Window Restriction Requirements - FAQs
1. What is the Kids Don’t Fly campaign?
The Kids Don’t Fly campaign was created in 2008 when The Children’s Hospital at Westmead identified falls by children from residential buildings as an increasing cause of injury. Many of these children suffer serious injuries while some of the falls are even fatal.
As a result of this, the Centre for Trauma Care, Prevention, Education and Research,
and the Kids Health Promotion Unit, launched the 'Working Party for the Prevention of Children Falling from Residential Buildings'.
The full Outcomes Report from the working group and a summary can be downloaded here.
To prevent falls from windows, the Children’s Hospital at Westmead recommends that all windows above the ground floor to be opened no more than 12.5cm and that they be fitted with window locks/latches to stop them opening more than 12.5cm, or guards to protect the opening.
2. What does this mean for owners corporations?
The NSW Government requires strata schemes with residential lots to install safety devices on all bedroom windows that present a risk to young children. By 2018 all state managed sites will be required to have made these modifications to adhere to the strata act and meet BCA requirements.
3. What are the strata requirements?
An openable window needs a safety device if the lowest part of the window is less than 1.7m above the floor and the external floor under the window is 2m or more above the outside surface.
These safety devices must be able to limit the maximum window opening to less than 12.5cm against 250 newtons of force (approx. 25kg). They also must be robust and childproof. Suitable window safety devices would include window locks or safety screens, but not ordinary insect screens.
4. What is the deadline for meeting the requirements?
The child window safety requirements for owners’ corporations have applied since 11 December 2013, but if the requirements have not been met by 13 March 2018, owners corporations will risk being fined.
5. What is meant by the term “child resistant”?
The window restrictor can have a child resistant release mechanism which enables the device or screen to be removed, unlocked or overridden.
According to the The Building Code of Australia (BCA): a child resistant release mechanism can include a device which:
- requires a key to unlock
- a coordinated two handed operation to release
- the use of a tool such as a screwdriver, spanner, or Allen key to remove the screen or shift the window to the fully open position.
6. What does “Deemed-to-Satisfy” mean?
The NCC is a performance based code containing all Performance Requirements for the construction of buildings. The Performance Requirements can be met using either a Performance Solution (Alternative Solution) or using a Deemed-to-Satisfy (DTS) Solution.
According to the Australian Building Codes Board, a Deemed-to-Satisfy solution follows a set recipe of what, when and how to do something. It uses the DTS Solutions from the NCC, which include materials, components, design factors, and construction methods that, if used, are deemed to meet the Performance Requirements.
7. Can I restrict my window myself?
Yes, however, there is a requirement that the installed window restrictor must be able to limit the maximum window opening to less than 12.5cm against 250 newtons of force (approx. 25kg). It is recommended that you engage with reputable product installers if you are not be confident with the force requirement and dimensions required.
Note: The installation of window restriction products can be undertaken by suitably competent or qualified person, however, compliance is achieved when type testing is undertaken by a testing authority accredited by NATA or IANZ.
8. How do I test my window to meet compliance?
Testing on windows may be carried using two methods: type testing or onsite testing. Type testing needs to be carried out by a testing authority accredited by NATA or IANZ. Onsite testing must be done by a suitably competent or qualified person.
To achieve compliance there are self certification kits available from independent testing facility Azuma.
9. Is periodical re-testing and review necessary for windows?
No, currently testing upon installation is the only requirement under the Building Code.
10. How do I identify suitable window restriction products?
These devices are generally clearly identified as window restriction products. However, it is important to note that the product on its own is never compliant. Compliance is only achieved upon correct installation of the window restrictor and after the integrity of the window is tested in the open position.
Ideally windows by nature are designed to keep wind and water out and are rated to meet the regulations for wind and water. When installing window restrictors, it is important to take care to ensure that the performance of the window is not compromised by the restricting device.