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StrataCall Helping with your lot in life

Pets - Can I or Can’t I? Meet Meriton Boss Harry Triguboff Victoria Park: The New Urban Australia

Meet Sydney’s Strata Experts

The new experts in strata. Industry- leading strata solutions.

The strata industry is constantly evolving, so it’s important to stay ahead. With the Westpac Strata Management Solution, you can maintain an expert grasp on the unique challenges and opportunities of the strata industry. Switch today and enjoy: • End-to-end technology with flexibility to support integration with recognised strata management software packages. • A wide range of solutions for managing payables and receivables. • Access to strata roll financing to grow your business. • Experienced and dedicated Relationship Managers to support your strata needs.

Speak to a Relationship Manager and switch today. Call 1300 362 409 Visit Australia’s First Bank for Strata. Things you should know: Eligibility criteria, conditions, fees and charges apply. Application for finance will be subject to Westpac’s lending criteria. Full terms and conditions and details on fees are available on request. © 2012 Westpac Banking Corporation ABN 33 007 457 141 AFSL and Australian credit licence 233714. WRA0476_FP_SC


Strata. Behind that one little word is a whole lot of grunt. It is the lifestyle choice of the 21st Century. We welcome you to our first edition of StrataCall. If you have picked up this magazine, you probably live in an apartment, will be living in an apartment or you are on the executive committee of your building. For such a huge community there is little education, information and help for executive committees let alone individual lot owners. So where do they turn to for help? In most circumstances it will be the same person who is looking after hundreds of other owners in the very same position – their strata manager. With more independent education, information and interactivity, pressure can be taken off the strata managers allowing them to fulfill their appointed role – which is not that of an educator. StrataCall will better help lot owners understand strata, what is happening in strata, who is the who’s who plus we will have some great stories on interior design, maintenance, storage tips, trades and services, renovations, appliances, gardens and pets. We have profiles, Q&As and you’ll meet some extraordinary people. After working in property for 30 years which included time as property editor for two major publications, I worked in the strata industry before leaving to launch a lot owner’s website . According to web marketing company Alexa, it is now the leading strata website in Australia. After meeting my StrataCall co-director Tracey Brown, we decided, thanks to her expertise in printing and publishing, to produce a strata magazine. That brings us to where we are today. Tracey and I hope you will enjoy the magazine and look forward to our next issue in March. We take this opportunity to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and safe and Happy New Year. Best Wishes Cindy & Tracey




Cindy Martin

Publishing Director

Tracey Brown

Chief Designer

Emma Cardwell

PA to Directors

Melissa Brown

Production Manager

Troy Meli

Summer 2012/13 Staff Reporter

Claire Sundin

Production Assistant

Ferdinand Kumentas


Mike Potter


Published by StrataCall Pty Ltd


4.07 / 29-31 Lexington Drive Bella Vista NSW 2153

Mailing Address

PO Box 8075 Baulkham Hills NSW 2153


1300 563 053


02 8867 3599

Email ABN 98 524 122 979

Front Cover - Latitude Penthouse see page 79-81.



Contents 8-11

Meriton Boss - Harry Triguboff


Green Loving


Small Steps to Greener Living


Property Leader John McGrath


Property Observer


Insurance for Strata


4 Reasons To Have Your Strata Plan Audited


Pets vs Owners


How Healthy Is Your Home?


Dealing With A Bully In Your Building


The Importance of Using Licensed Tradies


Strata Q&A


Common Property


Keeping Kids Safe


Brett Kelly


Strata Made Easy - Westpac


Make A Small Bathroom Look Bigger


Kitchen Lighting Schemes




Wentworth Point


Strata 101


Difference In Painting Quotes


Victoria Park


Pet Peeve With Dr. Robert Zammit


Eliminating Mould & Mildew


Welcome A House Guest


Bedroom Storage Solutions


The Castlereagh - Sydney


Transforming Dull Walls


Do I Need An Onsite Manager?


Maximise The Sense Of Space In Your Home


Taking Your Community Online


How to choose your Strata Company? Look beyond the basic services. Expect Guidance, Support & Delivery Efficient strata management includes a lot more than secretariat, compliance and maintenance. Service, skills, experience and expertise need to combine to offer you strata solutions that work.

Technology that works for you A professional strata company employs proprietary systems developed specifically for strata to ensure strata managers deliver high service to their clients.

A to Z of Strata Services it’s about your peace of mind A good strata company should look after all your strata needs. • • • • • •

Secretarial & Administration Compliance Insurance Maintenance Development Consultancy Legal & By-laws

Additional Services • Community Hub - secure online portal providing clients access to their building details and levy payment options • Community Select - an online directory showcasing professional & trade service providers in the property industry • Community After Hours – after hours emergency call centre service to answer maintenance issues after business hours • Community Utilities - a service that is able to deliver significant cost savings on electricity, gas and water for strata and community title schemes

Are you getting the most out of your strata management company? For more information, visit

What is Community Hub? Community Hub is a secure online portal which offers registered users the convenience to view full details of their building administration and finances, pay levies and update their details any time, from any where. BCS, making things easier for its clients.

Enhancing Community Living

Simple strata solutions... for simple pleasures of life.

At BCS Strata Management, we guide you with our experience, support you with our technology and work with you to deliver the right solutions every time. While the result of our professional approach and commitment can be seen in efficient strata management, probably the best reward is seeing our clients and their families enjoy their lifestyle. Let BCS look after your strata management needs.

Contact us now for an obligation free enquiry on 1300 184 608 or

w w w. b c s s m . c o m . a u

Enhancing Community Living

By Cindy Martin PhotograPhy Joanna davidson



MEET MERITON BOSS HARRY TRIGUBOFF In our exclusive interview with Harry Triguboff he explains that strata living is the lifestyle of the future.

“Apartment living is definitely the lifestyle of the 21st Century. It is essential that lot owners understand how strata works so they can live comfortably in their environment and in harmony with their neighbours. We now have our own strata company to ensure this happens. There is no one who knows better how buildings should be maintained than those who build them from the ground up.” - Harry Triguboff

who cannot see the forest for the trees,” he said.

Often criticized for being bullish when the majority is bearish Meriton boss, Harry Triguboff is proof that the majority does not always rule. When it comes to apartments he is the undisputed king and his confidence in the apartment market is legendary.

“I am saddened to see many in the industry struggling because of the economic downturn,” Mr Triguboff said.

Is he controversial? Of course. He shocked a nation by suggesting trees should be traded for apartments. But, years on nothing has changed and he is far from regretting those words.

“Trying to grow too fast and carry huge debt is OK when the banks are not nervous; but, once they start pulling in the purse strings, it takes very little for the whole deck of cards to come tumbling down,” he said.

“Here in Australia, we are facing our greatest ever housing shortage,” Mr Triguboff said. “The only way to rectify this problem and for a crisis to be averted, is to build more and we must do this now. “We have a massive shortage of properties and with the increase in demand by renters and owner occupiers, that number will only increase with time. “It takes many years to build and complete housing and we cannot afford to wait. We need to be looking at the big picture and we need more housing now, however, there are many

There is no doubt that even in this economically challenged time, Harry Triguboff is out front leading the charge in the property arena. But as he and his Meriton brand continue to rise from the ashes of the burnt property industry, the doyen of the development game is far from revelling in other’s misfortune.

“I have a great deal of respect for other developers and I am sorry for their problems.

And you would think a developer in Harry Triguboff’s position would be happy he carries absolutely no debt. Not so. “I wish I did carry debt,” he said. “That would be a sign that approvals are going through, land is becoming available and I am in a position to build. “If you ever hear I am carrying debt, it will be very good news for the property market.” And it is this attitude that sees Meriton hold a very loyal client base. As much as he would like you to believe he StrataCall



doesn’t care, he cares a great deal what happens to those who invest in his product. Of course there are stories about his ferocious temper and his penchant for colourful language - but what really matters is that Harry Triguboff always takes charge. There is very little that happens at Meriton that he doesn’t have a say about, in fact nothing at all. And if anything should happen to reflect negatively on the Meriton product… be assured that the devil is wearing Armani – not Prada. “If they do it right, and get it right the first time, I don’t have to yell. These days, fortunately, I yell a lot less so that must be a very good sign,” Mr Triguboff said.

to our early projects. If they had evolved past the three storey walk-ups Meriton built 30 years ago they might better appreciate our transformation.” he said. The first building to prove that Meriton was focused on aesthetics, quality and with leaving an architectural legacy was World Tower in Liverpool Street, Sydney. “World Tower showed what we are capable of. It set a benchmark. And since then we have raised our standards even higher,” Mr Triguboff said. “While we do not have enough, we still do have new buildings under construction including the Macquarie Residences at Macquarie Park. That is more like an nature escape than an urban development,” he said.

