National Construction Code requirements

To improve window safety in Australia, specific window safety measures have been introduced to the National Construction Code (through Building Code Australia 2013).

This means that any new building in Australia must implement the following safety measures.

For bedroom windows:

A window safety device must be present on bedroom windows if:

  • The internal floor beneath an openable window is 2m or more above the outside surface beneath; and
  • The lowest level of the window is less than 1.7m above the internal floor.

This window safety device must permanently restrict the window opening to a maximum opening of 125mm if the window meets the above criteria and:

  • The barrier (such as a wall or fixed glazing) beneath the window is less than 865mm high; or
  • The barrier beneath the window is greater than 865mm high and there are climbable elements present below the window.

For all other windows:

A window safety device which permanently restricts the window opening to a maximum distance of 125mm must be present on windows other than bedroom windows if they meet the following criteria:

  • The floor beneath openable windows is 4m or more above the outside ground surface level.
  • The lowest level of the window is less than 1.7m above the internal floor beneath the window.
  • The barrier (such as a wall or fixed glazing) directly beneath the window is less than 865mm high.
  • The barrier (such as a wall or fixed glazing) directly beneath the window is greater than 865mm high and climbable elements are present below the window.

Frequently asked questions

Even if my windows don’t meet the criteria above, is there anything I need to do?

Safety locks are always highly recommended if you have children and if there is any risk of them falling through an open window in your home. However, if the barrier (such as a wall or fixed glazing) below a window other than a bedroom window is greater than 865mm high and there are no climbable elements present below a window, no restrictions on the window are necessary.

Does my window safety device need to permanently restrict my window?

Not necessarily. Where a device is capable of being removed, unlocked or overridden by a child-resistant release mechanism, a barrier (such as a wall or fixed glazing) that is at least 865 mm high must be present beneath the window. If the barrier is less than 865mm high, or greater than 865mm but climbable elements are present below the window, then the window safety device must permanently restrict the window opening to a maximum of 125mm.

What is an appropriate window safety device?

Appropriate window safety devices include a window restrictor device or secure screens that meet the following requirements:

  • Must not permit a 125mm sphere to pass through the window;
  • Must resist an outward horizontal action of 250N;
  • Must have a child resistant release mechanism if the screen or device is capable of being removed, unlocked or overridden.

What is a child-resistant mechanism?

This is a mechanism on a window safety device which requires a key to unlock; a coordinated two-handed operation to release; or the use of a tool such as a screwdriver or spanner to remove the device or screen to shift the window to the fully open position.