So, you’re planning to renovate and transform your humble abode? Renovating your Strata apartment requires a clear plan. Before you start, have you checked what approvals you need to carry out renovations to your Lot?
We understand Owners in Owners Corporations are not immune to the lure of improving the value of their property investment. To help make the process easier, we have provided you with 5 tips that you need to know before renovating your Strata apartment.
1. Obtaining Owners Corporation approval
Under the Owners Corporations Act 2006, Lot Owners in an Owners Corporation are entitled to refurbish the interior of their apartment and are required to notify the Owners Corporation if the renovations require a building or planning permit.
SSKB would encourage Owners considering making improvements to contact their Building or Owners Corporation Manager if they are unsure about the need to apply for approval. If work does not require approval, such as for simple things like internal painting, the Owners Corporation and Building Manager may still need to be notified in order to arrange access for tradespeople.
2. Prepare a Scope of Works
Speak with your Contractors and prepare a summary of the works which are going to be undertaken. Provide the Scope of Works together with your request for Owners Corporation approval. This will save you time when seeking Owners Corporation approval.
3. Check your By-Laws
Most Victorian Owners Corporations have similar rules relating to ‘alterations to a Lot’. These require an Owner to submit a written request to the Owners Corporation for approval before they begin works.
SSKB would recommend you also check the specific rules in your building before you undertake any improvements or renovations. It could save you time in the long run, by ensuring you do not begin improvements without the necessary permission of the Owners Corporation. Most Owners Corporation rules will require approval to be sought for any structural alterations, the installation of hard flooring and any change to the appearance of your property which can be seen from outside. Some rules also outline the hours that tradespeople can be on-site and lift access requirements. Generally, rules allow Committees to impose reasonable conditions on approval.
If you are considering making improvements, you should consider whether your changes will affect common property. This will require approval and may even be required to go to a General Meeting. Before you start, check with your Building or Owners Corporation Manager to ensure that you have the right approvals in place.
4. Engage Appropriate Contractors
It is important that you engage the appropriate licensed Contractors to ensure that the works comply with current building standards. It is likely that the renovation will not be approved in circumstances where you are recommending that the works are carried out by a lay person or the classic ‘handy man’.
You may also need input from other consultants along the way (e.g. structural or fire engineer, plumber or electrician). Plan out a scope of what you are wanting to do then seek expert input to find out if it is feasible and realistic for your budget.
It is always good practice to keep the Committee or on-site Building Manager informed throughout your project.
It is also crucial to explain to the Contractors the requirements/conditions of the rules in completing renovations.
SSKB encourages Owners considering making improvements to contact their Building or Owners Corporation Manager before commencing. You should also consider notifying the Committee and your fellow residents. Especially to let them know of potential noise during improvements, and the ongoing presence (including parking or access required) of tradespeople on the property. Communicating with other Owners ensures everyone is kept up to date and informed of what is going on. This ultimately helps to promote a strong and happy sense of community and cooperation in your Owners Corporation.