“But definitely I must yell more at the councils.” Aside from the council’s slow process in granting approvals, unfair criticism also tends to anger him. “The property market in 2012 is far more sophisticated than the property market 30 years ago, and Meriton have grown to meet the demands,” he said. “As an example, thirty years ago we used in-house architects and now we use the best in Australia so our buildings are now masterpieces of structural engineering and they are ascetically quite magnificent. “It is very annoying that some media continue to refer

Macquarie Residences 10


But it is obvious Triguboff still saves his softest spot for the iconic landmark building that houses his empire’s head office, Merition Tower in Geroge Street, Sydney. Designed by Harry Seidler and Associates, the design of its foyer was the last project Seidler worked on before his death. “It took a very long time for Harry (Seidler) and me to get together on a project. I always had very great respect for his work,” Mr Triguboff said. Harry Triguboff and Harry Seidler arrived in Australia within a year of each other. Harry Triguboff arrived from China in 1947, and Harry Seidler from Vienna in 1948. In 1961 when Harry Triguboff became an

VSQ North - Zetland


Australian citizen, Harry Seidler was working on the first of his true landmark buildings, Australia Square.

“To manage common areas of a building properly, you need to know it from the ground up.

“I knew one day we would work on something together,” Mr Triguboff said.

“This way, if there is a problem it can be fixed faster and better.

“It wasn’t to happen until I was 72 and he was 82, but I am very pleased I had that opportunity.”

“Of course I don’t need to do it. I don’t do it for the money and I don’t need the money, but when buyers show me loyalty I like to reciprocate and do everything to help protect their investment,” he said.

And now Meriton continues to move forward. In fact, next year when Harry celebrates his 80th birthday, Meriton will celebrate its 50th birthday. “I still believe that bricks and mortar are the strongest investment. Of course I dabbled in the stock market but it is very unpredictable,” Mr Triguboff said. “Investing in property is simpler, safer and far more straightforward and logical.

And unlike some of our politicians, Harry Triguboff has a very clear vision of where Australia should be headed. “There are two things that can greatly improve our economy. They are immigration and housing,” Mr Triguboff said. “I am passionate about both.”

“This is definitely a perfect time to buy for first homeowners and investors alike and a property purchase is really a very easy equation.” And still, every day, Harry Triguboff at 79 years of age with a $4.6 billion fortune continues to front up to work. And every day there is a new initiative. One of the latest is bringing strata management in house.

“We are a very great country and a lucky country but we have hard work ahead. If I can help make a difference, which I believe I can, then my place is behind this desk. “I had intended to give up driving when I turn 80 but I will definitely continue to drive our economy forward long after that. This is not work to me, this is a passion and retirement is not an option,” he said.

“Who knows more about the buildings than we do?” Mr Triguboff asked.

Soleil - Brisbane StrataCall



GREEN LOVING Television buffs will remember the actor Lorne Greene, who played patriarch Ben Cartwright in the western series Bonanza, where each week it seemed he had to extricate one or more of his three sons from trouble. If one Sydney company has anything to do with it, the name Lawn Green will become equally well known for trouble-shooting of a different kind.

By Barry Hyland No-one knows if Bonanza’s fictional 600,000-acre cattle ranch The Ponderosa had a weed problem, but if it did Gerry Faehrmann reckons he could have remedied it. You see, Gerry is the owner of Lawn Green Pty Ltd, which specialises in waterless weed and feed lawn care programs. Lawn Green guarantees to be able to: turn tired old grass into beautiful, lush, green, weed-free lawns in four to six weeks.”

educated about effective water use, particularly in the care of their lawns. “Generally, lawn and turf grasses have different water needs than garden plants. Lawns require heavy but infrequent watering, whereas garden plants generally need more regular but lighter watering.

Now that’s a transformation everyone with a property would be keen to see.

“We tell our clients that lawns only need be watered in extreme dry conditions, say once or twice a week in summer and once a month in winter if it doesn’t rain. Lawns only require heavy, but infrequent, watering.

“There are more than 180 different weeds, 30 lawn insect pests and 20 diseases that can damage your lawn. Yet, you only need one lawn expert,” says Gerry confidently.

“With heavy watering the moisture travels deep into the soil profile, allowing the turf grass roots to establish to a depth of 200-300mm. So, with deep root growth, the turf grass becomes drought-tolerant.

“Our wee-free success is achieved by using a granular fertilizer product that is coated with a preemergent herbicide. The fertiliser naturally greens the lawn and the herbicide coating goes into the soil and stops weed seeds from germinating.”

“As the heavy but infrequent watering is already mimicked by the rainfall, there is no need to water the lawns....

Gerry says his service works well for all lawns, including kikuyu, couch, durban, zoysia and buffalo. Amazingly, he claims his lawn care system requires no watering. “With the introduction of water restrictions and an increased awareness of water shortages, it is apparent that people have not been clearly 12


“So roll that hose up, sit back and just enjoy your greener, weed-free lawn!” Gerry proclaims. Gerry’s website is packed with great tips and special offers, such as a free report on “The 5 Secrets To A Great Looking Lawn”. Lawn Green can be contacted on 1300 557 472, or


SMALL STEPS TO GREENER LIVING Having witnessed some of the devastation caused by the extreme weather conditions this year, many of us have turned our thoughts to climate change and how we can make a difference in our own lives to reduce our energy consumption. Strata managers and residents can unite to make a real impact on their carbon footprint by reducing electricity use in individual apartments and residential blocks. With clean and green energy solutions becoming more accessible, and new technologies being developed, strata managers and owners corporations’ can drive change and use their initiative to unite all their residents to do their bit for the environment. This can be kick started with simple changes like sorting rubbish out and making recycling simple and accessible, allowing washing to dry on balconies (instead of using the dryer), or putting efficient lighting in public areas. As well as some of the bigger measures that owners corporations’ can implement to green their building, residents can individually make a big difference too by making small changes in their own every day habits. Small steps can result in big reduction of energy usage over time, aiding the environment with the added bonus of saving a few extra dollars too: Top tips for everyday energy saving: l l

l l l l l


Is your water too hot? Your cylinder thermostat should be set at 60°C/140°F. Close your curtains at dusk to stop cool air or heat escaping through the windows and check for draughts around windows and doors. Always turn off the lights when you leave a room. Don't leave appliances on standby and remember not to leave laptops and mobile phones on charge unnecessarily. If possible, fill up the washing machine, tumble dryer or dishwasher: one full load uses less energy than two half loads. Only boil as much water as you need for your morning coffee or afternoon tea A dripping hot water tap wastes energy and in one week wastes enough hot water to fill half a bath, so fix leaking taps and make sure they're fully turned off! Use energy saving light-bulbs. They last up to 10 times longer than ordinary bulbs.

By BCS StrataCall


The people people.

People, the biggest part of any Strata. People, the biggest part of any Strata.

Membership and sponsors of:

7/09/12 10:07 AM

The Strata Management Company that Puts People First Effectively managing your property can often be a complicated process, and more often than not it requires consistent guidance from industry experts. When dealing with ever-changing legislation, living spaces and personal investments, it’s important to have a strata management company that you can trust for transparency, credibility and, of course, sensitivity to your personal needs. Strata Choice offers strata management, building management committee and community title management to properties across New South Wales. Whether an existing or new property where highly specialised consultancy is required to assist in ensuring that the property is set up correctly from the beginning. Strata Choice is in a position to help.

Strata Management Building Management Committee Community Title Developer Consulting Client Education & Seminars Our Locations Strata Choice, CBD Suite 401, 45 Lime Street King Street Wharf, Sydney P 612 9249 9800 Strata Choice, Inner West Suite 301, 49 Queens Road Five Dock NSW 2046 P 612 8752 5600 Strata Choice, Lower North Shore 92 Chandos Street St Leonards NSW 2065 P 1300 322 213


John McGrath Australia’s Leader in Property By Cindy Martin Photography Joanna Davidson

John McGrath is a world leader in real estate. He took a dying service industry and professionalised it by sharing his methods with real estate agents throughout the world. His story began when he was just 19 years old. Even then he stood out. While other kids his age were going to the pub every night, falling home at 4.00am and dropping their clothes where they fell before grabbing a couple of hours sleep, McGrath’s approach to life was very different. He did not drink, went to bed early and rose early. He was impeccably groomed and mature beyond his years. He gave his clients an extraordinary experience with a level of service that was exemplary. He moved on to be the youngest and the most successful sales agent in the Eastern Suburbs at Goodhope Realty. Later McGrath bought the business and changed the name to McGrath Goodhope. He was changing the face of the real estate industry – but he had only just begun. That same year, a film was released in America - Field of Dreams. The number one passion in America is baseball and the motto to the story was “Build it an they will come.” John took Australia’s number one passion, real estate, and built his own field of dreams. In 1991 McGrath Goodhope became McGrath Partners Real Estate and with it came the birth of the best client service agency in Australia. McGrath Estate Agents currently has 44 offices located throughout Sydney, North Coast, Central Coast, Southern Highlands, South Coast, SE Queensland and now ACT, as part of its growing franchise network. In 2000, to celebrate the new millennium, McGrath changed the company name to McGrath Estate Agents. 16


McGrath Estate Agent’s impact on Sydney’s real estate market is largely due to its driving ambition to be the world’s most customer-centric real estate company. “A successful sales campaign is greatly affected by how a property is marketed and that marketing plan includes how the agent services their client,” John said. “Whether you sell by auction, expressions of interest or private treaty, it is how you market the a property that counts most. “It makes a huge difference to the property if you get professional photos taken, professional copywriting and you make your property as attractive as possible. “If you auction your property, your auctioneer can also add value to the sales outcome. It really is a team effort and our job is to make sure you get the best possible service and your home is promoted in the best possible light.” Real Estate is what John does best but as far as strata goes, he says he leaves that up to the experts in that field. “Although strata management is part of the property industry, it is a very specialised area,” John said. “I personally don’t think you can concentrate on real estate and strata management, it is either one or the other. “There are so many excellent professionals in the strata industry it is better to leave it up to those who do it best.” So McGrath concentrates on the property market and shares his experience and insights through the McGrath Report. “Despite the GST bring challenging times, we can say


with certainty that the Australian residential property market has shone as an asset class amongst it s peers,” McGrath said. So, what is it that kept us in such good shape whilst the rest of the world suffered far greater falls? “I think there are a few key things that worked for us,” John said. “A strong banking environment left us with far less subprime carnage than elsewhere and the banks never stopped lending to qualified buyers during the GFC. A big tick for the Aussie banks. “A low interest rate environment provided us the tools we needed to reduce pressure on existing borrowers and encourage others, particularly first home buyers and investors into the residential property market.

