12.5cm maximum opening for peace of mind!
Each year in Australia approximately 50 children (or almost one per week) fall from windows or balconies, often resulting in serious injury or even death.* The majority of these incidents occur in residential strata complexes.
Children aged from one to five years are most at risk, as they are naturally curious but lack the ability to recognise danger.** Falls occur more often in the warmer months, when families leave windows and doors to balconies open during the day and at night.
Australian Standards are consistent across all States with regard to window safety. In 2012, the Australian Building Codes Board adopted the requirement that windows that are more than two metres off the ground in new houses or flats must have window locks that stops the window being opened more than 12.5cm or have reinforced screens in place to prevent children from falling. These changes were included in the National Construction Code from 1 May 2013.
Amendments made by the NSW Government under the Strata Schemes Management Act 2015 (NSW) require that, effective from 13 March 2018, all windows in strata scheme buildings need to be retro-fitted with locks, irrespective of height.
National compliance checklist for window safety
- Ensure window safety lockable devices are installed on all common property windows above the ground floor.
- Owners/occupiers should ensure that windows two metres above ground level have window locks/latches fitted to stop them opening more than 12.5cm or guards installed to restrict opening.
- Where possible, sash windows should open from the top.
- Ensure beds, lounge suites and other furniture are placed away from windows so that children cannot climb up to windows.
- Ensure children are supervised at all times on common property and within their homes.
- Fly screens are not adequate protection to prevent a child from falling out of a window.
The National Construction Code*
A small investment for safety!
Window locks are an inexpensive safety measure to protect children. Costs vary from as little as $20 per unit for a simple lock or lockable window winder. They can be installed by a skilled professional or by a handy person within a strata complex.
*National Construction Code of Australia (NCC)
The information contained in this article is general information only and is not legal advice. The currency, accuracy and completeness of this information should be verified by obtaining independent legal advice before you take any action or rely upon it in any way.
For more information, please contact your local Strata Community Insurance team or our media/ marketing team on 1300 724 678.