The QLD Strata Magazine | March 2022

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The difference between the duty to insure and the duty to maintain and repair common property Page 12 | Tyrone Shandiman, Strata Insurance Solutions

Cost effective solutions to fund upgrades for EV charging Page 18 | Drew McKillican, Altogether Solutions

Are gas cylinders on camper vans a potential hazard in underground car parks? Page 32 | QIA Group

About Us LookUpStrata is Australia’s Top Property Blog Dedicated to Strata Living. The site has been providing reliable strata information to lot owners, strata managers and other strata professionals since 2013. As well as publishing legislative articles to keep their audience up to date with changes to strata, this family owned business is known for their national Q&A service that provides useful responses to lot owners and members of the strata industry. They have created a national network of leading strata specialists across Australia who assist with 100s of the LookUpStrata audiences’ queries every month. Strata information is distributed freely to their dedicated audience of readers via regular Webinars, Magazines and Newsletters. The LookUpStrata audience also has free access to The LookUpStrata Directory, showcasing 100s of strata service professionals from across Australia. To take a look at the LookUpStrata Directory, flip to the end of this magazine.

Meet the team

Nikki began building LookUpStrata back in 2012 and officially launched the company early 2013. With a background in Information Management, LookUpStrata has helped Nikki realise her mission of providing detailed, practical, and easy to understand strata information to all Australians. Nikki shares her time between three companies, including Tower Body Corporate in SEQ, and is currently in her third term on the SCA (WA) Education and Professional Development Committee. More recently Nikki has become known for presenting regular strata webinars, where LookUpStrata hosts a strata expert to cover a specific topic and respond to audience questions.

Nikki Jovicic Owner / Director

Liza came on board in early 2020 to bring some structure to LookUpStrata. She has a passion for processes, growth and education. This quickly resulted in the creation of The Strata Magazine released monthly in New South Wales and Queensland, and bi-monthly in Western Australia and Victoria. As of 2021, LookUpStrata now produce 33 state based online magazines a year. Among other daily tasks, Liza is involved in scheduling and liaising with upcoming webinar presenters, sourcing responses to audience questions and assisting strata service professionals who are interested in growing their business.

Liza Jovicic Sales and Content Manager

Learn more here → You can contact us here →

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Contents 4

Moving with the times



Do Body Corporate approval for renovations have an expiry date? Remedial Repairs: How owners can regain control Sedgwick



Legislation or Australian Standards for body corporate pool water testing

26 Do you need committee approval for installing a CCTV to common property? Frank Higginson, Hynes Legal & Chris Irons, Strata Solve

28 Mould from the Central Air Conditioner Vents

Tyrone Shandiman, Strata Insurance Solutions

30 How often do I have to get solar panels checked?

Land Access and Activity Notice (LAAN) – Your Rights Acquiring common property for exclusive use Todd Garsden, Mahoneys


24 Calculating lift replacement provision in the sinking fund

The difference between the duty to insure and the duty to maintain and repair common property.



Standard Format Plan Maintenance and Repairs

Peter Berney & Dakota Panetta, Solutions in Engineering

William Marquand, Tower Body Corporate



William Marquand, Tower Body Corporate

Chris Irons, Strata Solve


Defects in Strata Zac Gleeson, GQS


William Marquand, Tower Body Corporate

Michael Kleinschmidt, Stratum Legal

32 Are gas cylinders on camper vans a potential hazard in underground car parks? QIA Group

Cost effective solutions to fund upgrades for EV charging

34 Northern Australia Reinsurance Pool SCA (Qld)

Drew McKillican, Altogether Group

Thanks to our sponsors

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information, with the real estate agent saying one thing, the OC manager or building manager another,” Sharp said. “MIMOR removes any ambiguity by detailing all the information required for a stress-free move – right down to lift dimensions so you know if that oversized couch can make the move with you.” MIMOR’s calendar booking system avoids double ups and clearly outlines all the moving procedures, including timing requirements, lift access and parking information. Functionality extends to other integral building operations, including owners corporation rules, waste management, power and water utilities, storage facilities, evacuation plan and emergency contacts.

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Do Body Corporate approval for renovations have an expiry date? In 2017 we received approval to install a sunshade. The sunshade was damaged in a big storm. Our body corporate is refusing to allow us to replace the item, stating our approval has expired. Is this correct? In 2017 we received approval from our body corporate for a sunshade over our driveway. We installed a design sympathetic to the colours and aesthetic of our home and according to the covenants. The sunshade was damaged recently in a big storm. Our body corporate is refusing to allow us to replace the item. We’ve invested money and gone through the right channels, but we’ve been told our approval has expired. Can our body corporate restrict us from putting the shade up again?