“Government incentives were highly successful in attracting first home-buyers into the market during the early stages of the GFC. In the past year alone, almost 30,000 First Home Buyer Grants were processed in NSW. “A housing shortage around the country meant there was a reasonable balance between supply and demand, so as demand reduced it was less noticeable because we were in a period of artificially low supply. “Low unemployment coupled with significantly lower interest rates, meant that many people who retained their jobs were actually better off than they were preGFC,” he said. So where from here for those of you buying an apartment as an owner occupier or investor? John can give you some really good advice. Check out the McGrath Report at




Professionals In Strata Management Established in 1977 by Ray Bright and Phillip Duggan, Bright & Duggan is one of the oldest, largest and most respected strata management companies in NSW. A privately owned company, Bright & Duggan now employs over 50 people and manages in excess of 750 strata & community title schemes ranging in size from two to over 1000 lots, geographically spread throughout the Sydney metropolitan area. Our corporate identity is based very much on the traditional family values of treating all individuals with respect, dignity and courtesy. We strive to make our working environment welcoming & friendly so that all staff enjoy their work and thus give you, our clients, the best customer service possible. We are a family company viewing our staff and clients as an extended family. With 25,000 owners, we pride ourselves on being both large enough to give you the most up to date professional service and at the same time small enough to care for your individual needs. Our culture is based on the premise of delivering professional, dynamic and innovative service by working with integrity, team spirit, a sense of wholeness and cooperation amongst outselves! Over the years, B&D have established a reputation for innovation and leadership in the strata industry and have enjoyed an enviable position as a market leader & employer of choice. We are passionate about 18


delivering customer service excellence in strata & community title management. Indeed, B&D is the first and only strata & community management company in Australia to receive CSIA (Customer Service Institute of Australia) certification which means adherence to strict international standards of customer service. In 2009, B&D was highly commended in the small business category and Adrian Emery was recognised as customer service CEO of the year against many large national corporation contenders. Both of these awards testify to the commitment of B&D to understanding and meeting the needs of astute owners in today's complex strata world. Our promise is that we have assembled an elite team of strata professionals to provide you with the ultimate in advice and service enabling you to run your scheme effortlessly, efficiently, and successfully! We are committed to achieving a high level of professional excellence by embracing and using the latest technology available combined with good old-fashioned friendly and personal service. We are constantly investing in new hardware and software that will facilitate this progress. We are continually experimenting with new ways to improve our performance and are always eager to receive constructive feedback from our clients as to how we can lift our game recognising that it is still personal


attention to detail & an ability to meet & exceed customers’ expectations that is the recipe for success. Chris Duggan is the New Business Director at leading strata company Bright & Duggan. Chris has been involved in property development and strata management for over 12 years and is the current senior vice president of Strata Community Australia. With a degree in Property Economics he is also an active member of the Environmental Best Practice Working Group in Strata and sits on the legislative review panels across a range of current issues affecting the industry. So what is the Bright and Duggan difference? "Our difference is definitely total commitment to our lot owners and customers," Chris said. "Anyone who is involved in strata management whether lot owners, executive committees or developers are acutely aware that communication is often an issue. Bright & Duggan are recognised as pioneers in the implementation of new technology systems which have principally been developed in-house. "We have a platform that provides managers with more time to deal with issues within the Owners Corporation as they arise and develop core client relationships, rather than back of house clerical and administration tasks," he said. Bright & Duggan have secure online facilities available 24 hours a day to access strata plan accounting information for all lot owners within a scheme to keep abreast of the latest status of the strata plan accounts and budgets as well as other documents such as

agendas and minutes of meetings. These systems and expertise also extend to a demonstrated understanding and proven ability to operate market leading computer accounting software for financial reporting and budget preparation for some of the most complex schemes in Australia. "I think you could say that Bright & Duggan have real experience," Chris said. "We have a demonstrated ability based on a proven 33 year track record and over 150 years combined practical strata management experience. This includes managing simple and complex sites from two lots to over 1000 lots that have multiple member strata schemes and shared services," he said. Chris also sees great value in owner interaction and education. "At Bright & Duggan all owners are valued customers and owner education and communication is the foundation of honest, transperent and proactive management," Chris said. "B&D firmly believe that a well run strata scheme is based on a successful and collaborative partnership between a strong executive committee and an efficient strata manager. A partnership based on mutual respect, understanding and communication. "We believe that a partnership with Bright & Duggan can provide the working relationship required for a successful strata community," he said. StrataCall



For All Your Property News

When we talk about strata and unit living, the majority who buy in apartments have an obvious interest in real estate generally. As real estate leader, John McGrath would say, you can’t be everything to everybody so while we specialise in strata at StrataCall, we also recognise the need to cover all real estate news. That unfortunately we can’t do, especially when we couldn’t do it better than au Property Observer is a source of independent news and information for property investors and astute buyers, so they can make informed property investment decisions. The site is published by Private Media, an internet publishing company that is owned by some of Australia's most experienced media practitioners including Eric Beecher, John Addis, Chong and James Thomson. 20


Property Observer was co-founded by Jonathan Chancellor “I have been writing about property for more than 25 years, and I've learnt that getting passionate about property is easy. Getting it right is trickier. Property Observer is property central, providing the essential news and analysis on the ins and outs of property. We cover the capital cities, up and down the coast, and inland to the regional towns and the bush. We offer plenty of authoritative coverage about the homes we live in and the investments that top up our incomes. Property Observer showcases the best houses and apartments and all the big-name buyers and sellers. We keep a watchful eye on new developments, and the plush over55 developments that seek out the growing band of empty nesters. Property Observer captures the changing seasons – we write about

snow homes, vineyards, fishing lodges, marinas and even the occasional beach bathing box. We aim to be of interest to the owneroccupier and the investor, given that population and investment funds are more fluid than ever. The website offers wisdom on winning ways with property commentary from key economic and industry practitioners. We won’t overlook the property fundamentals, conveyancing clues, legal rulings and tax advice. It's not just about bricks and mortar, as Property Observer will personalise property with interviews of the movers and shakers. We want our readers to get wisdom, not clichés. And that way we’ll all be the wealthier.”



Insurance For Strata

With 3.5 million Australians now living and working in strata-titled schemes the question of 'who owns what?' has never been more relevant. The importance of this seemingly straightforward question is often not that well understood, and it's because the answer is not a simple one. Michael Milligan of CHU, Australia's largest strata insurance specialist, explains why.


The trend towards higher density living continues unabated across all States with empty-nesters leading the charge into ‘apartment style living’. It’s now estimated that in Sydney alone, a quarter of the population lives in unit style accommodation so it’s a pretty safe bet that the denser urban living we see today is here to stay.

Management Act 1996 and it is the responsibility of the Owners Corporation to insure the building on behalf of all its members i.e. Lot Owners. However, a subdivision under the Community Land Development Act 1989 will fall under the Community Land Management Act 1989 limiting the responsibility of the Association to only insure association property and not that of the Lot Owner.

Of course moving from a freestanding house on a typical quarter acre block with relatively few restrictions into an apartment with ‘community style’ living and plenty of rules and by-laws requires some practical and personal adjustment. And this adjustment applies particularly to insurance. Unlike purchasing your car or home insurance, which is a relatively straightforward matter, when it comes to insuring the unit or lot that you own there are a myriad of things that you need to understand - all of which adds to the intrigue of strata living.

In Queensland however, you’ll find that under the Body Corporate and Community Management Act 1997 section 189 refers to the Regulation module that will govern the Scheme and will include the insurance obligations of the Body Corporate. The standard module under the Regulations states that the Body Corporate must insure the common property and body corporate assets unless the scheme has one or more lots which are free standing buildings where there are no common walls and that have been created under a standard format plan of subdivision. The Body Corporate may in such a situation enter into a voluntary scheme with all Lot Owners to insure collectively. However, if it does not, the Lot Owner is not only responsible for their own insurances but they will also need to insure any improvements they subsequently make that is on common property.

