Strata Community Regulations for Major Renovations

Since ‘Major Renovations’ are not clearly defined in the Strata Act, all work that does not fall under the classifications of minor renovations or cosmetic work is considered a major renovation. The following are some examples of projects that would qualify as major renovations:

Changes to the building's structure (e.g. removing structural walls).

Works that affect waterproofing (e.g. renovations to bathrooms or tile modifications on balconies).

Works that include cladding, fire safety, and insulation.

Changes to the lot's exterior (e.g. air conditioning units, access ramps, etc.).

Works that will have an impact on the common property.

Works that need the approval of other regulations and Acts.

A specific by-law must be submitted to the owner's corporation for approval before any major renovation work may begin. A common property rights by-law must be registered as the major goal of this is to make sure that the lot owner is in charge of any future upkeep and repairs of any damaged common property. For instance, let’s say you want to renovate your bathroom, as the renovation is major work and you have to take care of plumbing issues as well, you’ll need to hire strata plumbing services to do the work professionally and competently so that you won’t harm the common property.

Here are some other points you need to know:

Before approving, the owner's corporation will need specific information about the work, such as plans, license information for the contractor, dates the work will be done, etc.

You will need a copy of the waterproofing certificate before completing any waterproofing work.

Before providing development approval, the Local Council will need proof of the owner's corporation's permission.

A special resolution vote is required for major renovation projects. The owner is then required to give the owners corporation a minimum of 14 days’ written notice before work begins. The notice should include information about your preferred changes to the common property.

Do’s and Don'ts

Let’s quickly summarize what you can and cannot renovate in your strata community:

You are allowed to paint or paper your internal walls, but for cutting holes, removing walls, etc. you’ll need approval.

To renovate your kitchen or bathroom, you’ll need permission. Changes to the floors, ceilings, or walls also require approval.

You cannot change the front door or install new windows since they are common property.

Internal light fittings can be changed, but you'll need approval to upgrade downlights because a poor installation could endanger the building's fire safety certificate.

An owner must obtain permission through a common property rights by-law to use a part of the common property, such as mounting an air conditioner on a property wall. Before you begin renovating, review the by-laws to find out what permits are required and how to obtain them as each strata is different.

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Jason Gwerder
Friday, 5 August 2022

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