Don’t start developing without a strata manager

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One of the most valuable lessons learned by successful property developers is to have a qualified and licensed strata manager working on the project from day one. Not an add-on It’s a mistake for a developer to think that strata management is just an add-on or something that’s only relevant once an owners corporation is established. Right from the start a strata manager can offer expertise in certification, insurance and, importantly, clarifying some of the grey areas of legislative req...

Strata Management Chasing BIM

construction-technology

Building information modelling (BIM) is currently one of the hottest topics in construction, and with increasing numbers of residential projects adopting it in Australia, there is a strong argument for its potential use in strata management. Commonly used in the design of major high-rise office towers, bridges, power plants and other complex projects with long time frames, BIM delivers the ability to keep all information relevant to a building project in one place, acting as a repository fo...

Strata managers: Under the pressure to renovate

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The rage for renovating, swing to strata living and seemingly ever upward property demand is creating new pressure for Strata Managers and Owners Corporations. Almost a quarter of the Australian population live in a Strata titled home and with the rise in apartment living the number is increasing every day in parallel with the obsession for home renovation. Influenced by the heady allure of extreme makeovers and the promise of instant profit, Australia has become a renovation nation. Owners...

Strata Managers Face Shake Up

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The strata management industry is in for a significant shake up with the “once-in-a-generation” changes to strata laws being introduced on November 30, 2016. What the New South Wales Government is hailing as “modern,” “flexible” and “reflecting 21st-century strata living” will be the kiss of death for many agency agreements, as some strata managers face the prospect of their income disappearing overnight. One of the government’s selling points is “stronger accountabilit...

Building Certification Under the Blowtorch

fire-safety

The New South Wales Government is finally biting the bullet on rewriting the Building Professionals Act, the law governing the way buildings in the state are certified and deemed to be fire safe. The decision follows the fatal 2012 Bankstown fire in an apartment block which had a litany of certification problems and a subsequent government review of the building certification process. A young woman who was forced to leap from a window on the burning fifth storey of the Euro Terrace apartme...

The Importance of Being Connected In Strata Design

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Connectivity is the latest buzzword, whether we’re talking about access to information and entertainment via the myriad of devices now available or the need to be connected to family, friends and workmates. But there’s another form of connectivity which is becoming more important for property developers: the connection of residents to their building and its environs, and the local community’s connection to the building. The case for listening to the public for the design and evolution o...

Tenant Representative

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Under the new reforms to the NSW strata legislation, tenants are able to nominate one tenant representative for the Strata Committee at a tenant's meeting. However, not all strata schemes are eligible to appoint a tenant representative, as at least half of the number of lots needs to be registered tenants (tenants that have notified in a tenancy notice to the Owners Corporation in accordance with the Act). There are restrictions in place for tenant representatives when it comes to decision m...

Where Do the Inspectors Come From?

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There’s now a new date for the implementation of the much touted reforms to the NSW strata legislation. Instead of July 1, the 90 amendments to the legislation which aim to reduce red tape, and help strata communities avoid disputes will now take effect from November 30, 2016. But one key reform, the building defects bond scheme, has been deferred until the middle of next year. It appears the issues surrounding its implementation are currently in the “too hard” basket. An i...

Sustainable Strata Schemes

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Sustainability is all about ensuring that the current generation needs are met without compromising the needs of future generations. With climate change, increasing greenhouse gas emission levels and global warming a common topic in today’s media and thus a well-known issue, it is important that steps are taken to reduce our carbon footprint in order to ensure the people in the future are able to meet their needs.   According to City of Sydney Council, over 73 per cent of the City o...

Building Certifiers Under the Gun

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Owners corporations and strata managers have the potential to benefit from two recent decisions in Victoria and New South Wales in which building certifiers are being held accountable for work they signed off on which has been found to be defective. Building defects and their rectification are major problems in residential strata buildings, with nearly three-quarters of residents living in strata have experienced one or more defects in their scheme. The Victorian Building Authority (VB...

