Child-safe window check reveals unauthorised changes in bathroom. | Common Property | Flat Chat Forum: Your Questions Answered




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Child-safe window check reveals unauthorised changes in bathroom.
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Winston
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15/12/2017 - 3:39 pm
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I have recently joined the Strata Committee of a 1983 built Unit block in NSW.

The Child Window safety device installer has reported that the bathroom of one of the Units in the strata probably some time ago appears to have had a renovation carried out on it, resulting in the bricking-up of a little more than 1/2 of the window sill to the upper level of the window sill, and a shower recess only of about 900 x 900 installed in lieu of a bath with shower hose as noted for all the other units.  

The current shower area (abt. 900 x  900) abuts the wall where the window can open (slide), and the window can open (slide) up to ab. 80Cm. 

Unfortunately with the bricking up done on a little more than 1/2 of its length it is not possible to install a “Child Window safety device” that would be able to restrict the opening of the window to 125MM, as nothing can get in between the Window track and the bricked up section of the window sill.   

The space between the rear of the bricked up section of the window sill and the Window slide track is only about 3-4 Cm.

If the Bathroom window gets broken it is unlikely that the window could be removed to be repaired.

Preliminary indications are that there is no record in the Strata that any approval has been sought / given for this bathroom change and to sort this out will likely mean the fix will be after 13th March 2018 (unfortunately), and could be a problem and expensive for the lot owner.  

Has anyone else encountered such a situation ?   Any suggestions would be welcome.

To me it appears that the facts of the matter need to be laid before the Lot owner, and will likely result in the covered in window area needing to be removed.  

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Lady Penelope
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16/12/2017 - 5:24 pm
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Winston – Your description of the problem was a bit confusing to me. How high is the bathroom window above the floor level? See diagram …. Is a safety device necessary? Sometimes windows in shower recesses are above 1.7m high. 

Window safety device diagram

If a safety device is required but cannot be installed due to an illegal owner modification of a common property window then, in my opinion, the OC has a couple of options.

Discuss all of these options with the Owner and work out which suits both Parties:

(1) The OC permanently fixes the window shut.

(2) The Owner restores the window to its original state to enable the OC to install an ordinary safety device.

(3) The Owner pays the additional cost (over and above the cost of what an ordinary safety device for that window would be) for the OC to install a special metal grille or bars on the inside face of the window if and where possible. 

(4) Due to the special nature of this problem the owners corporation could adopt a common property rights by-law which confers the right and obligation to install and maintain any locking or safety device to the individual lot owner. Both the Owner and the OC would need to agree to this, and the reasons for the granting of this unusual  obligation would need to be clearly stated in the Explanatory Material for the Motion, and the by-law. This will allow for full transparency should any future problems arise. See https://www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au/ftw/Tenants_and_home_owners/Strata_schemes/Repairs_and_maintenance.page

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sydprop
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18/12/2017 - 12:20 pm
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Notwithstanding the modification issues. 

There are many different types of lock – and I would have thought you could mount one at the top. Maybe you could post a photo of a similar window.

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SaltyOne
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19/12/2017 - 10:08 am
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A chain or wire from the handle in the centre of the opening side of the window to the corresponding point on the frame is a suitable and inexpensive alternative to something that blocks the track.   In fact, for very narrow sliding aluminium windows such as are often used in bathrooms and laundries it is the preferred option, because very narrow sliding windows can tilt when pushed up against a stopper in the lower rail, creating an opening of much more than allowed 125mm.

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