There are a variety of reasons why you may wish to renovate your strata property. Some of the reasons include improving your re-sale value or simply wanting to modernise your residence. The key point to consider when approaching a renovation project is to know the boundaries of your Lot and the by-laws in place regulating the use common property. Common property in most cases is also defined as structural elements or utility infrastructure such as wiring and pipes located within the lot boundary. Alterations to the common property will usually require Body Corporate approval before commencement, so before you start your renovation project, review your by-laws to check what changes require approval. This will save you time and money in starting a renovation project that may otherwise have to come to a standstill if appropriate approval procedures are not followed. Worse still you may be issued with a contravention notice for not complying with the by-laws in place. To help you through the approval process, we have put together the following tips on what to consider before renovating your strata property:
- Seek Appropriate Approval – Remember that changing the exterior of your property is likely to require Body Corporate approval, especially if it affects the external appearance of your lot. Also if you are planning to change your flooring you will need to consider noise impacts and install appropriate sound dampening materials. Your by-laws may list any specific requirements in place.
- Timing of Work – The Body Corporate will need to review your application, cross check details submitted against the by-laws, formulate any specific conditions of approval and vote on a proposed motion to consider approval. It is best practice to consider the timing of the approval process that can vary greatly depending on the complexity of the renovation before planning commencement dates with contractors.
- Notify your neighbours and any on site management – Making your neighbours aware of your renovation schedule is a common courtesy and can help prevent noise complaints. If your Body Corporate has a Resident Manager, it is always worth keeping them informed of your plans so they can assist in ensuring trades have appropriate access, lifts are protected and if applicable, plan holiday lets around your builder’s schedule.
- Qualified and Licensed Tradespeople – Ensure your builder has appropriate licences and experience in Strata renovations. They will need to follow the by-laws and any Council regulations on noise pollution, to ensure complaints and potential on the spot fines are not received. Most local Councils provides useful advice on noise pollution and building work on their websites.
- Body Corporate Insurance – To ensure your property is appropriately insured post renovation, you will need to notify your Body Corporate insurer of the specifications and if required, pay any additional premium to the policy due to the increased sum insured.
This article was contributed by Tim Burns. Archers Body Corporate Managers