THE RULES For starters, if you are a lot owner, you need to get some understanding on the whole concept of who is responsible for ‘common property’ versus ‘personal property’. The basic distinction here is between a legal body and association of people who have certain obligations under the law for the assets owned by a number of people’, versus an individual’s obligations for their own, personal assets. This then introduces some industry specific terminology like ‘the body corporate’ or ‘owners corporation’ or ‘community associations’ or ‘community title’ and very soon, an extended vocabulary is acquired that helps with understanding the nuances of what needs insuring and by whom, when dealing with strata. So when it comes to Strata there are some very specific rules as to who is responsible for what and this is defined by the relevant State or Territory based legislation. The subject of this article will centre on the insurance requirements where the Owners Corporation, Body Corporate, Strata Company or similar entity as referred to in the respective Acts is responsible for the insurances and we will refer to these entities collectively as the Body Corporate. WHERE IS THE PROPERTY? According to Michael Milligan, National Underwriting Manager at CHU, the first thing to establish as a lot owner is “What does the State or Territory legislation say about the property I am buying ?” as this will set out the requirements that govern your property. For example, in NSW there are fundamentally two types of subdivisions; Schemes and Community Title arrangements. A Strata Scheme that is registered as a Strata Plan is subject to the Strata Schemes

WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR INSURANCE? As we’ve read, each State has its own legislation and this means as the Lot Owner you need to either have some understanding of your State legislation and its effect on your property, or refer to strata experts who can advise you. This is one reason why managing agents are often appointed as scheme managers. They hold a wealth of practical experience and industry knowledge and are viewed as the ‘trusted advisor’ on a range of strata related management matters. Strata managing agents, for their part, are often appointed to act as ‘Authorised Representatives’ of strata insurance specialists, with the authority to provide general advice. The insurance policy for the Body Corporate will extend to protect the ‘insured property’ as defined under the State Acts. However, the interest of the Lot Owner as owner and/or occupier of a particular lot is an individual and separate issue. Once you establish who is responsible for insuring specific parts of your building the next step is to understand what is defined as the ‘building’ under the relevant Act. Critically here, the definition as to what is covered as an insurable asset is different to what is defined as an asset that must be maintained by the Body Corporate. UNDERSTANDING INSURANCE VERSUS MAINTENANCE The principle of insurance cover is to protect the insured parties from a “sudden and unforeseen event”. This is not to be confused with maintenance. An insurance StrataCall



policy will not cover you should the damage be caused through lack of maintenance to the property. For example you will find that insurance will generally not cover you for the unblocking of pipes by invasion of tree roots as this is a maintenance issue and no damage to the property has been caused. However, should the blockage of a water pipe result in water escaping and causing damage to the property this would be deemed to be within the principle of sudden and unforeseen damage to insured property. Another area of confusion arises when the Lot Owner fails to appreciate that although certain fixtures and fittings within the Lot will be covered by the insurances of the Body Corporate, those same items will remain the responsibility of the Lot Owner to repair and maintain. This will also include any plumbing, electrical and other services if they only service that particular lot. To demonstrate this if we look at a typical hot water service within a lot it would be appropriate to consider this as a permanent fixture of the building and as such covered under the Body Corporate insurances, but the maintenance of the service remains the responsibility of the Lot Owner. Should the service leak due to wear and tear or simply because it has reached its life expectancy and it subsequently causes damage to some kitchen bench tops, the insurance of the Body Corporate would respond to the repair or replacement of the bench tops. However the repair or replacement of the hot water service would not be covered as this would be defined as part of the Lot Owner’s maintenance responsibilities. Conversely, if there was a fire in the kitchen that also damaged the hot water service the insurance cover of the Body Corporate would repair or replace both the damaged kitchen and also the hot water service as it would be a defined fixture attaching to the building. WHAT IS AN ‘INSURABLE BUILDING?’ The first thing that comes to mind with insurance is to protect the building. To most Lot Owners this means the bricks and mortar including doors, windows, as well as internal fixtures and fittings such as light fittings, blinds, carpets and the like. Knowing what should be covered as a minimum under the Body Corporate insurance is actually quite simple. It’s defined by your State or Territory legislation. Where the Body Corporate is responsible for the insurances, the definition of building in all Acts includes owners’ improvements and owners’ fixtures forming part of the building but does not include fixtures removable by a lessee or sub-lessee, at the end of the lease or tenancy. However in regards to specific state Acts there are nuances. For example: 24


In NSW paint within the Lot is excluded (although CHU’s policy can now include this) In QLD personal contents include mobile or fixed airconditioning units servicing an individual Lot and are excluded. In VIC & WA carpet, temporary wall, floor and ceiling coverings within the Lot are excluded. Insurance cover on the building therefore includes a “fixture” which is defined within Butterworths Concise Australian Legal Dictionary as “an item of tangible property annexed to land in such a way as to become a part of the land. Ownership of a fixture follows ownership of the land and an item which is a fixture thus ceases to be the personal property of the person which attached it in the first place”. When it comes to defining a “fixture” at times it may be difficult but the basic rule is it should satisfy three things: 1) 2) 3)

It improves the value of the unit. It is permanently fixed in such a way that its removal would require a substantial amount of restoration work. Permission from the Body Corporate has been granted (where this is a requirement under the Act).

examples of items that would meet this test as fixtures and thus form part of the building would be: a) b) c)

Vinyl or linoleum covering glued to the floor. Kitchen benches and cupboards. Hot water service.

Don’t get caught short What’s more, the bottom line is that lot owners have ‘unlimited’ financial obligations and are liable for any financial shortfall that may ultimately occur. even though under all Acts the building must be insured for its full replacement value, there are a number of components that can affect this figure. For instance ‘full replacement value’ includes the costs for removal of debris and other professional costs such as architects, surveyors and/or engineers. All of these add up and it’s not unusual for these ancillary costs to reach up to one third of the sum insured figure. Also bear in mind the impact a severe fire or storm could have on your business. Large claims can easily result in many many months passing before the building is reinstated and ready for you to get back to ‘business as usual’. A practical consideration then is that any replacement value arrived at on the building should include inflationary costs that may occur over time. A qualified Valuer properly instructed will provide a valuation on this basis.


WHAT ABOUT THE LOT OWNER’S CONTENTS? Whilst Residential Strata Insurance covers the building and common area contents, you still need insurance to protect the inside of your Strata Lot, your household belongings and personable valuables. Sometimes referred to as ‘Chattels’, they are the responsibility of whoever owns them. So, common area contents insurance is the Body Corporate’s responsibility and lot owners, landlords and tenants are responsible for their respective contents. And remember, some contents can be deemed to be either a personal content (chattel) or a building (fixture) item e.g. mirrors. It really depends on the three basic rules mentioned earlier and in this example, the deciding factors would be how the mirrors are attached to the building and if substantial damage might occur if removed. Lot Owners need to look out for any gaps in cover and take out their own insurance to protect their personal contents which, as we have seen, can include items such as carpet, paint and wallpaper within the lot depending on the respective Act. And don’t forget the legal liability that attaches to the contents and to you if you are the owner and/or occupier of the lot. LEGAL LIABILITY OF THE BODY CORPORATE In all Acts the Body Corporate must have cover to pay compensation should it be held liable for bodily injury, illness, death or property damage to a third party. As explained by Mr. Milligan, “The Lot Owner is protected under this cover as a member of the Body Corporate for anything in connection with the business of the Body Corporate. However, it should be noted that the Lot Owner may also step out of that relationship and bring an action, as a third party, against the Body Corporate in certain circumstances where it can be established that at that time the Body Corporate owed the Lot Owner a ‘duty of care’ ”. The minimum amount stipulated is $10,000,000 in all Acts except for WA and Tasmania where it is $5,000,000. INSURANCE FOR VOLUNTARY WORKERS In NSW the Act specifically requires that the Body Corporate maintain cover for persons working on behalf of it without fee or reward. In other States there is no legal requirement; however, many refer to the Body Corporate maintaining all covers needed to adequately protect it in respect to all its functions. Workers Compensation (where applicable) In NSW and WA there is a specific requirement to maintain insurance cover as per the relevant legislation in each State. It should be noted that recent amendments to the Workers Compensation Act in NSW means that this only applies where wages may

reasonably be expected to exceed $7,500 in any one financial year. INSURANCE FOR OFFICE BEARERS This covers the executive committee members of the Body Corporate for any financial loss due to an error or omission made by one or more of them but not in respect to bodily injury or property damage. This should not be confused with Legal Liability cover which is for the legal entity i.e. the body corporate (including lot owners) and not the individual executive members of the Body Corporate. There is no obligation under any Act to have this cover, however, given the increasingly complicated and onerous legal environment around the financial decision making of the Body Corporate and the fact that each lot owner has an unlimited liability as a member it is prudent that all Strata Title properties carry protection for its executive committee members. INSURANCE FOR MISAPPROPRIATION OF FUNDS More commonly referred to in insurance as Fidelity Guarantee, this covers the Body Corporate for fraudulent misappropriation of funds by persons, which is usually in relation to theft of monies, securities or tangible property that has been set aside for the financial management of the Body Corporate. Although it is mentioned in the NSW Act as a type of insurance cover it is not a requirement, but rather something the Body Corporate may consider including. In other States there is no mention, however, many refer to the Body Corporate maintaining all covers needed or prudent to adequately protect it in respect to all its functions. REMOVING THE GAPS FROM YOUR INSURANCE For most, adapting to strata living is an exciting change that brings many benefits, including, if properly understood, the insurance cover you are entitled to under the law as a unit or lot owner. The key is keeping abreast of the issues that affect your assets so that you are well informed about what are your personal responsibilities versus those of the Body Corporate. And remember, for insurance in particular, seek out a strata insurance specialists who is experienced and qualified to provide you with good advice. GENERAL ADVICE DISCLAIMER: Any advice provided is of a general nature only and does not take into consideration the specific objectives, financial situation or needs of the reader or the terms, conditions and exclusions of individual policies held.