Town Hall Outbreak – Legionnaires Disease

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NSW Health authorities suspect an infected cooling tower located around Town Hall Station is responsible for the outbreak of Legionnaires disease (a severe form of pneumonia), where so far four men are currently receiving treatment. People contract Legionnaires by inhaling water droplets that contain Legionella bacteria, which grows in warm water. NSW Health is urging anyone who has visited the Town Hall area and has symptoms such as fever, chills, a cough and shortness of breath to see their...

Getting Properly Cladded

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Non-compliant building materials have emerged as a significant issue for Strata Schemes and Owners Corporations to manage after the Lacrosse Apartment fire in Melbourne’s Docklands district. Owners Corporations now need to address whether their building materials are compliant as a matter of urgency, as failure to do so could impact on their insurance cover. Building cladding in particular is in the spotlight after the recent audit by the Victorian Building Authority found half of Melbou...

Before Ripping In

before-ripping-in

Overhanging branches or invasive tree roots are a common cause of disputes in strata communities and neighbours. Each state and territory has its own legislation about tree disputes. If overhanging tree branches cross the boundary line between properties or tree roots grow across the boundary line, under some circumstances you may be permitted to prune the branches back to the boundary line or sever the roots at the boundary. However, care should be taken and checks made with your local counc...

Child Window Safety

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Under the Strata Schemes Management Amendment (Child Window Safety Devices) Regulation 2013, windows within a strata scheme that pose a risk of serious injury from falls must be fitted with devices that is capable of restricting the opening of a window to 12.5cm. This amendment was introduced to prevent children from falling from windows. There are a few common misconceptions with the installation of window safety lock. One of which is the inability to open a window after a window lock dev...

Strata Renewal Plan – NSW

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Currently, the law enables the termination of a strata scheme only with a unanimous consent by all owners. With the new Strata Schemes Management Act 2015, which is scheduled to come into effect from 1 July 2016, developers only require consent from 75% of owners to terminate the strata scheme. A collective sale is the sale of the whole strata scheme, whilst a redevelopment is a significant alteration of the scheme that requires a new strata plan. The steps required for a collective sale o...

Concrete Cancer

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Concrete spalling is often termed concrete cancer. Its main symptom is concrete flaking from the surface of the affected area accompanied by nearby staining. Concrete spalling is caused when steel reinforcement within a concrete slab begins rusting. When steel rusts, it expands approximately 5 times its original size causing concrete displacement and flaking. On becoming damaged, more water can enter the affected area, speeding up the process. The exact cause of concrete cancer often depen...

Special levy shock syndrome (SLSS)

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Special levies are dreaded by most strata property owners. However, it is important to understand that they are raised to cover shortfalls in the budget to pay for essential expenses (e.g. fire safety compliance, building defects and building upgrades).   If you find yourself receiving a special levy notice and you are shocked and unsure why you’ve received it (aka special levy strata shock syndrome - SLS), you should investigate why a special levy has been raised. Refer back to the...

High rise pooches

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Across Australia, an estimated 63% of households own some kind of pet with 53% owning a dog and/or cat – which means more than half of all Australian homes include a four-legged friend.   Here are some tips.

1.    Socialize your pet Dogs that are untrained and unsocialised tend to be noisy, anxious and unpredictable, making them more difficult to live with. Introducing your dog from an early age (i.e. puppy days) to a variety of experiences in a posit...

New Swimming Pools and Spa Pools Laws

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All properties in NSW with a swimming pool or spa pool must have a valid certificate of compliance or relevant occupation certificate before they can be sold or leased from 29 April 2016.   A certificate of compliance ensures that your swimming pool or spa meets all safety requirements, including pool barriers (e.g. fence). It Is valid for three years from its date of issue. To check if your certificate has been issued, go to NSW Government’s Swimming Pool Register (http://www.swimm...

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