SMHAs of 13 March 2018 for the prevention of children falling from windows, strata schemes must have window safety devices installed on all applicable windows. If window safety devices are not installed by this date, owner corporations may face fines.

Which windows must be covered?  Any openable window where the internal floor is more than 2 metres above the outside ground level and being a window that is less than 1.7 metres above the inside floor level. For example, where a lounge room is on the second floor with a large window taking up most of the external wall. This will need a window safety device on this window.

However, if you have a bathroom on the second floor where the window is only small and it is near the ceiling (1.7m or higher above the floor) it will not require a window safety device. Complying devices must also be installed on applicable windows in all common access areas, such as stair landings.

Under the Strata Schemes Management Regulation, 2016 Part 4 Property Management, Section 30, a window safety device is:

“(3) A screen, lock or any other device is a complying window safety device for the purposes of Section 118 of the Act if it:

* is capable of restricting the opening of a window so that a sphere having  a diameter of 125 millimetres or more cannot pass through the window opening, and

* is capable of resisting an outward horizontal action of 250 newtons, and

* has a child resistant release mechanism, in the case of a device that can be removed, overridden or unlocked.”

Residents with safety devices installed can still fully open their windows if they wish to do so, but it is strongly recommended that devices be engaged whenever children are present, to prevent falls.

The alternative is security screens, such as bars or grills on the windows so long as they have gaps less than 12.5 cm.  Flyscreens do not comply unless they are the reinforced security type and capable of resisting the very strong outward pressure which would prevent a child falling through.

Please note that the owners corporation has the principal responsibility for the installation of window safety devices. Lot owners do however have the right to install window safety devices in their property at any time.  However, lot owners would need to pay for the costs involved and must make sure the devices meet the legal requirements. Lot owners must notify the owners corporation within 7 days after completion of the installation.  Lot owners who install devices are responsible for any damage to common property from the installation.

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.

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