Approval doesn’t usually come with a time limit. Approval doesn’t usually come with a time limit. A committee makes a decision and it might come with conditions attached to it. And that is that. One difference might be if the by-laws changed between when you first installed and now. On what basis are you being told you ‘aren’t allowed’? Do you have an actual decision stating that? Committees are meant to make reasonable decisions, which means they need to have a basis on which they decide things, not just arbitrarily deciding something. If there are no reasons given to you for the apparent ‘decision’ you might have grounds to challenge the decision.



Chris Irons | Strata Solve


R E M E D I A L R E PA I R S :

How owners can regain control Property owners, ensuring asset longevity is critical.


To regain control of remedial repairs requires informed

Following recent floods, a client experienced water

decision making, strategic planning, clear expectations,

damage to their property. Five carpeted rooms were

cost control measures and a strong partnership with

impacted — requiring water extraction and cleaning to

strata/body corporate managers. This is especially true

restore them back to their pre-loss condition. The client

following recent legislation in Victoria that addresses the

engaged the expertise of a restoration expert

procurement of services on behalf of owners.

for support.

The legislation supports owners through the provision of competitive pricing and terms in the daily running of a strata property. When universally adopted, this approach can be worth the time and investment to achieve

As is all too often the case in these situations, a reactive approach and the drive to respond resulted in the client being charged well above industry standard rates and additional charges including but not limited to:

positive outcomes from the very beginning.


Unwarranted project management fees

Regaining control goes beyond selecting the cheapest


Unnecessary storm loading costs


Double dipping of holiday loading


Inflated drying equipment charges

option from a handful of quotes. Strata repairs can be complex, with many factors to consider to ensure the challenges and underlying cause(s) are addressed. Taking the time to evaluate these factors will minimize the chance of re occurrence and ongoing issues or — in an emergency — mitigate further risk or damage to the property or an individual. Setting clear expectations and defining your objective is key. Repair objectives need to:

(included within their original hourly rates)

An after-services audit identified that this was a simple restoration job when process and best practices were applied to determine the actual costs associated with repairs. Significant savings are achieved when using

Be inclusive of all repairs.

industry knowledge of costs based on cubic meter rates,

Conform to statutory requirements.

appropriate allocation and distribution of equipment,

Provide warranty of guarantee.

quantification and application of necessary chemicals

Ensure extent and cost of works is balanced with the benefits

It is critical to define both your objective and extent of

and materials, and associated labor costs.






work required. Be clear in what you expect and outline your objective: •

You require repairs to be all inclusive

You need it to conform to statutory requirements

Your need a warranty of Guarantee

Extent & cost are balanced with the benefits





The initial quote only allowed for the installation of 181


x air movers, 62 dehumidifiers and 4 x Axial fans over

Larger and more complex jobs require a different

an undefined period of time. The review was able to

approach. For these situations, proactively engaging

identify that the available power load at the site would

experts can ensure proper management of and response

not support this approach and raised concerns around

to repairs and/or restoration requirements from the

secondary damage with potential mold growth.

beginning Cost and scope control measures are put in place and maintained for the duration of the works.

A drying regime, accompanied by the strip out of a component of wall linings led to a controlled, quantified

In the fit out stage of construction, vandals break into

and streamlined approach that ultimately resolved the

the complex of a strata building to destroy property and

repair and restoration aspects of the job — minimizing

turn on common area fire hydrants — causing water

risk, further damage and delay in handover.

damage to both building and contents, including floor coverings. Sedgwick was engaged to review an initial quote and proposed scope of works for the remedial repairs and restoration. A lack of detail and minimal







forensic information provided to substantiate the proposed works was identified. Following Sedgwick’s attendance to site, the engagement of a preferred panel supplier was provided with a defined scope covering all elements of restoration — from labor costs to equipment requirements and placement.



Defect reports & forensic engineering

Emergency make safe

Scope of works

Fire water damage restoration

Dilapidation & risk surveys

Leak detection

Dispute mediation and expert witness

Contamination response

Contractor procurement and cost validation

Building repairs

Construction management

Cost validation services

Capital Works Funds/Maintenance Plans

Digital Capability

1300 735 720

1300 654 599


Legislation or Australian Standards for body corporate pool water testing What are the requirements for testing pool water for a body corporate building? I’m looking for some direction from the legislation or are there Australian Standards? Most body corporate pools will have an appointed company that carries out testing and maintenance. Speak to your contractor and ask them what process they undertake. Queensland Health’s website – Pools, spas and other recreational water bodies states that: ‘There are no Queensland Government laws for water quality at public aquatic facilities (pools, spas, water parks etc) although, under the Public Health Act 2005, a public aquatic facility must not pose a public health risk.’ They have also produced extensive Water quality guidelines for public aquatic facilities.

