If You Have a Two-Storey House and Young Children Or Pets You Need to Read This
If You Have a Two-Storey House and Young Children Or Pets You Need to Read This!
With house prices soaring across Australia, more homeowners are looking to expand their space by building a second floor. Australian homes are among the biggest in the world, with an average floor space size of 186.3sqm. The average Australian house built today is a whopping 30% bigger than the Australian homes built thirty years ago and for many households, the way this is achieved is by going up and make their home double story. Australian building regulations have reflected this by stipulating certain safety requirements for multi-level homes.
If you have pets or young children and live in a multi-story home, you may need to take steps to ensure your home falls safe. Unfortunately, statistics show that each week an Australian child is injured falling from an upstairs window or balcony. If your home has upstairs windows, you need to ensure that you have adequate protection in place to prevent a devastating fall from taking place.
Australian building regulations now require that upper-level windows with a fall of two meters or more are prevented from being able to fully open unless fitted with adequate safety features. These requirements, introduced in May 2013, are designed to reduce the risk of devastating falls by preventing unprotected upper-level windows from being opened further than a tiny 125mm. If your upstairs window is not fitted with safety features, it cannot be designed to open at all.
I want to be able to open upstairs windows, what are my options?
There are two options for securing upper-level windows so that they can still be opened to allow you to ventilate your home with fresh air:
- The first option is to install a window restrictor, which is a device that is designed to prevent a window from being opened further than 125mm. This is quite a tiny opening so it will not allow much air to pass through; or
- The second option is to have your upper-level windows fitted with Australian Standards-approved security steel doors. Having this feature will allow the window to be fully opened so that the room can be properly ventilated with fresh air without putting anyone in danger of suffering a catastrophic fall.
Can I just put flywire mesh on my windows instead?
No! This is definitely not a secure option. Flywire is designed to keep insects out and it will not protect children or pets from falling through it. Security mesh is made from steel or aluminum, but flyscreen mesh is typically made from fiberglass, nylon, or PVC-coated polyester so it isn’t nearly as strong. Flywire mesh will also leave your windows in violation of the building code which requires the screen to be able to withstand 25kg of pressure. Australian Standards-approved security mesh has been tested to ensure it will be able to withstand considerable pressure, as well as a forced break-in attempt where a perpetrator uses a tool to slash at the screen. By contrast, flywire mesh can easily rip to tear and will not protect children or pets in upper levels at your home.
Why upstairs windows can be dangerous for pets and children
A child is injured from a fall from a balcony or an upper-level window at a home each week in Australia. The same statistics are not available for pets, but vets refer to “high rise syndrome” which is a professional term used to describe the injuries sustained by a pet from falling from an upper-level window or balcony. Falls occur particularly in warmer months when windows are left open to ventilate the home. Regulations to restrict upper-level windows being opened came into place in Australia in 2013, so if your home was built before then you may need to check it is safe and that children or pets in your home will not be at risk of falling.
Can I install security mesh myself?
Security mesh screens should be professionally installed to ensure they can protect your household and function as they have been designed to. Jim’s Security Doors offers a free measure-and-quote service and will include installation costs in the quote, all screens are custom-made to fit your windows and doors. Contact our sales team on 13 15 46 for expert advice on property conveyancing Brisbane and which security mesh is best for your home.
What else can I do to protect my household from falls at home?
- Ensure that beds, chairs, and other furniture are placed away from windows;
- Always supervise pets and children on a balcony or around open, unsecured, windows;
- Teach children to play away from windows;
- If upper-level windows are not fitted with a restrictor or security mesh, don’t open them; and
- Never rely on flyscreens for fall prevention.
For more information about Jim’s Security Doors. Or for expert advice on installing security mesh on windows at your home, please contact our experienced sales team on 13 15 46.