Owners Corporations must install window safety devices

From 13 March 2018, the owners corporations of all strata residential buildings in New South Wales are under a duty to install a complying window safety device, at the owners corporation’s expense, on all affected windows in the building (Section 118 of the Strata Schemes Management Act 2015). The owners corporation may enter any part of the building (including inside residential lots) to install the window safety devices.

 

Owners may install their own devices

An owner of a lot may install window safety devices on their own affected windows, provided they repair any damage caused to the common property and ensure that the device is installed in a competent and proper manner and has an appearance, after it has been installed, in keeping with the appearance of the building. An owner who installs their own window safety device must give written notice of the installation to the owners corporation within 7 days after completion of the installation.

 

Affected windows

The Strata Scheme Management Regulation 2016 (“Regulation”) provides that a window is an affected window if it:

  • is a window within the meaning of the Building Code of Australia;
  • can be opened;
  • the lowest level of the window opening is less than 1.7 metres above the surface of any internal floor that abuts the wall of which it forms part;
  • that internal floor is 2 metres or more above the ground surface or any external surface, below the window that abuts the wall; and
  • is on common property to which access can be gained from a residence in the strata scheme or the window is on any part of the building that is part of a residence.

Complying window safety devices

The Regulation provides that a screen, lock or any other device is a “complying window safety device” if it:

  • is capable of restricting the opening of a window so that a sphere having a diameter of 125 mm 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.

NCAT may make compliance orders

From 13 March 2018, NCAT has powers to order an owners corporation to comply with its obligations regarding window safety devices.