The website also has a free risk assessment tool you can use to assess your pool as well as posters you can print around pool hygiene. The quality of the water could also be subject to council regulation. We are aware of situations where the council has mandated that a pool must be tested on a regular basis and records kept onsite. Specific regulations may vary from council to council, so you would probably need to contact your individual council about this. Certainly, if you had a major concern that had been raised and ignored, you could bring the issue to the council’s attention. Otherwise, most body corporate pools will have an appointed company that carries out testing and maintenance. Speak to your contractor and ask them what process they undertake. And, if you are concerned about the quality of the pool water, then you can raise that issue with the Committee – perhaps send through a motion if you are not a Committee member – or look at changing contractors if you are in a position to do so. READ MORE ON THIS TOPIC HERE


William Marquand | Tower Body Corporate


The difference between the duty to insure and the duty to maintain and repair common property

Who is responsible for cost of repairs to damage caused by a burst or leaking pipe behind a shower wall in a lot?

There is a strata insurance policy that the owner has an insurable interest in and they can make a claim.

If there is a burst or leaking pipe behind a shower wall in a lot and any resulting damage only affects that lot, is this the unit owner’s responsibility under their own insurance because the pipe work is entirely within the lot and services only that lot.

It is a common misconception in insurance that you need to understand firstly the difference between the duty to maintain and the duty to insure common property and what is and isn’t covered by insurance. An owner is responsible to maintain everything inside their lot, and possibly if there is damage that occurs from that, then legally they may be responsible for that damage. But you need to look at the fact that there is a strata insurance policy that the owner has an insurable interest in and can make a claim.

If the leak also causes damage to common property, is the owner responsible to repair the common property under their own insurance? Or if the common property is repairable under body corporate insurance, is the owner responsible for paying the body corporate excess? Where it is found that the leak only affects that lot, is the owner responsible for paying for the investigative work to locate the source of the leak? And is the owner responsible for all repairs unless it can be confirmed that the failing in the waterproofing membrane caused the leak? 12

So what would the strata insurance policy pay for? Keep in mind, anything that is a permanent fixture inside a lot is insured by strata insurance. It cannot be insured under any other policy, including contents.

In this instance, if the pipe in that lot solely services the lot and is inside the boundaries of the lot, it is the owner’s responsibility to maintain that pipe and the pipe itself won’t be covered by strata insurance. Also, in the majority of cases, the exploratory costs associated with finding the pipe won’t be covered by insurance. But the consequential water damage that comes from that claim, will be covered by strata insurance as will the damage to other property as well. Allow the owner to make a claim under insurance (I mentioned earlier that they do have an insurable interest in the policy so they can claim under the insurance) and anything that’s not covered by insurance should be considered the lot owner’s responsibility unless the property is owned by the body corporate.

Tyrone Shandiman | Strata Insurance Solutions



Experts in Body Corporate Law and Dispute Resolution

Land Access and Activity Notice (LAAN) – Your Rights Since we first raised this issue last year, we continue to see an increase in telecommunication providers seeking to access a body corporate scheme via a land access and activity notice (or LAAN) to:

inspect a scheme to assess the viability of installing certain telecommunications facilities (usually for internet networks); and / or

carry out works to install certain types of telecommunication facilities. (Telco Rights) In a growing trend the telecommunication providers are using LAANs to access body corporate land to undertake work that may go beyond the Telco Rights – for example installing infrastructure that is not actually a low-impact facility. It is important for body corporate committees, and body corporate managers, to understand that in certain circumstances the body corporate has a legal right to oppose the Telco Rights. In this article we discuss Telco Rights and the body corporate rights to object to a LAAN in more detail.

Telco Rights The Telecommunications Act 1997 (Cth) and the Telecommunications Code of Practice gives Telco Rights to telecommunication providers. Ordinarily Telco Rights do not need the consent of owners, occupiers or the body corporate. However, the Telco Rights only exist if: proper notice has been given to the body corporate through a LAAN; and if the LAAN relates to an installation, it only relates to installing “low-impact facilities”.

LAAN requirements The telecommunications provider issuing the LAAN must: specify the purpose of any inspection or work to be conducted; contain certain statements outlining compensation and the body corporate’s right to object; and give at least 10 business days’ notice for any work to be conducted (or 2 business days’ notice for any inspection).

General advice / by laws

Dispute resolution


Amalgamation /termination

Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation

Off plan (BMS / CMS)

Low-impact facilities For a LAAN relating to an installation, it is important that any proposed installation falls within the determination of a low-impact facility. Otherwise, the telecommunications provider does not have any Telco Rights. What amounts to a low-impact facility is determined by the Minister in the Telecommunications (Lowimpact Facilities) Determination 2018. Examples include temporary towers below a certain height.

