices restrict the window to be fully opened preventing kids falling from it and reducing the risk of those fatal ends.
If you are not sure if your windows are safe enough or how to comply with this regulation, you will find important information here.
Compulsory Windows Safety Device
Owners Corporations in NSW must have safety devices installed on all above ground windows by 13th March 2018. If you have grills or bars – within 12.5cm apart – over your windows, then you have already been complying with the BCA regulations and won’t need to install any device.
The Legislation Requirements
The Building Code of Australia requires the window opening to be less than 12.5cm and must resist an outward horizontal action of 25kg of force.
- If the lowest part of the window is less than 1.7m above the floor
- If the external floor under the window is 2m or more above the outside surface
The safety device must be robust and childproof.
The graphic below will help you visually to understand this new regulation. It shows the need of safety device installation according to the heights of the window in relation to the ground.
Please note that fly screen is good only to keep insects out, do NEVER rely on flyer screen to keep a child safe. Fly screens are not designed for safety; they are not strong enough and might break with some weight against them.
The Safer Way
Windows will be able to be fully or partially opened, once the lock is engaged the opening will be restricted to less than 12.5cm. The device must also be able to withstand a force of 25 kilograms. It is wise to keep the lock engaged all the time while a child is around.
No Need Monitoring or Enforcing
Although it is compulsory to install the safety device on all above ground windows, occupants may choose to engage the safety device or not, leaving windows fully opened. The Owner Corporation and the lot owners are not required to monitor or to enforce your tenant to use the safety device.
The occupant is not enforced to keep window locked. Therefore, it would be wise to inform your tenant of the importance of engaging the safety device all the time, especially while kids are around.
A Responsibility for All
Keeping kids in a safe home is a responsibility for all. The compulsory safety window devices assist parents to keep kids safer while they are at home. While owners’ corporations are responsible for those installations, parents are responsible to take precautionary measures for their kids’ safety by engaging the devices all the time.
DIY or Tradesperson
The NSW Office of Fair Trading has amended the NSW Strata Schemes Management Act 1996. The Owners Corporation are responsible for the installation of window safety devices. However you – as an owner resident, landlord or tenant – can get the safety devices installed or do it yourself. If you live in a house, you are not required to install the safety window devices. You may choose to keep your home safer for kids by installing them.
It is quite easy and cheap to install. So if you decided to install yourself, make sure they are correctly installed. Nevertheless, a qualified tradesperson is highly recommended. Kids’ safety should be a priority over saving money.
Avoid Big Fines
Any owners’ corporation who fails to install the safety devices on the windows after 13 March 18, will be subjected to fines. Definitely, it is not worth the trouble; most importantly it is not worth the risk of an injured child or even worse a fatal fall.
Make the Right Choice
There are a few options on the market – different windows take different devices. Make sure the window safety device complies with the legal requirements. The safety devices must be tested and fitted in line with Building Code of Australia guidelines.
For your peace of mind, our H&G specialist can assist you to choose the most appropriate window safety devices. Our products have been tested to meet the required standards.
Here are some safety devices which might suit your windows:
To buy these products, go to your local H&G store now: http://www.hg.com.au/stores/
Get More Information
This article intends to bring to your attention the importance of Window Safety Devices, H&G strongly recommend getting fully informed on this matter and find ways to minimize possible risks of a child falling from windows.
To find out more, visit the Window safety device requirements page.
Visit the Kids Don’t Fly page on the NSW Health website.