Did you know that in Australia, a child falls from a window or balcony on almost a weekly basis? Even more alarming is the fact that this usually occurs in the child's home.
Recent changes to the Building Code of Australia (BCA) and Strata Management Act (NSW) aim to prevent this from happening. The latter of the two has come into effect on the 13 March 2018. So, how will this affect you and your property? In this post, we will look at both changes and the impact they have on homeowners and renters alike.
What changes were made to the Building Code of Australia and how do they affect me?
The changes made to the BCA came into effect back in 2013. The new rules require all openable windows (where the internal floor is more than 2m above the ground outside) in early childhood centres and residential bedrooms to be fitted with a suitable screen or restrictor. Windows located 1.7m above the floor level do not require protection.
These changes apply to new buildings that fall within the categories described above. So, unless you are renovating or building, it is unlikely that you are affected by this change in the BCA. For more information about the BCA and the National Construction Code of Australia (NCC), you can visit the Australian Building Codes Board website please read the BCA 2013 Advisory Note. Alternatively, more information about the BCA and the National Construction Code of Australia (NCC), you can visit the Australian Building Codes Board website.
What changes were made to the Strata Management Act?
From 13 March 2018, all strata buildings in NSW must be fitted with a child window safety device that limits the maximum window openings to be 12.5cm or less. Like the BCA amendment, this will only apply to openable windows that are less than 1.7m above the internal floor and more than 2m above the outside ground.
I live in a strata building. Who is responsible for ensuring our windows comply by 13 March 2018?
All external walls, doors and windows fall under common property in a strata scheme, so it is the responsibility of the owners’ corporation to ensure all windows are fitted with adequate protection by legislation comes into force. If you are renting a property in a strata scheme building, we encourage you to contact your real estate agent or landlord to find out more.
What type of window safety devices comply with these changes?
For a window safety device to comply with the changes it must be able to: 1. Limit the window opening to 12.5cm or less 2. Withstand a force of 250 newtons
There are plenty of window restrictors, locks, guards and safety nets that meet both of these requirements. It should be noted, however, that different safety devices are suited to different window types. This child window safety product guide from the NSW Health Department explains which devices are suited to which window type.
Where can I find more info about these changes?
We recommend you visit the NSW Fair Trading’s website for more information about this new law.