Right to object Whilst a body corporate has a legal right to oppose the Telco Rights, any objection to a LAAN: can only be made on the basis of certain categories of reasons; and must be done within strict timeframes of receiving the LAAN. After making an objection the telecommunications provider then has a period to make a reasonable effort to resolve the objection by agreement. If agreement is reached, the telecommunications provider must then comply with that agreement. Failing agreement, the telecommunications provider must advise the body corporate whether they propose to change the activity or, if not, why they will continue unchanged. If the body corporate still objects, the telecommunications provider can raise the objection with the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman who will assess the merits of the LAAN, any objection and come to a conclusion about the proposed installation.

Yo u r B o d y C o r p o r a t e E x p e r t s

Compensation The Body Corporate is entitled to compensation in relation to financial loss or damage. This has been given a broad interpretation by the Courts.

What should a committee do? If a committee receives a LAAN it is important that it acts swiftly – in certain circumstances this can be as little as 2 business days after receiving a LAAN. If swift action is not taken, the body corporate may lose its right to object (and / or compensation), even if such an objection would be valid. Mahoneys regularly advises bodies corporate on LAANs, including their right to object and negotiate commercial outcomes with telecommunication providers.

General advice / by laws

Dispute resolution


Brisbane L 18, 167 Eagle Street Brisbane Qld 4000 07 3007 3777

Amalgamation /termination

Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation

Gold Coast L 2, 235 Varsity Parade Varsity Lakes Qld 4230 07 5562 2959

Off plan (BMS / CMS)

Acquiring common property for exclusive use I wish to acquire a small portion of common property attached to my duplex to use as a fenced area for my dog. The other owners in our complex of four units have no objections. What steps do I need to take? Obtain an exclusive use allocation over the common property that attaches to the lot. The best way of obtaining these rights is by obtaining an exclusive use allocation over the common property that attaches to the lot. Firstly, a motion needs to be prepared and considered at the general meeting. This motion must be a resolution without dissent meaning no one can vote against it. The motion must be clear as to the area being sought, the terms of the by-law and authorise a new CMS being prepared to record the exclusive use grant.


Secondly, if the motion passes, an exclusive use plan prepared by a cadastral surveyor needs to be prepared. Thirdly, a new CMS needs to be prepared which incorporates the new by-law, amendments to the CMS and the exclusive use plan. Finally, the CMS and exclusive use plan is lodged with the Titles Office for registration. If a resolution without dissent cannot be obtained, the options are to: 1. challenge this in the Commissioner’s Office; or 2. look for a right lesser than exclusive use (like a temporary licence which would only need a special resolution). I have assisted in preparing countless of these motions and new CMSs. If you would like any help in putting this together and submitting the motion to the body corporate, please let me know.


Todd Garsden | Mahoneys

the altogether academy Helping to educate and innovate for a better tomorrow. At Altogether, we’re a multi-utility service provider on a mission to make the world a brighter place. We’re passionate about creating sustainable communities. Leaders in the utility industry, we continuously lobby the government on matters to help improve customer protections. With imminent legislation changes on the way, we’re also well positioned to help Strata Managers and Body Corporates navigate their way through the new obligations and rights. That’s why we’re here to help with the Altogether Academy.

Altogether Academy is a program that will educate, empower, and support all strata managers, while covering education topics such as: • Energy fundamentals • Embedded networks • Sustainable technology such as electric vehicle charging capability • Utility data and metering • Government reform and utility regulation The program will give you the opportunity to learn from some of the energy industry’s most experienced voices, learn soft skills and take part in networking opportunities. Take control of your career, embrace Altogether Academy and talk to a Senior Energy Consultant today.


For more information, or visit

power. water. data


Cost effective solutions to fund upgrades for EV charging

We are investigating EV charging and solar for our building. What is the best way to structure the installation of infrastructure to come up with a cost effective solution? I am an owner in a strata that is billed for electricity via Altogether Solutions operating under the ‘Exemption Scheme’. We are investigating EV charging but have realised there is a lot more to this exercise e.g. smart load management.


Could Altogether Solutions (AS) setup something along the lines of a financial Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) to finance, pay interest and recover the costs of upgrading our building infrastructure to prepare for electric vehicle charging and solar in our building?

It’s best to work out what’s the lowest cost structure to put in place, depending on the community.

There are no types of arrangements that we don’t consider. We absolutely would want to work with a client that’s looking for an EV or solar type solution to help them find a solution that is tailor suited to that body corporate. An SPV is a very specific type of arrangement, and it may be the most cost effective arrangement but what we will always look to do is to work out what’s the lowest cost structure to put in place depending on the community.

