Each and every Strata building will have different by-laws and responsibilities for owners to follow with regards to renovations. Please contact our office to enquire what these rules and regulations may be for your building.
Each owner should provide details in writing and receive written approval prior to starting any renovation or alteration. Gilbey Burgess kindly request owners send written advice for Strata renovations at least 3 months before they wish to start.
Additions and alterations may involve common property and may require formal approval at a general meeting and the lot owner may be required to provide a by-law which describes the work and outlines responsibilities for maintenance and repairs.
Please note: Receiving initial approval from an Owners Corporation and drafting a suitable by-law and arranging a general meeting can be a lengthy process. Expecting permission to conduct renovations or additions to a lot within a short period of time may be unrealistic. Owners should contact their strata manager well in advance of these works to begin this process.
GENERAL NOTES IN REGARD TO
ALTERATIONS OR ADDITIONS TO BUILDINGS
(The following notes have been prepared by Gilbey Burgess Strata Management Pty Limited to assist owners intending to renovate or carry out alterations to their unit. The notes are general in nature and owners should also check the existing by-laws and strata plan notations for their individual strata plan.)
The boundaries of a strata lot described in general terms are the internal surfaces of the floors, walls and ceilings forming the perimeter of the lot.
(Note: Boundary definitions can differ for those plans registered prior to July 1974)
It follows from the description of lot boundaries above that the substance of the walls, floors and ceilings is therefore generally common property unless the surveyor has denoted otherwise on the registered strata plan.
Damage to common property / Appearance of a lot:
By-laws applicable to most strata schemes include a by-law which prohibits any owner from damaging or defacing any part of common property without the written approval of the Owners Corporation. "Damaging or defacing" is held to include marking, painting and the driving of nails or screws or similar objects ' into the common property.
There is also a by-law prohibiting an owner from maintaining anything within his lot that if visible from outside the lot which is not in keeping with the rest of the building.
Additions and Alterations:
Building works involving additions and alterations to common property can include construction, repairing, renovating, decorating, installing fittings or fixtures in or to a building, including bathroom and kitchen fittings, facilities for the supply of water, sewerage, drainage, gas, electricity, oil, garbage, conditioned air or telephone or radio or signals services.
Where proposed work involves additions or alterations to common property, permission of the Owners Corporation is required prior to any work commencing. If the unit owner undertaking the work is to be responsible for the on-going maintenance and repair of the additions or alterations it will be necessary to have a special by-law approved by a general meeting of the Owners Corporation.
To obtain the consent of the Owners Corporation to proposed building works, an owner or occupier of a lot must apply in writing to the Owners Corporation. The application should contain or be accompanied by:-
Drawings and specifications, sufficient to allow the Owners Corporation to assess:
(a) Compliance by the proposed building works with the building Code of Australia and any pertinent Australian Standard, relating inter alia to the waterproofing of wet areas.
(b) The effect of the proposed building works upon the building and the owners and occupiers of other lots.
If the proposed building works might affect any part of the building which provides support or shelter for another lot or for the common property, or facilities for the supply of services in the building, the certificate of a duly qualified engineer in favour of the Owners Corporation that the structural integrity and the operation of the building will not be detrimentally affected by the proposed works.
If floor or wall tiles are being removed, details about the technique of removal and the steps to ensure there is no consequential damage to the ceiling of the unit below or the wall of an adjacent unit.
Where a shower recess or bathroom floor is to be re-tiled, confirmation that a new membrane will be installed and written certification provided by the contractor to the Owners Corporation of the membrane installation.
If a dishwasher is being installed, details about the plumbing and sound reduction measures.
If timber or parquetry flooring or any other hard floor surface or covering is being installed, technical data sheet specifying the acoustic performance of the proposed covering. (Also note general by-law on “Floor Coverings” which requires floors to be covered ‘to an extent sufficient to prevent the transmission from the floor space of noise likely to disturb the peaceful enjoyment of the owner or occupier of another lot’.)
If air conditioning is to be installed, details of type, size, capacity, proposed location and intended method to dispose of any condensation run-off.
If any services will be disrupted (water, TV, intercom etc) - the proposed method of advance notification to other residents.
The proposed date of commencement and the duration of the building works.
The means by which it is proposed the tradesmen, building materials and building debris enter and leave the building.
The proposed hours of work.
Arrangement for storage of building materials and debris.
Arrangements for the parking of tradesmen’s vehicles.
Evidence of currency for the duration of the works of Contractors’ All Risks insurance cover in an insurance office of repute (incorporating cover against public risk in respect of claims for death, injury, accident, and damage occurring in the course of or by reason of the works).
Where the building works are ‘residential building work’ for the purposes of the Home Building Act 1989, evidence that the building contractor is licensed and has provided insurance under Section 92 of that Act. (Home Owners Warranty Insurance)
Owners should be aware that most alterations and additions involving use or modification to common property will require a by-law to be approved by special resolution at a general meeting of the Owners Corporation. The by-law would specify the work being approved and the conditions of approval agreed to by the Owners Corporation and the owner undertaking the work. All costs of preparation and registration of the by-law would be at the expense of the unit owner.
Depending on the type and extent of proposed works the proposal (together with drawings and other details) may be circulated by the strata manager to the executive committee or all other owners for approval in principle prior to a suitable by-law being drafted by the proposing owner’s solicitor. This way any concerns and conditions raised by other owners can be incorporated in the draft by-law without the need for later modifications and additional cost.
One of the usual conditions in such a by-law is that the unit owner will be responsible for the on-going maintenance and repair of the works covered by the by-law. These responsibilities pass with the title to any new owner of that unit.
The Owners Corporation may impose conditions which it considers promote the control, management, administration, use and enjoyment of the lots and the common property, including conditions about the hours of work, the transportation of tradesmen, tools, materials and debris, the preservation of the security of the building, the date of commencement of work, and the time allowed for the completion of the work. In certain circumstances, a bond may be required.
Work may not commence until the by-law is approved at a general meeting of the Owners Corporation and if such approval is given, work must proceed only in accordance with the terms of the by-law.
(The above notes are general in nature and do not relate to any particular building. The aim is to reduce time-consuming requests for additional information during the approval process and to cover those aspects which are likely to be of concern to other owners. Lot owners intending to undertake alterations should also obtain a copy of the by-laws applicable to their building)