New provisions for window locks (NSW) BCS Smart Strata Fact Sheet –

BCS Smart Strata Fact Sheet – (Legislation Pending)
New provisions for window locks (NSW)
Effective from 1st May 2013, there are new provisions in the National
Construction Code that require new windows to be fitted either with a device to
restrict bedroom windows in residential buildings from opening, or the
installation of a suitable screen, such that a 125mm sphere cannot pass through.
This is a measure designed to reduce the risk of young children falling from
windows. The new requirement applies to newly constructed buildings and any
window replacements in existing buildings.
The finer details
The device or screen that is now being required could have a child resistant
release mechanism such that it would enable the device or screen to be
removed, unlocked or overridden so that the window can be cleaned. This type
of barrier is not required if the window is 1.7m or more above the floor.
In their newsletter to its clients, Bannermans Lawyers have suggested that
“owners of existing properties should consider installing window barriers, given
the small costs involved, the improved safety for children of owners and their
visitors and the reduced risk of legal liability were there a fall from a window
without such a device”.
Where owners wish to install such a device, if they have a by-law such as the
model by-law 5, consent of the Owners Corporation would not be required
unless the works would alter the appearance of the building.
A number of Building Consultants have made it clear, in recent media interviews,
that they have concerns with retro fitting window restrictors to old stock
buildings as they neither have the glass or window frame strength to take the
restrictors. Concerns have also been expressed as to whether windows in older
stock buildings will take the force of a child on the glass. The suggestions
emerging from these same consultants is that an Executive Committee
considering retro fitting restriction devices, should receive professional advice
before taking such measures.
Further measures from NSW State Government?
In addition to the new requirements that come from changes to the National
Construction Code, the NSW State Government is contemplating taking further
measures related to the matter of children and window safety.
In March 2013 a consultation paper was released by the NSW Department of
Finance and Services. Some of the suggestions include: making it mandatory for
owners corporations of residential strata schemes to install locks and other
safety devices on all windows that can be opened that are above the ground
floor to limit the window opening more than 100mm; allowing individual owners
the automatic right to install safety devices; and, changing the Residential
Tenancies Act 2010 such that landlords cannot reasonably refuse to give
permission to tenants who are parents with children, to install child safety
window devices.
Feedback on the proposals was due 24 April 2013 with a view to amending the appropriate
legislation later in the year.
Kids Don’t Fly
In 2008 the Children’s Hospital at
Westmead (CHW) initiated a
Working Party of experts to
identify measures that might
curb the instances of children
falling from buildings. Arising
from the recommendations of
the working party, the CHW
published and distributed fact
sheets and posters under the
banner “Kids Don’t Fly”.
The NSW Health Department has
also adopted the “Kids Don’t Fly”
slogan, as part of its Child Safety
Education Campaign. In addition
to fitting restrictors on windows,
these groups are recommending
behavioural measures, including:
• Beds and other furniture are
kept away from windows, so
that children cannot use them
to climb up to the windows;
• You do not rely on flyscreens
to prevent a child falling out
of a window;
• Children are taught to play
away from windows; and,
• Children are always
For further information and
translations into languages other
than English, visit
Last updated: May 2013 – Legislation Pending
Disclaimer: The information provided above is a general guide only and not intended as a substitute for legal advice. The company
disclaims all responsibility and all liability for any expenses, losses, damages and costs which might be incurred as a result of the
information provided by the company in this Smart Strata Fact Sheet.