Typically, the main input drivers to things like cost of installing EV infrastructure and existing buildings are really the building size. How many EV chargers they want, the existing infrastructure installation, whether that needs to be upgraded or not and of course, how big the carpark is. You can’t run an extension lead out, you’ve got to instal this additional infrastructure. So, it is dependant on the number of lots that are available. It is dependant on how many EV chargers they want, and dependant on what the current infrastructure is. That will dictate the cost. Once we know what the cost is, and as every site is very, very unique, we can work on some type of funding arrangement.

cost over a term from the users themselves. It’s always a user pays system. That’s always advantageous because user pays always gives you far more efficient outcomes. When the users paying for their infrastructure, there will


always use that infrastructure far more wisely. If the body corporate or an investor or owner, or a special levy has to be raised to pay for infrastructure, people’s usage tends to be a little bit more ad hoc, so you don’t always get the best commercial outcome.

Drew McKillican | Altogether Group

What we typically look to do is fund the infrastructure ourselves, but not through an SPV. What we would look to do is say you’ve got your electricity rates. There’s a delta between what the market is charging and what the cost is in an embedded network. We always aim to make sure the customer is getting the best possible deal and far lower than what they can get on the on the market. If we can take an amount of that delta, it could be a relatively small amount, and spread that over a period of time, essentially that can be used to fund these infrastructure upgrades. The reason that’s attractive to body corporates is because it means they don’t have to raise special levies. We will fund it, and we’ll recover that 19

Defects in Strata | GQS


Defects and building compliance in strata properties have been a hot topic all around the world. The financial hardship threatening circumstances it can create to lot Owners in a Strata property is something that can not be ignored. The bod regulations in QLD which came into effect in March 2021 have forced Bodies Corporate to at the very least consider the of an expert to identify defects. It is important to know as a body corporate, especially if your building is relatively new, obligations as a body corporate and your rights to recoup monies if defects are identified.

The Body Corporate under the BCCM Act has obligations to maintain common property in good condition, this means irre who caused the building defect the Body Corporate are obligated to take action and ensure any common property defect

First and foremost defects must be identified through an expert report prepared by qualified QBCC licenced building inspecto These defects could form part of the common property, exclusive use areas, within the internal areas of a lot or on the r Timely action is paramount to ensure the body corporate is not time barred from any potential recourse against the builder or ins

Once defects are identified the body corporate has options as to how the defect works are rectified and at who’s cost, in order they would be: 1.

The engagement of a Strata Lawyer to assist in the preparation of any proceedings against the Builder and advising the body corporate on its rights, obligations and options. “We cannot stress the importance of early intervention enough. Not only is early intervention needed to preserve the body corporate’s rights (which may be lost in their entirety after a limitation date) it: • will also identify defects before they deteriorate further and become more expensive to remediate; and • shows the body corporate is meeting its statutory obligations.’’ Todd Garsden, Partner at Mahoneys.


Contact the entity (Builder) who caused the defect and advise them of the issue and request them to rectify. To be armed with the correct documentation the Developer is obliged to provide the Body Corporate with the documents required so they are in a position to take action against the construction contract. The builder was originally engaged to complete the building without defects, if defects are identified they have breached the construction contract.

If no response is received or no commercial outcome (settlement) is agreed upon - proceedings can commence against the entity in question, usually first by making a claim to the Queensland Building and Construction Commission (QBCC).

Important to note claims to the QBCC must be made within: ◊

12 months of the body corporate becoming aware of the building defect; and either:

6 years and 6 months of the building work being completed for a building defect which relates to water ingress or one that adversely affects the structural integrity, health or safety of occupiers or the use of a building; or

12 months of the building work being completed for a building defect that is faulty or unsatisfactory because it does not meet a reasonable standard of construction or finish expected of a competent QBCC licence holder.

Important to also note that there may be a claim against the home warranty insurance scheme (run by the QBCC) however this is only available to buildings no more than 3 storeys high.

It is recommended that the Building Inspector and lawyer be engaged to prepare the application to the QBCC.

and even life dy corporate engagement , as to your

espective of ts are rectified.

ors – like us. roof. surance scheme.

If the application is accepted by the QBCC they will assess the defects independently. It is important to be aware that there could now be the Builder, QBCC and Body Corporate engaged in discussion as to the intricacies of the defects and as to who’s kitty the rectification costs will come out of. It is recommended that the Body Corporate engage the Building Inspector / Expert to represent them at any on-site meetings to ensure the body corporate understand what is happening and that the body corporate is represented by a licenced professional who understands the position of the Builder and QBCC as well as the body corporate’s best interests.

In summary; •

The body Corporate is obliged to maintain the common property of the scheme, this includes building defects.

A licenced professional inspector should be engaged to prepare an expert report pertaining to any defects.

