Apartments and multi-storey homes are about to get a little safer for children thanks to a rule change around windows in new buildings.
The Australian Building Codes Board has ruled that all windows in new homes and apartments that are more than two metres off the ground must be either fitted with window locks that stop the window being opened more than 125mm (12.5 cm), or must have reinforced screens to prevent children from falling from a height.
The changes will be included in the National Construction Code from May 2013.
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The Australian Building Codes Board estimates that owners and builders will choose to fit 80 per cent of windows with locks, and the remaining 20 with reinforced screens. Its research priced window locks from $20 - $70 each, and strong screens from $130 a square metre, putting the average cost of a suitable screen at $130.
Ron De Vere, a project manager with the Australian Building Codes Board, says the decision was made after wide consultation with industry, and with fire authorities across the nation.