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WHY HAVE YOUR STRATA PLAN AUDITED? StrataCall is about asking the experts to help strata owners best manage their most valuable asset. With the changing landscape of NSW urbanisation and a comprehensive government review of strata laws underway, we’ve spoken to Peter Dawkins and Rex Hoeben from Kelly + Partners on the importance of auditing your strata plan.

4 reasons to have your strata plan audited the way in which we live in a community has changed significantly over the past 50 years since the introduction of the first nsW strata laws. With the social and demographic indicators trending towards more urbanised and compact living, the impact of strata law and good governance within strata has increased significantly. in recognition of the evolving nature towards strata based communities with well over 70,000 strata titles within nsW and an estimated $350 billion in total assets the nsW Government has launched it’s first comprehensive review of strata laws in more than a decade. early indications are that this will result in further compliance related responsibilities and more onus upon owners to ensure the good financial governance of their strata plans. according to the nsW state Governments strata & Community title law reform discussion paper: “at present, only schemes with over 100 lots must have their financial accounts audited each year. this means that schemes with less than 101 lots have no mandatory auditing obligations, even though their budgets may run into many hundreds of thousands of dollars. in victoria, schemes over 100 lots , as well as those that collect more than $200,000 in annual levies, must have their accounts audited. nsW could adopt similar measures.” Following this, it is an interesting statistic that the current nsW legislation results in only 575 strata plans out of 71,099 (less than 1%) of schemes being subject to mandatory audit. peter dawkins, senior audit partner at Kelly partners says, “By introducing an additional levy based threshold for mandatory audits, financial governance will be significantly improved across the nsW strata industry.” the university of new south Wales recently conducted a research project, which specifically explored the role,

capacity and effectiveness of owners corporations as agencies of property governance and management in contemporary urban australia. the research project’s report titled Governing the Compact City: the Challenges of apartment living in sydney, stated that members of a strata plan’s executive are charged with the governance of the property, and should be cognizant of the considerable responsibility for managing that property. Good governance can only be achieved where the quality of financial information upon which decisions are based is reliable. the move towards more simplified financial reporting, though welcomed by many owners corporations, does not diminish their responsibility as agents of good governance. peter believes that, “the move towards simplified financial reporting, no matter what form that takes, does not remove the requirement for the accuracy and integrity of the underlying financial information. this is where the audit process is a vital step in providing the platform for reliable, simplified, financial reporting.” “the independent audit of a strata plan can play a key role in ensuring that owners’ corporations are executing their role as agents of good governance. an independent audit ensures the material integrity of the strata plan’s financial statements and provides the necessary platform for confidence in decisions about the allocation of sometimes very significant resources”. Here are tHe top four reasons to Have an independent auditor review strata plans and financial statements. peace of mind: independence and accuracy “the strata audit provides an independent review of a strata plan’s financial affairs. this brings peace of mind to the busy strata manager with the assurance that the financial reports presented to the owners are materially correct,” says peter.

Strata audit Specialists

4 reasons to have your strata plan audited “For the owner, this provides reassurance that the financial information upon which they make their decisions has been independently reviewed by experienced accounting professionals”.

• the owners of strata management businesses can risk manage across their entire portfolio by having plans under their management audited, which is attractive to potential risk averse owners and a valuable tools for the strata managers in retaining their clients. partnerinG witH tHe strata manaGer : the role of any good strata auditor rex hoeben, senior auditor at Kelly+partners says, “although auditors report ultimately to owners, the good ones work in a co-operative manner with the strata manager to ensure the financial reporting is complete and accurate.” Working in conjunction with an experienced strata auditor, the strata manager can be assisted in unraveling complex accounting matters that may arise, thereby allowing the strata manager to focus on their primary role of servicing their client. the expertise and accounting knowledge of an expert strata auditor thus becomes a powerful resource for strata managers and for owners’ corporations. minimisinG risK eXposure: engaging experts in property and finance matters makes good sense

Administer the secretarial functions including the conduct of meetings of members, documentation of minutes, and dealing with all correspondence; Maintain proper records, including financial records, orders served, and minutes of meetings.

owners and/or the strata managers, who have been engaged to carry out these responsibilities, have a risk exposure in the area of financial management. if this is an area where they have limited professional experience they can reduce their risk by engaging an independent auditor experienced in the strata industry. tHe cHanGinG landscape of strata leGislation: the protection of investments under the current review of strata legislation, indications are there will be a tightening of the regulations regarding the fiscal management of strata plans and the imposition of greater responsibilities on executive Committees and Strata Managers. “We’re witnessing a growing trend within the Strata industry in the emergence of Self Managed superannuation Fund investments. as the superannuation of thousands of australian’s are now invested within strata schemes, an independent strata audit will provide additional protection for these investments,” says peter.

the exPertS

an owners’ corporation, among other duties, has a legal responsibility to: • • •

Maintain all common property including the structure of any buildings on the land; Insure the whole property for the full replacement value; Administer the finances and common funds of the group of owners;

peter dawkins CA, RegISteRed CoMpAny AudItoR, Jp Senior Audit Partner at Kelly+partners

rex Hoeben FCA, RegISteRed CoMpAny AudItoR Senior Auditor at Kelly+partners

We provide value-added, ontime services, nationally to Strata Managers. We understand the pressures on Strata Managers.

Kelly+Partners is one of Australia’s leading accounting and business advisory practices.

We share the passion and commitment required Clients include strata managers, commercial and to successfully perform in this dynamic industry. Our dedicated strata audit team is backed by a vast residential property managers, real estate agencies, knowledge of taxation – income, capital gains, GST. investors, developers, construction companies, Email our specialists or phone on 02 9923 0800. commercial and residential builders.

Peter DaWkinS rex Hoeben rex

Reno J306


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13/11/12 4:28 PM

Cindy Martin looks at the ever present issue for strata owners and owners corporations... pets or no pets?




PETS VS OWNERS CORPORATIONS Grace Lawyers is a full service legal provider to the community and company title, stratum(BMC) and strata industries. They are a market leader in these sectors, servicing clients including bodies corporate, community schemes, owners corporations and unit owners in the eastern mainland states and territories of Australia. Grace Lawyers has developed a specialist team of lawyers that can deal with your matter from its inception to final resolution in every aspect of company and community title law, stratum, body corporate and strata law. At Grace Lawyers they speak plain language and that is a necessity when dealing with plain issues. One of the most contentious issues in strata is pets in apartments. Of course many buildings now allow pets but how do you handle the situation when pets are not allowed. The keeping of animals in a strata scheme will almost always lead to healthy debate on the pros and cons of any request made. In a decision by the Consumer, Trader and Tenancy Tribunal, Grace Lawyers successfully represented the Owners Corporation in obtaining an Order prohibiting the lot owner from keeping a dog.

application provided reasons for the keeping of the dog and that it had been trained. The application was considered in an Annual General Meeting shortly after the request was made. Interestingly at the same meeting the standard by-law for the keeping of animals applicable to the scheme was repealed and a special bylaw passed which prohibited the keeping of all animals except companion animals. Consequently, the owner’s motion was considered and refused. The lot owner appealed against the decision and the matter went before the Adjudicator. The Adjudicator made Orders that the lot owner comply with the new by-law and required removal of the dog. The owner appealed to the Tribunal. DECISION The Tribunal held that it was not satisfied from the evidence provided by the appellant that the Owners Corporation unreasonably withheld its approval. Further, it found the Owners Corporation had dealt with the applicant’s request for the consent on its merits.

The case illustrates that the refusal to allow an animal in a strata scheme may be upheld if the Tribunal can be shown that this refusal was not unreasonable by the Owners Corporation.

The Tribunal held that the history combined with the lack of any detail in the application made by the lot owner as to how the dog would be managed and controlled when on the lot and common property were sufficient reasons to refuse the application.



The strata consisted of twenty lots and the dispute started when the lot owner made an application for the keeping of the dog via emails to the strata managing agent. The

The issue of keeping animals in strata schemes is a common area of dispute, usually involving an Owners Corporation’s refusal to allow animals even though

allowing pets is not specifically prohibited in the by-laws of the strata scheme in question. The decision shows that in dealing with these matters, the Tribunal considers the ‘reasonableness’ of the refusal based on the evidence provided. Unreasonable refusal by the Owners Corporation can be construed if the Owners Corporation has a blanket prohibition on the keeping of animals in the scheme (Without a by-law entrenching that position). The prohibition may be noted in the minutes of an Owners Corporation meeting, notice to this effect at the entrance of the building etc. Although at first glance this may seem a reasonable approach for the Owners Corporation to take, the Tribunal characterise it as an unreasonable refusal. This is because a blanket prohibition takes away any opportunity for owners or occupiers to present requests to keep animals to the Owners Corporation so that the Owners Corporation can consider such requests on their merits. If the Owners Corporation does not want animals it needs to make that position very clear by passing a bylaw that prohibits all animals except the keeping of Companion Animals (as generally allowed by law, e.g. guide dogs). By speaking to the experts at Grace Lawyers, you will be able to better understand issue in relation to whether your pet will be welcome or not. It is always a good idea when you are buying a unit to talk to a strata lawyer if you are unsure of where you stand in relation to taking your pet with you. It is a little late after you have purchased the unit and then find out you have to get rid of your beloved furry friend.