If found, rectification of the defects should first be sought from the Builder (note typical QBCC timeframes should be used as strict guidelines and completing this exercise prior to 12 months after practical completion is recommended to ensure the greatest chance of nil financial penalty against the body corporate) and proceedings should commence against the construction contract.

Submit a complaint to the QBCC should the Builder not rectify or a commercial outcome (settlement) not have been agreed.

Ensure you know your rights and obligations throughout by engaging a licenced building inspector/building consultant and a Strata Lawyer.

Favourable outcome would be for the QBCC to direct the Builder to rectify defects threatening to suspend their building licence, or if the Builder is defunct, the QBCC to manage the rectification through the home warranty scheme (3 storeys or less). If a favourable outcome is still not achieved there may be an option to have the matter progressed through the courts based on the body corporate's rights which would require expert legal and further building consultancy advice.

1300 290 235

Standard Format Plan Maintenance and Repairs

In a Standard Format Plan, our block of garages have damage from consistent water ingress. There is no guttering on this building. Who is responsible for paying for these repairs? We are under a Standard Format Plan and have three garages in a row within our car park. These garages are separate to our townhouses and numbered accordingly for each townhouse with shared walls between. Two of the garages have consistent water ingress damage from rain events and one has a door that needs replacing. There is no guttering on this building. Who is responsible for paying for these repairs?

You should contact your body corporate manager to help determine responsibility with reference to the plan and by-laws.

William Marquand | Tower Body Corporate



In a standard format plan, the garage is usually part of the lot and lot owner responsibility. However, it is possible the garages could be separate from the lot and located on common property, presumably with exclusive use rights. Then, the body corporate would be responsible for the exterior and the owner the interior. As a first step you should contact your body corporate manager to help determine responsibility with reference to the plan and by-laws. After that you would need to work out the source of the problem and the requirements for rectification in order to allocate costs.


Calculating lift replacement provision in the sinking fund

We are going through a lift replacement costing $200,000 which hadn’t been provided for. How do we start saving for the next lift replacement in 25 years time? Can you check my calculations? Lift replacement provision in the sinking fund. We are going through lift replacement at our high rise after 25 years. The cost is $200,000, which had not been provided for. We solved our problem using saved funds for painting which was due to be done in 2027 plus a $2,000 levy for this year. We will replace the painting money over the next 5 years at an increased rate to cover the $275,000 costs. 24

How do we make sure we have enough funds for the next lift replacement in 2047 (25 years away)? My calculated cost of $200,000 (2022) at 3% CPI per year = $418,000 in 2047. This will start us at $8,400 next year, and end up with a contribution of $27,000 in 2047, giving us $400,000. I feel discussion around this philosophy might be warranted as there are lots of lifts to be replaced in the years ahead. How are other buildings managing this type of maintenance? Have I got my calculations right?

Commission a new maintenance report/ sinking fund and advise the consultant of this situation. They can work with you to set up the future maintenance so that the levies are as low but consistent as they can be. The cost to replace the lift in a scheme should always be factored into a maintenance plan. In most schemes it will be the largest expense if not, than one of the largest. You are pretty accurate with your timeline of replacement, although most lift technicians will say 15-20 years. This cost needs to be interjected into your current maintenance plan. Whilst the levies seem to be a shock to you now, it is only because you have not been allowing for the funding of the lift to date. You haven’t had that additional $200k in there to save up for, hence really, your current levies are far too low. Can I suggest that you commission a new maintenance report/ sinking fund and advise the consultant of this situation and they or we can work with you to set up the future maintenance so that the levies are as low but consistent as they can be.

Peter Berney & Dakota Panetta Solutions in Engineering



Installing CCTV on common property Do you need committee approval?

Can an owner fasten a CCTV camera to common property without the Committee’s permission? What if they refuse to remove the camera? Can an owner fasten a CCTV camera (recording both vision and sound), to common property without the Committee’s permission? If the answer is no, must the camera and sound equipment be removed? What can the committee do if they have followed the correct procedure, but the owner refuses to cooperate?


Any improvement to common property requires committee approval. Chris Irons, Strata Solve:

The answer is no. So when it comes to common property, an owner must seek approval to make what’s called an improvement to common property. The level of approval required is dependent upon the value of the work. But effectively, Frank, if it’s over $3,000 worth of improvement, it will go to a general meeting for approval.

Frank Higginson, Hynes Legal:

Even if it’s under $3,000, a committee can make a decision but it’s not obliged to. For something like that, it might choose to refer it to general meeting for approval.

The simplest analogy is any improvement to common property requires that. If I want to go paint the wall in the gazebo pink in common property, then I need to get committee approval for it. So no. In Queensland at least, you potentially would be off to the commissioner’s office for an order that it be removed. Although and again, it wouldn’t be legal to do it, it wouldn’t be the first time I’ve seen committee members or lot owners take the law into their own hands in the sense of just rip it down. That absolutely would happen too. Not that is a legal way to approach that particular issue. But that’s usually what happens because the Commission’s office will take 9 to 11 months to make a decision.

