Windows and Falls
When dealing with openable windows that are 2m or more from the ground we must look at the safety aspects in relation to falls of a person and especially a young child.
Even with our strict guidelines in Australia approximately 50 children still fall out of windows annually. This staggering statistic is actually far less than other developed countries, and it shows the provisions we have in place are doing their bit in keeping these falls to a minimum.
Although provisions differ from state-to-state, from 1 May, 2013 the National Construction Code (NCC) has included requirements for window restriction and screening to aid in the reduction of incidences of children falling from windows.
A Key Message was created by the Australian Glass and Window Association (AGWA) explaining the new requirements as documented in the NCC:
‘The Building Code of Australia (BCA) has always contained measures to prevent falls from heights. Until relatively recently, there were no specific requirements for windows, designers and certifiers would try to adapt the requirements for balustrades and apply them to windows. Finally, in 2009 specific requirements for windows were introduced. They were incorporated with, but distinct from the balustrade requirements. The wording has changed slightly over the years, but the essential details of the requirements have remained the same since BCA2009.
Document No. 201604/04. Version 10. Released November 2016.’
In addition to this, in late 2019, this flow chart was released to help the window industry understand these restrictions and where they need apply.
We at Southern Star Group not only comply with the NCC and the AGWA guidelines but fully support their intention. As such, we provide winder restrictors to our awning windows in Canterbury Timber and Southern Star Aluminium, as well as blocks for sliding windows and Double Hung windows, in Southern Star Aluminium. We also supply locks to be retro-fitted to our Canterbury timber double hung windows for builders to install after painting.
Obviously, the goal is zero falls and to aid this further you can take some of the following steps in protecting against falls:
• The installation of new windows, such as Canterbury Timber or Southern Star Aluminium louvre windows. The horizontal slats in louvre windows offer safety without any compromise to ventilation. They prevent young children from fitting through the window space, while maximising air flow from outside. All newly supplied windows will comply with latest standards.
• Planting bushes and other plant life directly outside the window. Some experts believe that bushes have a cushioning effect that may prevent serious injuries in some falls. However, you may not be able to do this if your window points out towards a road or pavement.
• Keeping furniture and other climbable items away from the windows. Adventurous children may use such items to gain access to a window. This can even happen if you meet the NCC’s barrier guidelines.
• Using adequate screens. Fly screens, curtains, and blinds don’t offer enough protection. They certainly can’t withstand 250N of horizontal force.
• Educating children about the safety concerns related to playing near windows. Installers can remind parents to tell their children about the dangers.
• Installing window safety devices on any windows that don’t already have them. This accounts for windows installed prior to May 2013.
Contact our sales team to talk about your window restricting needs.