Jamesons Strata Management Celebrating 50 Years of Strata Management

We see our longevity in the strata industry as a reflection of our service quality. So in order to be here in another 50 Years we will continue to offer our clients the best service possible.


BY George Vumbaca

Next year Jamesons Strata Management celebrates 50 years in the business of Strata Management and I notch up number 40. Reflecting on what has been a long and wonderful career (so far) I am struck by how much the industry has changed, particularly over the last 5 years. Despite having seen countless changes to our legislation, different governing bodies come and go and numerous competitors enter and exit the market, I truly believe that in the last 5 years, the improvements in technology and the increasing focus on compliance, have brought the greatest new challenges to our industry.

another more challenging aspect is the need to cross pollinate these demands with the procedural requirements set out in the legislation for a swag of different issues. (Creating and registering special By-Laws, striking special levies, issuing notices to comply, calling meetings, the list goes on). The delicate balance as a Strata Manager in meeting the needs of our clients by providing quick and efficient service, whilst ensuring that all legislative requirements are met, is only going to get trickier and trickier and is something that all parties interested in apartment living need to become aware of.

Technological improvements mean we now have the ability to access and process information faster and more efficiently than at any stage in our history thus far. And that’s the way we want it: faster, easier, and at the click of a button.

We have all read articles about issues with floorboards, visitor parking, pets and washing on balconies; and whilst these may seem minor, they are issues that upset, annoy, anger (take your pick of adjectives) people, and more importantly, take time to be resolved.

Whilst in some areas of our business this is relatively easy to provide (financial reports, access to lot information and paying levies online are just a few examples),

Having issues dealt with correctly significantly reduces the need for issues to go to mediation. It also ensures that when matters do proceed that far, the likelihood of

a positive outcome for the Owners Corporation is greatly increased. How do we, as a Strata Managing agent help our clients to effectively deal with these scenarios? At Jamesons we have developed a simple solution. 1. Develop a strong understanding of the legislation and explain it to lot owners in a language that is easy to understand. 2. Complete the procedural and time consuming elements of these issues in a prompt manner. 3. Finally, and most importantly, communicate the issues to our clients and be as helpful as possible. We feel truly blessed to be in a growing industry in what are challenging times in the economic landscape. It is our initiative to ensure that no matter what the issue, be it technological, compliance or any other, we make things as easy as possible for all of our clients. To find out more visit us at StrataCall


Leaders in Strata Law


1st Floor, 240 Princes Highway, Arncliffe NSW 2205 P: 9562 1266 F: 9567 8551



A Water Heater Perfect For Small Spaces It has all the performance and safety features of Rheem’s larger continuous flow water heaters, but it’s specially designed with smaller spaces in mind - especially apartments. “The Rheem 12 might be small, but it’s certainly mighty,” says John Wilkins, Rheem’s group product manager, high efficiency gas. Created with a number of key features, the Rheem 12 has a 5.9 star energy rating and features electronic temperature control for consistent hot water delivery and to ensure maximum set temperature is never exceeded. This avoids the risk of temperature spikes that can occur with some mechanical units. In

“It’s more compact than mechanical water heaters yet offers superior performance.” addition, the unit has Flamesafe protection, which shuts down the unit should it overheat, plus for your family’s peace of mind, it has no external controls, so there’s no risk of accidently interfering with the unit’s operation. Available to suit either natural or propane gas, the Rheem 12 delivers 12 litres per minute of continuous hot water - and its capacity can be doubled when linked via Rheem’s EZ link system which seamlessly links two Rheem Continuous Flow gas water heaters. Features of the Rheem 12 Continuous Flow include: • • • • • • • • • • •



5.9 star energy rating Minimum flow rate of 2.7 litres 12 litres per minute capacity Ability to deliver up to 24 litres per minute when linked through Rheem’s EZ link system Flamesafe overheat protection and Q Factor temperature control No external controls Diagnostic display 10 year warranty More compact than mechanical water heaters Frost protected to minus 20 degrees Celsius models Suits either natural gas or propane

HOW HEALTHY IS YOUR HOME? By Georgia Madden Okay so you might be able to eat your dinner off the floor and see your own reflection in your well-scrubbed bathroom tiles, but is your tidy home actually harbouring unhealthy toxins? Chemical pollutants emitted from everyday household products can cause a host of ailments, including fatigue, respiratory problems and a lowering of the immune system. Air your home regularly and switch over to natural products and you may well find yourself breathing a little easier.


VENTILATE YOUR HOME Who wants to breathe stale air? If you're in the habit of keeping your windows closed most of the time, this is exactly what you're doing and it could have serious long-term effects on your health. Studies have shown that the air inside your home can be up to five times as polluted as the air outside. Breathe fresh air into your home by opening up the windows on a regular basis and allowing the air to circulate. Add a few indoor plants - natural detoxifiers - to your living spaces to help purify the air further. BE A DUST-BUSTER Dust can be a major trigger for allergies and respiratory problems. Keep dust at bay by regularly dusting your furniture with a damp cloth, and vacuum carpets, rugs and floorboards regularly. If you're sensitive to allergens or have breathing problems, look for a vacuum with a high-efficiency HEPA filter, which removes more allergens and dust than the average vacuum cleaner. DITCH THE CHEMICAL PRODUCTS Chemical cleaning products might promise to take the pain out of your cleaning chores, but what chemical nasties do they leave behind? Ditch the toxic cleaners and replace them with natural, nontoxic ones that won't pollute your home (check out and

equal parts of vinegar and water, and popping the solution into a handy spray bottle. For centuries, lemon has been used as a natural deodorizer. Place half a lemon in the fridge to remove food odours, or rub it onto stubborn mattress stains to lift and deodorize. You can also use lemon to remove sweat stains from clothing. USE NATURAL MATERIALS Most wood, furniture and fabric has been treated chemically in some way before it enters your home, and these chemicals can be released into your environment for years after you've lugged in that new sofa or set of dining chairs. Invisible chemical pollutants can be found in just about every aspect of home furnishing, including paint, carpet, furniture and electricals. Wherever possible, look for furnishings made from natural, untreated materials. WOOD Choose solid timber wherever possible as particleboard - think engineered flooring or laminates - is often treated with formaldehyde, which is known to be carcinogenic in high doses. Make sure timber comes from a sustainable source or use salvaged boards. Alternatively, consider untreated bamboo flooring, which is actually made from a fast-growing grass and is a highly renewable product. CARPET

Or, make your own cleaners with products you probably already have in the kitchen cupboard. Bicarbonate of soda is an old favourite, and has several uses around the home. Sprinkle a small amount on carpet and follow with a vacuum to deodorize and lift dirt and stains. Remove mildew and mould from your bathroom with a mixture of one part bicarb of soda and one part vinegar.

The largest surfaces in your home - the floor and walls - will generally be the greatest pollutants. Carpet made with synthetic materials, or those treated with stain repellent, will likely have high levels of toxicity. For a natural, no-tox alternative opt for untreated woolen carpet with natural hessian backing. You won't need to bother with a stain protector as wool is naturally stain repellent.

Vinegar can be used as a powerful all-purpose cleaner. Use it to clean and disinfect kitchen and bathroom surfaces, sinks and windowsills by mixing




Until recently, most indoor paints had high levels of


VOCs (volatile organic compounds) - the nasty toxic gases that give paint its 'freshly-painted' smell, and which are released into your home for years after application. Now, most of the big paint names offer low-toxic and low-VOC paints in a variety of colours and finishes. Or, you could go the completely natural route and look for organic paints. FABRICS Most upholstery fabrics, bedding and soft furnishings is chemically treated too. Look for natural, untreated materials such as linen, organic wool or organic cotton. GET RID OF MOULD Mould and mildew pose a serious risk to allergy and asthma sufferers. Any damp spots in your home, such as around sinks, showers or baths, are potential hot spots for mould. The trick is to avoid moisture build-up in the first place by mopping up floors and wiping down surfaces regularly, as well as keeping an eye out for leaky taps and pipes. Also ventilate rooms well and let the sun enter as the UV rays inhibit mould formation. If mould does build up, attack it fast with a natural cleaning solution. LOOK AT YOUR KITCHEN HABIT Avoid non-stick pans and utensils, which all have chemically-treated surfaces,and instead choose healthier stainless steel pans, and ceramic and glass cookware. Look for BPA-free plastics, and never microwave food in plastic containers. Have you got a water filter on your tap? Drinking water has been found to contain around 700 chemicals, and a good water filter will remove most of these before you even take a sip.



Dealing with a bully in your builDing

dealing with a bully in your building




Almost every day there are terrible stories in the media about a child being bullied at school but this behaviour is not limited to the school yard. Some of those children who are bullies grown up to become workplace bullies and even lot owner bullies.

In a strata living situation it can be particularly uncomfortable as leaving may not be an option and what was once your sanctuary can turn into your worst nightmare. Taking the matter up by seeking a legal solution can be just as difficult.

The BCS Community Magazine has tackled this sensitive issue in their most recent edition.

So how do you deal with a bully? If this is a one off then the person may not be aware that their behaviour is unacceptable or that it has come across as bullying. If you are the victim of this behaviour then while it may be difficult, Kim suggests that the best way to address the issue is to confront the person.

