Window safety requirements are considered highly important for Owners Corporations. New amendments under the Strata Schemes Management Act 2015 (sections 118, 129) and the Strata Schemes Management Regulation 2016 (clauses 30, 31) came into force on 11 December 2013.
Here are four things you should know about the devices, and why your owners corporation needs to be on top of it.
1. Why do you need window safety devices?
Strata schemes in NSW must instal window safety devices on most common property windows by 13 March 2018. The legislation was enacted to prevent children from falling from windows. The device must render the window childproof and robust.
Failure to comply attracts fines for the owners corporation. More importantly, it will continue to present a risk to children in strata units as well as for owners and occupiers.
2. What windows must be fitted with Safety Devices?
The laws apply to windows more than 2 metres above the ground floor outside, and within a child’s reach (less than 1.7 metres above the inside floor). The devices must prevent a window from opening beyond 12.5 centimetres.
A window lock that allows the window to be fully opened, fully closed and also locked at 12.5 centimetres complies with the legislation.
Lot owners may install a window safety device in their property provided they inform the Owners Corporation.
3. What about tenants?
Tenants may also instal them but must obtain prior written permission from the landlord if it requires drilling. Landlords cannot refuse a tenant’s request unless they have a very good reason. In addition, landlords and tenants entering into a new tenancy agreement must use a revised Residential Tenancy Condition Report which lists window safety devices.
4. What about Company Title Schemes?
The strata schemes management laws do not apply to company title buildings and so company title schemes are exempt. However, 50 children fall from windows or balconies each year, with many suffering serious injuries and in the worst cases, death. That’s why window safety devices are a matter of concern for all multi storey buildings, including company title buildings.
Even though strata laws don’t apply to company title buildings, liability might still attach to the company, individual shareholders or occupiers. It is recommended that company title Boards consider and formulate a policy on this issue. The strata schemes mandated window safety devices could be a point of reference for Directors, Shareholders and Managers.
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