Window safety device requirements

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All strata buildings in NSW must be fitted with devices that lock the window opening at less than 12.5cm. This applies to openable windows that are two metres above the ground and within 1.7 metres inside.

Owners corporations must have devices installed on all applicable common property windows by 13 March 2018. The safety devices must be robust and childproof.

Information for manufacturers and suppliers

Products should be clearly labelled.

Information for building professionals

The window safety device standards can be found in clause 30 of the Strata Schemes Management Regulation 2016, and are based on National Construction Code (NCC) requirements that were introduced in 2013. The NCC requirements apply to all openable bedroom windows in residential buildings, including hotels, motels and for all windows in early childhood centres.

Building professionals should read the ‘Advisory Note: Protection of Openable Windows’ released by the Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB) to help interpret the NCC requirements.

FAQS

Is there an alternative to locks?

The alternative is 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 capable of resisting the very strong outward pressure which would prevent a child falling through.

When do the window safety devices need to be installed?

The 13 March 2018 is the owners corporations deadline. Lot owners can install window safety devices in their property at any time. They need to let the owners corporation know. 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.

Will this mean the windows will never be able to open?

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.

How can we arrange for window safety devices in our scheme that won't cost a fortune?

Window safety devices can be easy and cheap to install. It isn’t necessary to hire a consultant to do an initial assessment, owners corporations can just choose a tradesperson from quotes.

How do I know if a window safety device is compliant?

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. Check the packaging on the locks or contact the seller or manufacturer for more information.

Do I need a certified professional to install the window safety device?

No, the owners corporation doesn’t need to hire a consultant to do an assessment and can just arrange for a tradesperson to install the locks.

As a lot owner, do I need to obtain permission to install a window safety device in my own lot?

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 let the owners corporation know within seven days after installation.

Can the installation of window safety devices be delegated to each individual lot owner?

The owners corporation can pass a common property rights by-law which makes the individual lot owners responsible for installing window safety devices.

The owners corporation can also consider adopting the model by-laws (Schedule 3 of the Strata Schemes Management Regulation 2015)  which allow individual lot owners to install and repair window safety devices in their own lot without consent.

Are window safety devices included in the Tenancy Condition Report?

A new tenancy agreement must use an up-to-date Residential Tenancy Condition Report which lists window safety devices. Download the new condition report on the <forms page>.

Is an owners corporation required to monitor the use of the window safety devices?

An owners corporation is not required to monitor or enforce the use of window safety devices. The strata scheme management laws also does not require that the devices be used at all times.

NSW Fair Trading strongly recommends that window safety devices are used when children are around and on all common access areas, such as stair landings.

My window forms part of a swimming pool barrier, do the window safety requirements still apply?

Windows that form part of the pool barrier need to lock at 10cm. Go to the pool fencing requirements page for more information on swimming pool safety requirements.

Where can I get more information?

If you’re a renter or landlord, go to the asking to make an alteration page.

If you own a strata unit, go to the repairs and maintenance in a strata scheme page.

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