Communicate Before You Renovate


BY: HELENE JOHANSEN

In challenging financial times and in an unstable real estate market, many people are choosing to renovate instead of buying into new property.

However, in strata communities you cannot go ahead and start tearing down walls at your own will.

If you are going to renovate there are several things you need to be aware of.

The rule of thumb is that before you do anything at all (especially spend money) read the by-laws and then communicate with the Body Corporate, Building Manager and your Community Manager.

SSKB Community Manager, Martin Walsh, advised you must get approval from your Body Corporate if you are performing major changes to the internal structure (for example tearing down a wall).

“However, if you are making minor changes (for example painting your bedroom wall), there is no need for approval,” Martin informed.

Furthermore Martin explains that external renovations always need Body Corporate approval.

“It’s important to remember that what you can do may be restricted by by-laws, an architectural code or even council regulations.”

Many bodies corporate have an Architectural Review Committee (ARC) which is empowered to ensure that all aspects of construction and landscaping comply with the design guidelines that may have been formulated.

Owners or occupants in strata communities which have an ARC must then apply for (and obtain) ARC approval of plans before seeking certifier/local authority approval.

SSKB can provide your body corporate with a streamlined process to handle your application process.

SSKB has established relationships with architects and other technical experts and will take care of the secretarial duties with owners and the Architectural Review Committee.

Applications for an ARC approval may be submitted through SSKB.com.au

The application process normally includes:

  • Review and assessment of documentation submitted by the applicant.
  • Issue of a request for information, if necessary.
  • Issue of an approval with, or without conditions.

SSKB has a dedicated Community Specialist Division performing Architectural Reviews.

There are further issues you need to consider in addition to the physical renovation and how you perform it.

Martin said that you have to reflect on how your renovation affects the rest of your strata community.

“Noisy renovations can cause nuisance to your neighbours and your by-laws may specify a time for when renovations actually can be carried out.”



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