Deadline Looming for Window Safety Device Compliance for Strata Buildings

The 13 March 2018 deadline for buildings to comply with the requirements of the Strata Scheme Management Amendment Act 2013 is approaching quickly. Industry reports indicate that many strata buildings still remain non-compliant and are exposed to the risk of fines from the Office of Fair Trading and local councils.

In response to the alarming statistic that 50 children fall out of a window each year causing serious injury or death action was taken to ensure that all new buildings and all strata scheme buildings, regardless of building age, have window safety devices installed to prevent windows from opening further than 12.5 cm.

With strata living now accounting for over 600,000 residences in NSW alone, the task of accessing individual units is massive.

The rules for compliance are simple to follow[1]:

Opening windows where the fall point outside the window is greater than 2m:

Image courtesy of Strata Choice

Windows whose opening is below 1.7 m from the floor level:

Image courtesy of Strata Choice

With time running out, many owners corporation are now scrambling to make their buildings compliant.

Don’t expect any extension to the deadline!

As recently as February this year, The Hon Matthew Kean MP, Minister for Innovation and Better Regulation, confirmed that there would be no extension to the five year implementation timeline for Window Safety Compliance in NSW.

So what can Strata Managers and Owners Corporations do to if their building doesn’t have Window Safety Devices installed?

Compliance – your step by step guide

STEP 1 Confirm that your building is affected by the Window Safety Device compliance requirements
STEP 2 Obtain a price from a reputable installer that:

·         Has Strata experience

·         Uses proper device testing equipment

·         Keeps photographic records

·         Issues a compliance certificate

STEP 3 Take the necessary steps to approve the expenditure
STEP 4 Encourage all Lot Holders to provide access to fit the window safety devices
STEP 5 Ensure that your paperwork is up to date so that you have a record of all action taken and communication issued