Frank Higginson | Hynes Legal

Chris Irons, Strata Solve:

One of the other options there, Frank, is that the owner could be invited to seek retrospective approval for the installation. In fact, that is typically one of the orders that comes out of the commissioner’s office. If the owner has not sought approval, then the owner can be asked to seek approval, and the committee or general meeting does have the power to do so retrospectively. I think this person is looking at the scenario where all those options have been exhausted and the owner refuses to either do anything about it or refuses to seek approval. You can seek an order from the commissioner’s office and yes, absolutely it can be ordered to be removed and replaced back to how it was, yes.


Chris Irons | Strata Solve




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Maintaining the Central Air Conditioner

Mould blooming onto the ceiling

We have mould coming from the central air conditioning unit vents. Who is responsible for maintenance of the building’s air conditioner? Our building has central air conditioning that feeds into each unit through a bulkhead. There is mould in front of each of the airconditioner vents blooming onto the ceiling. This mould seems to be coming out of the vents. Resident are unable to access the bulkhead. Is this a strata or a lot owner’s responsibility to resolve?

The by-laws for your site may well also ascribe responsibility for the upkeep of the system in one way or another so these should be checked. Responsibility here could be affected by a number of different factors. Principally, the type of scheme and the by-laws for the site. For the type of scheme, it is most likely to be a building format plan, although you should check this to be sure. If that is the case, and as per the BCCM website, then the body corporate is responsible for: •

utility infrastructure (like equipment, pipes and wiring) that is on common property, or in a boundary structure, or services more than 1 lot.

While the lot owner is responsible for: •

utility infrastructure (like equipment, pipes and wiring) that is within the boundaries of the lot and only services that lot; and

utility infrastructure (including equipment and associated wiring and pipes) that is on common property, if it only services that lot and is a hot water system, washing machine, clothes dryer, air-conditioner or similar equipment.

Otherwise, mould issues are a common source of dispute as it is often very difficult to identify the cause or the resolution. You may need to engage a mould specialist to advise on this… If you think there is going to be a difference of opinion about the responsibility then it is best to make sure you have evidence to present in support of your position first. If you can make a reasonable case then you should get a reasonable dialogue. What you want to avoid is a situation where you say to the body corporate that a matter is their responsibility without having any evidence of this. In that scenario, the body corporate can simply reply that it isn’t and the subsequent impasse can be quite difficult to get out of. READ MORE ON THIS TOPIC HERE

William Marquand | Tower Body Corporate

It depends on the setup, but it’s quite possible that a part of the system serves only your lot and would be the owner’s responsibility. The by-laws for your site may well also ascribe responsibility for the upkeep of the system in one way or another so these should be checked. You can ask your body corporate manager for a copy of the bylaws and they can also assist with helping you identify if the issue is owners or body corporate responsibility.


How often do I have to get solar panels checked?

I’ve been asked by the body corporate to have my solar panels inspected every year. Is this mandatory or can I say it isn’t reasonable? I have solar panels on the roof above my top floor apartment in Brisbane. Approval was given by the Body Corporate with the proviso that the panels get inspected regularly, but no actual time frame was listed. I have now been asked to have the panels inspected every year but I can’t find any QLD Legislation that makes it mandatory to do so. I have checked twice with our Strata Insurance company, and they say that regular inspection is OK.


They class this as being around every 3 years as long as there are not any obvious problems like leaf blockages etc, which we don’t have. Our roof gets an annual Safety Inspection and certification, and the solar panels are automatically checked out as part of that, including items such as anchor points. Do I also need to get my own inspections every year at the request of the Committee?


Michael Kleinschmidt | Stratum Legal

Talk to an expert, get some correspondence from them and flick it through to the committee. Now going back to that approval. At the end of the day, approval is a privilege, it’s not a right and so treat it like a privilege. Having solar there, even though you’ve spent the money, treat it like a privilege. In the absence of standards, talk to an expert, is what I usually do. A plumber is an expert. A solar installer can be an expert as well. An electrical engineer can be an expert. I know that, for example, you should be cleaning panels annually, because it impacts upon their efficiency and that varies based on where you are and whether or not you’re going to get salt or dust or all the other stuff. I’d start there.

