Act now to make your windows kid-safe with KidScreen technology
With less than 12 months to go, all residential strata schemes in NSW, whether old and new, need to understand and comply with their obligations under restricted window opening regulations. Across NSW, all residential apartment buildings will need to be assessed to ensure they meet the new safety standards designed to protect children from the dangers posed by open windows. Thankfully there is more than enough time to consider installing a product like KidScreen, which specifically addresses the new requirements.
Countdown to compliance
In response to growing concern over the number of accidents involving children falling from windows, regulations for new developments came into force in 2013 under the National Construction Code. These regulations required for all new apartments to install child safety devices on openable windows.
While these rules initially applied only to new builds, subsequent amendments to the Strata Schemes Management Act by the NSW Government extended coverage. Now all residential strata buildings, both old and new, have until the deadline of 13 March 2018 to comply or risk penalties under the Act.
Window restriction options
The key feature of the regulation is that windows 2 metres above the ground floor must have their openings restricted to 125mm or have the opening protected in a way which withstands a 250N outward force. This means home owners face a choice of installing restrictive devices such as locks or bars, or installing window screens which offer comprehensive fall protection, such as KidScreen.
For some the idea of simply restricting all window openings appeals – it seems straightforward and might be cheaper, but there are other issues to consider. The maximum permitted opening under a restrictive device of 125mm may be fantastic for safety, but does not do much for airflow. There are many reasons for wanting to open your windows fully, not least taking advantage of prevailing breezes to provide passive cooling.
A window screen, such as that specifically developed by KidScreen, means you can avoid the need to restrict the size of the opening. The window can continue to be opened to its fullest, views are maintained, and as an added bonus, it keeps out pesky insects. It is important to note that KidScreen is not simply a standard flyscreen – it has been designed to exceed outward force as required in the National Construction Code, which is what will act to prevent a potential fall.
Window screen mesh to suit your building and your budget
KidScreen mesh comes in two types – a heavy reinforced polyester material or a high quality 316 stainless steel, both of which are highly corrosion resistant and extremely strong. The appropriate mesh for your solution will depend on factors such as your prevailing climate conditions, budget and visual preferences.
With its built in UV-inhibitor, the polyester mesh may be the best option in urban and coastal environments where exposure to high levels of salt and extreme temperatures is more likely. It is also a more cost-effective solution, without compromising durability, thanks to the strength which comes from the weaving process.
The 316 stainless steel mesh offers additional benefits, such as greater visibility, air flow ventilation and bushfire attack levels (BAL) compliance. KidScreen sources and uses only the highest quality mesh, consistently quality controlled and accredited.
Both options not only meet but exceed the standard required, i.e. the ability to resist a minimum force of 250 Newtons as set out in the National Construction Code 2013 (D.2.24). In addition, KidScreen has been independently certified to comply with the Australian Window Association Industry code of Practice ICP.005 and AS5203 -2016, providing further assurance as to the quality of the product.
Choose a look that will last
Whether being fitted to an existing home, or factored into a new build, KidScreen is not only a safe but attractive addition. The KidScreen surrounding frame is constructed from Alspec’s high grade aluminium, which has the advantage of being able to be colour powder-coated to blend in with your home’s existing scheme, or even finished in a timber-look design. The screens come with a 7 year warranty, providing further assurance as to the quality of the product.
While the screens can be fitted to existing windows, it is important to note that to be compliant, the fitting must be completed by an accredited professional installer.
With time running out, make sure you act now to get your strata plan on board with these life-saving changes. After all, who can argue with something as important as keeping kids safe?
Contact KidScreen now to find out more about their smart window safety solutions.