If you’ve encountered a bully in your building, or are dealing with one now you need to arm yourself with some knowledge before dealing with them. One of the first things you need to know is what exactly is bullying behaviour – how do you identify someone who’s a bully and someone who is just rude or had a bad day? Psychologist Kim Harrison says that bullying is repeated, unreasonable behaviour directed towards a person or group that creates a risk to health and safety. This can involve behaviour that causes humiliation, offence or intimidates. Bullying can occur anywhere that people live or work together. Strata and community living unfortunately can create an ideal situation for a bully to thrive especially if they find their way onto their executive committee. Examples of bullying include: • • • •

verbal abuse and/or putting someone down spreading rumours or innuendo about someone interfering with someone’s personal property or work equipment .

“The test for whether a person’s behaviour is bullying is known as the reasonable person test,” Kim explains. “This refers to behaviour that a reasonable person, having regard to all the circumstances, would expect to victimise, humiliate, undermine or threaten individuals.” Bullying can also take extreme forms from verbal abuse to ostracising and can involve electronic and social media such as SMS and messages posted on Facebook or via Twitter. Bullying may also be directed towards one person or a number of people. Workplaces often have systems in place to deal with bullying issues. Employees who have been subject to this type of behaviour usually have access to information and support as well as some recourse. Ultimately they can also search for a new job and leave the toxic workplace behind.

“Directly confronting the person and telling them what effect their behaviour is having on you can be a way of ensuring the situation comes to an end. Of course it is very hard to do and it is always best if you have a support person to help you.” “The thing with bullying is that it is often a number of small things that add up and it can be difficult to pinpoint the specific behaviour. You may not even be aware that the behaviour is having a detrimental affect until it is really ingrained and difficult to address.” In Queensland, NSW and Victoria the government bodies responsible for strata and community title legislation all offer mediation services which can help address the issues. “Having access to an independent third party can help diffuse the situation and bring some rationality and common sense into the matter,” Kim says. The worst thing you can to is to retaliate. Do not under any circumstances use the bully’s methods against them as this could end up with you being seen as the bully and you could be the one who is subject to legal action. If you’re on an executive committee and someone reports an incidence of bullying to you it must be taken seriously. Bullying creates a risk for the health and safety of the person or group of people it’s affecting. As a committee member you may also be held personally liable if you are aware of certain behaviour but did nothing to address the issue. If you’re the person being bullied know that there is help there for you. In the first instance organisations such as Lifeline can be wonderful in listening to the problem and giving you tools to cope. Call Lifeline on 13 11 14. Courtesy of NSW Fair Trading



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THE IMPORTANCE OF USING LICENSED TRADIES By Steve Ellis For some trades like plastering, tiling and painting, it is reasonable to expect that people will “give it a go” themselves. People are taking on potentially life risking work like plumbing and electrical work and it is a real concern that home renovators could be putting themselves and their houses at risk. Plumbers and electricians are highly skilled trades that provide a crucial service for the residential, commercial and industrial sectors. All related work needs to be to the highest standard as plumbing and electrical typically affects public health and safety, specifically the potential for the contamination of drinking water supplies and electrocution. Plumbing work can encompass a broad range of tasks including water supply, drainage, sewage, heating, cooling and gas fitting. Specific elements that are typically fitted by a plumber include water pipes, taps, sinks, baths, showers, hot water systems and elements of a properties drainage and sewage system. Electricians are generally responsible for lights, power and communications in your home. Common Plumbing and Electrical Problems: Some of the most common problems around the home are related to plumbing and electrical issues. This includes the • Leaking taps • Leaking toilets • Faulty hot water systems • Leaking roofing • Blocked drains • Bathroom renovation • Gas appliance installation • Burst water pipes

• Light replacement • Appliance installation • Power point relocation • Smoke detectors • Security systems • Ceiling fans • Phone lines • Gas point installations

following commonly encountered situations, which typically require the services of a licensed plumber or electrician: Licensed plumbers and electricians: Only licensed contractors are authorised to carry out plumbing and electrical work and ensure that all the work under their control complies with all the relevant standards and regulations. If you are unsure if your tradie is licensed ask to see some proof of this or contact your local State Authority. Licensed plumbers and electricians are required to complete extensive on site experience, attend very intense training courses at TAFE and other training organisations. All work shall comply with the Australian Standard of AS3500 and AS3000. There can be very costly mistakes made and often it cost more to fix up others problems than it would have cost in the first place to get it done by a reputable licensed tradesperson. StrataCall


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Q&A Living in strata can be a complex thing. Residents, old and new, can spend a lot of time trying to understand the strata hierarchy to get their problems sorted. Read what StrataCall's legal experts, Colin Grace, Daniel Russell & James Moir have to say about some of the problems facing people living in strata.





Is it ever possible for a community association to enforce a special levy against the owners in a strata scheme and/or a neighbourhood scheme (both in the community title development) with respects to neighbourhood property (common property of the neighbourhood scheme) OR only just for community property?


In a Community Scheme the responsibility for maintenance and repairs of property lies with the owner of that part of the land (subject to what is in the community management statement). So, in the Community Scheme it has to look after community property (lot 1), in a strata the strata looks after strata common property and in a neighbourhood it looks after the neighbourhood property (lot 1 in that plan). There is provision in the Act to transfer the obligations to the community association. Complex enough yet? The community management statement is the overriding document (it has all the rules in it). Every individual "proprietor" and every "subsidiary" scheme (a strata plan) must also comply including the individual lot owners. The system for management is cascading downwards from the umbrella community association. The Association has the power to enforce the Management Statements as does the Strata Scheme and even an individual lot owner (in some instances). The funding works in the same way in that it cascades down. The Association is responsible to look after its property and as the strata or neighbourhood scheme are part of it, they will pay its share of costs. Unless there is something in the management statement transferring the obligations for the neighbourhood property to the community association then it would probably remain with the neighbourhood (these are called restricted neighbourhood or strata property by-laws - look for them). Community associations are relatively complex animals to manage and understand but if you start with the management statement and discuss it with your community manager you may be halfway there. Answer: Colin Grace


What is the legality of installing a video surveillance system in a common use garage area for the purpose of catching RESIDENT/ OWNER offenders of visitor parking and illegal rubbish dumping?


Section 8 of the Surveillance Devices Act doesn't really regulate the use of video surveillance directly, but rather does so indirectly through regulating access to premises or interference with 54


property to install, use or maintain the device. The consent that is referred to is actually consent to the entry onto (or interference with) the premises or vehicle for the purpose of installing, using or maintaining the device, not consent to the installing, maintaining or using per se. As a result it is the person on whose property the device is installed that must consent (rather than people that might be observed) so the question of whether entering an area that is clearly signposted amounts to consent is ultimately not relevant. "Person" includes a body corporate under the Interpretation Act 1987, which includes owners corporations (a natural person is ordinarily an "individual" in NSW legislation). Section 12 does cover video surveillance records, however it only applies if the record was obtained in contravention of the Act (which mainly means contravention of section 8) The requirement for video surveillance equipment to be itself clearly visible and for clearly visible signs to be placed at the entry to the relevant areas is derived from the Workplace Surveillance Act. This Act is also the source of the prohibition on surveillance of change rooms and bathrooms. Whilst it might not be obvious at first, the common areas of most residential strata schemes are also places of work for a variety of persons (some of whom will be employed directly by the owners corporation), so it is prudent to seek to ensure compliance with the provisions of the Workplace Surveillance Act. Otherwise if the surveillance is sufficiently intrusive it may be possible (although somewhat legally controversial) for the person aggrieved to seek Court orders supported by a cause of action in the common law of "nuisance". If the surveillance forms part of a wider pattern of threatening behaviour (for example, personal disputes between owners and executive committee members) then Apprehended Violence Orders (AVOs) may be available to victims. There are also a variety of crimes now based on voyeurism (which would obviously not be a common concern, but care should be taken to ensure that any system cannot be misused). There is no applicable privacy law (although Privacy NSW has powers to investigate and attempt to conciliate complaints). As to wheel clamping (and also towing) the intention of the relevant sections is fairly clearly to require the necessary consent to be specific to the particular act of clamping or towing (rather than generally, such as through a by-law). Even if this were not the case, almost


by definition a by-law cannot amount to consent by a visitor to be clamped (because visitors are not bound by the by-laws). Answer: Daniel Russell


The strata block I live in has a neighbouring strata block which has a number of large trees close to the fence that separates our two blocks. The roots of those trees appear to have run onto our block and damaged the concrete. What is our legal position with respect to having the neighbouring strata accept responsibility for the damage?


There is a whole act to deal with your circumstances, called (unsurprisingly) the Trees (Disputes Between Neighbours) Act 2006.

This generally involves applications to the Land and Environment Court. The Access to Neighbouring Land Act 2000 may also allow for certain works to be done under an order from the Local Court. There are various protections in relation to certain designated trees or species that need to be taken account of. There are also potentially limited other rights at common law. You should consider engaging a lawyer to provide some detailed advice on your options. As AT has pointed out your scheme may have some degree of liability for an injury or damage resulting from the impact of the tree on your property. Keep in mind also that ultimately your strata scheme has an obligation to repair and maintain its common property, which duty is not relieved simply because the need for maintenance derives from a third party. You should not be concerned that your neighbouring strata scheme may not have funds. If you obtain judgment against them you can apply for the appointment of a compulsory manager to their scheme to raise special levies until the debt is satisfied. Answer: Daniel Russell


During Christmas we have had issues with Visitor Parking. Quite a few people have people to stay and we have been short of visitor parking spaces. There is a big fight going on with a number of people on the executive committee because of how the visitor parking is being used. One lot say it should only be used for a few hours by visitors and the other says that visitors are visitors and they should be able to use the spots throughout their stay - the maximum stay was three days by one visitor. Do we need to create a new by-law to put a time limit on the visitor parking?


