WINDOWS Magazine Autumn 2016 - Page 28

p r o d u cts Protecting children from accidental falls A look at Australian window safety requirements E ach year, more than 50 children fall from windows or balconies in Australia with many of them suffering serious injuries. Unfortunately, some of these falls even result in death. A majority of these falls occur in the children’s own home, especially over the warmer months when windows and balcony doors are often left open. Typically, children aged between one and five are most at risk since they are more curious but lack the ability to recognise danger. As a result of these falls, by law, Strata Owners Corporations in New South Wales must have window safety devices installed on all above ground windows by 13 March, 2018. The National Construction Code (NCC), an initiative of the Council of Australian Governments (COAG), has incorporated all on-site building requirements into a single code. According to the NCC, manufacturers are required to produce windows that meet mandatory minimum specifications under the section on Protection of Openable Windows (BCA2013 Vol.2 3.9.2.5). To limit the risk of a child falling through an openable window, the NCC states that if 26 Australian Window Association Autumn 2016 the floor below the window in a bedroom is 2.0 m or more above the surface beneath and the lowest level of the window opening is less than 1.7 m above the floor, a restriction (device or screen) is required to: • Restrict window openings to less than 125 mm; to not permit a sphere of 125 mm diameter to pass through the window opening or barrier screen; while resisting an outward horizontal force through the opening of 250 newtons (equivalent to 25.49 kg) while the window is restrained by a restriction device or barrier screen protecting the opening. • Have either a child resistant release mechanism, or a screen or device that is unable to be removed, unlocked or overridden (depending on other factors). To assist manufacturers in meeting these regulations, Doric provides a range of window restriction devices for awning, casement, double hung and sliding windows, suitable for both residential and commercial applications. The DS259 Double Hung Window Restrictor, for example, is Doric’s latest addition to the window restriction device range. The DS259 is designed specifically for use on residential double hung windows and is able to restrict both the top and bottom sashes from moving to a distance predetermined by the installer. All Australian window manufacturers must comply with the NCC regulation and must be able to verify compliance on request. A statement of compliance from Doric or any other hardware manufacturer is not sufficient to assume a pass. To achieve compliance, there are self-certification kits available from independent testing facility Azuma which will help window manufacturers ascertain whether their windows meet the mandatory minimum requirements of the NCC. The kit includes: • Force gauge • 125 mm sphere • 125 mm bullet shape probe • 125 mm diameter pressure plate • Stop watch With both NATA and IQNet accreditation, Azuma is capable of testing to Australian and international standards; offering a wide range of industrial design, engineering and testing services throughout the Asia-Pacific region. For more information, please contact Doric on 133 132 389 or visit www.doric.com.au