If it was, for example, annually, which I think kind of feels right and that’s just a feeling it’s not based on any legal principle, what do you do? There are solar companies who will come in annually and do a safety check and clean and you can get a little bit of correspondence from them and flick it through to the committee. I like to get ahead of that stuff before it becomes a problem, establish a course of conduct. If seven years down the track, someone on the committee says that shouldn’t be there, it’s an eyesore. You’ve got seven years of history of doing that and then they turn around and say ‘I’ve found in the conditions, inspection should be done once every quarter’, for example. Well, you’ve got seven years of history of doing it your way and then all of a sudden some idiot saying it’s got to be done quarterly. Well, justify that. Say “I’ve got my justification. Where’s yours?” 31

We have had a growing number of camper vans in our underground car park, all with gas bottles attached. Is this a potentially hazardous situation and should the body corporate require residents to store gas bottles offsite? A number of camper vans have appeared in the car park recently and a couple of dual cab utes with a sleeping pod on the back. Both types of vehicles have one or two 9kg gas bottles attached. With LPG being flammable and also being one and a half times heavier than air and the apartment car park being underground, I’m concerned that if there was a leak, gas would pool in the lower area creating a hazardous situation. Should the Body Corporate Committee required residents to store gas bottles offsite?

If there is adequate ventilation and the required safety certificates are in place then Owners will be afforded considerable protection. There are several issues to consider with respect to the questions below: • Is there a ventilation system in the basement and is it activated via sensors or is it on a time clock?


Are gas cylinders on camper vans a potential hazard in underground car parks? • If present is the ventilation system regularly tested? • If no ventilation system is present, is the natural ventilation unimpeded? • Gas bottles are pressure vessels that are required to be pressure tested every 10 years, the date of manufacture/ pressure testing is marked on the collar of the gas bottle. • The installation of gas bottles on caravans, camper trailers and RVs must meet certain safety standards

Caravan, camper trailer and RV manufacturers (QLD)

• locating electrical equipment that has the potential to be an ignition source away from the LP gas cylinder locations • providing adequate and permanent ventilation to any space that contains, or that may contain an gas appliance • designing cabinetry and exhaust/range hood locations to ensure clearances to gas burners • locating the flue/exhaust terminal of any installed gas appliance so it will discharge outside any annex or attached enclosure;

Manufacturers of caravans, camper trailers and RVs should ensure the gas system designed for their vehicle complies with all requirements of (AS/NZS5601.2).

• installing bayonet and quick connect devices to the gas system outside any area that may be enclosed by the future fitment of an annex or other enclosure

Designers of caravans, camper trailers and RVs should, in consultation with a licensed gas installer, give specific consideration to the following:

• ensuring any gas appliance that connected to the gas system, or uses gas from the vehicle gas system includes a flame safeguard

system.( a Thermocouple system that stops the flow of gas if the flame goes out for any reason preventing the chance of a gas fire). Note: Including appliances connected by a bayonet or quick connect device; for example, domestic barbeques provided as optional extras, whether stored or affixed to the vehicle. • Stowed gas appliances must have a means of isolation to prevent the flow of gas when the appliance is stowed. It is noted that disconnection of a bayonet fitting is considered a suitable isolation, but additional shut-off features are encouraged. In addition, manufacturers must engage an appropriately qualified, experienced and licensed gas installer to undertake the installation of the gas system.

On completion of the installation, the installer is required to provide a certificate confirming compliance. It is also worth noting that the following also applies: • any LP gas cylinder, a spare or used for a portable or mobile appliance must be stored and secured as if it was part of the vehicle gas system • The new owner of a used or second-hand caravan must be provided with a gas compliance certificate for the gas system prior to taking ownership. The certificate must be less than three months old.


• any portable or mobile appliance connected to a caravan, camper trailer or recreational vehicle gas system for use is considered to be part of the vehicle gas system. If there is adequate ventilation and the required safety certificates are in place then Owners will be afforded considerable protection, especially as the quantities present are relatively small and consistent with household (not commercial use). It would be of benefit to ensure where possible that the vehicles are parked such that the gas bottles are not exposed to impact from other vehicles and that the vehicles are not to be permanently parked in the basement areas.

QIA Group





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Would you like your Strata Story featured in the next edition of The QLD Strata Magazine? We want to share your strata stories with the LookUpStrata community. Some examples of what you may wish to share: • A project you have implemented in your complex that has made a positive impact (e.g a process, community building activities, parking procedure, ect) • Do you have a funny story to share about strata living? • Have you received a response back from one of the LookUpStrata professionals • that has positively impacted you or your complex? • Have you made a change to improve sustainability? (e.g installed solar, swapped over to LED lighting, reduced waste?) • You could even share a photo of the view from you balcony or catching up with neighbours for a coffee. If you would like to share your strata scheme story with the LookUpStrata community, Please send your story and photos to:

Disclaimer: If you send your strata story to, you are agreeing to have your story published on the LookUpStrata platform or via social media. We must have written permission from each individual shown in the photo. Submissions may be refused for any reason.


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