On 13 March 2018, an amendment to the Strata Schemes Management Act 2015 made it mandatory for residential strata schemes to fit suitable safety devices on applicable windows in apartments and applicable windows in the common area of strata buildings. As a result, the Building Code of Australia was amended, affecting newly constructed buildings. A later amendment to the Strata Schemes Management Act was also made meaning existing buildings need to meet these same requirements which came into effect on 13 March 2018.
Details of affected windows:
- Windows that can be accessed from a residence;
- Windows that open, have a 2 metre or greater fall on the outside and are 1.7 metre or less in height on the inside;
- Must withstand a force equivalent to a 25.5 kg weight.
For all affected windows in your building, one of the following has occurred:
- A locking or permanent device installed to ensure the window opening is not greater than 12.5 centimetres or;
- Window bars or sturdy mesh screens installed that withstands the requisite pressure test;
- Permanently shut or obstructed by an immovable object or;
- Listed as exempt by the appointed supplier.
Next steps, ongoing replacement & maintenance of child window safety devices.
If it has been over 12 months since the installation or certification of the safety devices in your strata scheme and there is a real risk that the affected windows are no longer compliant. The Owners Corporation will need to decide at the next general meeting an appropriate course of action by choosing one of the following:
- Instruct Strata Choice to initiate a survey of all owners and request confirmation on the status of the devices;
- Engage a suitably qualified company to access and test all existing devices installed or;
- Do nothing and review 12 months later.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Is annual compliance required by the Strata Schemes Management Act?
Currently, there is no requirement to do so, however, if they form part of common property then it is the responsibility of the Owners Corporation to repair and maintain.
Who is responsible to ensure that the windows in my apartment meet compliance?
As the windows of an apartment building form part of the common property, it is the owners of the building as a collective, that are responsible for ensuring that the windows meet the current requirements.
What would happen if an owner or tenant removes a device after it has been installed?
Where the recommended Child Window Safety By-law has been approved and registered, the costs of replacing may be passed on.
If the safety device is broken because of normal use or wear and tear, who is responsible to repair them?
In this instance, the repair would fall under the responsibility of the Owners Corporation. Please ensure you report them to your Strata Manager immediately.
If my lot was exempt during the initial installation or certification, will it need to be inspected again?
If your lot was listed as exempt by a suitable, qualified person and there have been no changes to your window, a re-inspection will not be required.
If I have lost my key, will I be charged for a replacement?
Although window safety devices form part of common property, it is the owner or tenants responsibility to retain the keys, similar to your letterbox or front unit keys. Therefore, there will be a small fee to replace keys.
Disclaimer: The articles and comments in this publication are necessarily brief and general in nature and are not intended to be relied upon by any reader in dealing with a particular problem. Whist all care has been taken in the preparation of this publication the writer and the producers accept no liability for any omission or misguidance.