There should not be any problem creating such a by-law, provided the development consent and/or a restrictive covenant on the property do not make express provision with respect to the duration that a car can be parked in a visitor's space. The real difficulty is enforcement of the by-law. Part 5A of Chapter 16 of the Local Government Act 1993 (which commenced on 29 August 1998) outlawed wheel clamping and detention of cars except with the consent of the owner (except in limited circumstances, such as by Police, under a Court order, or under a credit contract). The Tow Truck Industry Act 1998 has a similar impact on the towing of cars. A carefully drafted by-law can perhaps accommodate some of those requirements (although there will always be genuine concerns as to the enforceability of any such regime). To prove a breach of such by-laws (with a view to issuing penalties to the owner or occupier) is also notoriously difficult (in this circumstance especially given that the visitor cannot be penalized, and so the owner or occupier must be made liable through an obligation to ensure the proper use of the car-space by their invitees). In light of these issues, drafting such a by-law involves some creative thinking (and the willingness, perhaps, to install some infrastructure--for example, if it is not prohibited by the development consent and/or a restrictive covenant, a ticket/fee system (such as you find in a shopping centre car-park) may prove an effective deterrent). Answer: Daniel Russell


We have roughly 10km of roads inside our SP. What is the status of the roads as far as law enforcement goes?

Transport legislation is detailed and very complicated. Here is a list of relevant legislation (which is probably far from exhaustive):

l l l l l l l l

Road Transport (General) Act 2005 Road Transport (Driver Licensing) Act 1998 Road Transport (Safety and Traffic Management) Act 1999 Road Transport (Vehicle Registration) Act 1997 Motor Vehicles Taxation Act 1988 Motor Accidents Compensation Act 1999 Roads Act 1993 Summary Offences Act 1988

Many sections of these acts apply to an area that is "an area that is open to or used by the public and is developed for, or has as one of its main uses, the driving or riding of motor vehicles" StrataCall



This phrase was considered by the Court of Appeal in Ryan v Nominal Defendant (2005) 62 NSWLR 192 (in that case in connection with motor accidents compensation legislation). Santow JA, with whom McColl JA agreed (forming the majority) held that "a dirt track, which, though on private property, effectively formed an extension of [the public road] as it was separated from the street only by a lockable metal gate" was "open to or used by the public". This was despite the use of the road by the public being a trespass. Santow JA said (at [137]): "it is not irrelevant that use may be technically a trespass, I would in the circumstances of this case not be deterred from the conclusion that the track was “used by the public” by its trespassory character. The weight of that factor is greatly diminished by what I refer to as “the variety and frequency of that usage, and the ineffectiveness of the measures to prevent it”. That ineffectiveness amounts to something close to tolerance ... " Of course that is just the starting point (and then only in respect of certain legislation, not all of it ... ) Answer: Daniel Russell


I am moving into a unit soon and requested permission for Foxtel and a split system air conditioner. The strata manager said by-laws would have to be created and I would up for all costs for the EGM that would need to be held. There is split system air con in the unit next door. Can they just add me to that by-law? To my understanding there is no other Foxtel in the building (about 30 years old) and I want to put a dish on the balcony. It will not be visible from the street etc. and will be the required size. I spoke to Foxtel and they said a by-law should not be needed, just a letter from the Exec committee.


The air conditioner will involve alterations to common property and as a result require at least a special resolution in a general meeting to be approved. The owners corporation is also likely to require that you have the ongoing obligation to maintain, and various other conditions, which would also require a by-law to be made. Whether an existing by-law can be amended will depend on the terms of that by-law and the attitude of the owners corporation. Unless the previous by-law was designed to allow for multiple approvals, the owners corporation is likely to ask for a new one. In any event, amending an existing by-law requires the same steps as putting a new by-law in place. 56


Whether installation of the foxtel dish can occur under a written approval (which, unless there has been a relevant restriction placed on the executive committee's powers, would ordinarily be an approval that the executive committee could give) depends on the by-laws that apply. The standard by-laws relating to doing damage to common property and maintaining the appearance of the lot, for example, allow for written approvals. Keep in mind, however, that if an exclusive use or special privilege by-law is put in place, your consent would be required to retract the right, and the rights run with the land (so that subsequent owners are also benefited). Answer: Daniel Russell


One of our unit owners who lives on the ground floor has water coming through her sliding door from the drain outside. We are getting the drain area fixed, it is totally inadequate. The thing is the carpet in this person's bedroom is wrecked and she has asked that strata replace it when the drain is fixed. The strata manager has said no, it's her problem she has to claim it on her insurance. Well she has no insurance for a start so she can't. Can the Executive Committee say that since the drain did the damage strata will replace her bedroom carpet?


Faulty common property has caused the damage, so it IS the owners corporation's responsibility. Either the EC or the OC (at a general meeting) can authorise paying for the replacement of the carpet. It's actually a common misconception among strata managers. They think that as a carpet is lot property, then the owners corp never has to pay for its replacement. Whilst section 62 does not apply (it's not common property), if faulty common property damages lot property (paint is another classic example) then it is for the owners corporation to pay for its replacement. Another part of that misconception is that if it's not covered by the OC's insurance, it must be the owner's problem. Not so. There is sometimes a difference between what the OC is liable for and what it's insurance covers. Answer: James Moir


Our kitchen floor tiles are broken in our unit. The strata management are saying they will not fix them as the original owner put the tiles down. Are the tiles under common ground and covered by the strata?


If the floor tiles are original they are most likely common property.


If they are damaged the OC needs to repair/replace them. Problems arise when like for like cannot be found. If a previous owner replaced them without authority, the tiles are still probably common property. If someone alters common property, it is still common property. The only rights the OC have are against the person who did the unauthorised work, not the owner for the time being (if owners have changed). The OC can also pass a special resolution to put the common property back or if it is repairs/replacement, an ordinary resolution. If it's a safety thing, ask the OC to replace them. If it's a style/colour preference, ask for a special resolution to replace them yourself. If you do this with a special resolution but no by-law specifying that the owner is responsible, then the OC remains responsible for their replacement (see section 65A(3)). Answer: James Moir


I'm not sure if this is strictly relevant to the original question, but I disagree on the issue of subsequent replacements.

The boundary is set according to inner surface of tiles that were in place upon registration of the plan. On registration those tiles, being affixed, became part of the common property. If you then remove those tiles the boundary remains in the same place--in effect you are left with a tiny sliver of air-space above the floor. If you then install new tiles, arguably the law of fixtures determines whether they become common property or not. I think it is correct to say that this law now depends heavily on intention and less so on degree of affixation. I think that tiles laid without authorisation would not become fixtures--I do not think that you can affix something to someone else's land by way of trespass. Even if the tiles were affixed, if the new tile installation was taller than the original one, the upper surface of those new tiles (that would encroach on the lot air-space) could arguably be lot property under the authorities with respect to lot owners' fixtures (which are an exception to the rule that a fixture forms part of the land to which it is affixed--such as, for example, kitchen cabinets, which will be lot property despite being affixed to a common property wall). Answer: Daniel Russell





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apartment living

Common property What is Common property? Common property is all the area of the land and building not included in any lot. it is jointly owned by all owners and the Owners Corporation is responsible for its management. the common property boundaries of each lot are generally formed by: •The upper surface of the floor (but not including carpet) •The under surface of the ceiling •The external or boundary walls (including doors and windows). Generally common property includes: • •

• • • • •



Floors including a ramp or stairway Boundary wall including any door, window or other structure within the wall and their working parts Ceramic tiles originally attached to a common property surface (eg. the floor or boundary wall) Pipes in common property or servicing more than one lot Parquet and floorboards originally installed Vermiculite ceilings, plaster ceilings and cornices Magnesite finishes on the floor Balcony walls and doors are usually common property if the strata plan was registered after 1 July 1974, unless the


registered strata plan says it is not In addition, structural cubic space is usually common property unless the registered strata plan shows that it forms part of the lot. Structural cubic space includes: •Any pipes, wires, cables or ducts that are not for the enjoyment of a single lot •Any cubic space enclosed by a structure enclosing any of these pipes, wires, cables or ducts. Boundaries If you are unclear about which parts of your unit are your individual ‘lot’ and which parts are common property, check on the strata plan. The common property boundaries are usually shown on strata plans by thick black lines. Sometimes it may be necessary to refer to the registered strata plan if the boundaries between common property and lots in a Strata Scheme are unclear. If you wish to obtain a copy or seek interpretation of the registered strata plan of your scheme, contact the Department of Lands at or call 9288 6666. Care of common property The Owners Corporation is responsible for the ongoing maintenance of common property (unless it decides by special resolution that it is inappropriate for a particular item and its decision will not affect the safety or appearance of the strata scheme). This includes repair work and replacing and renewing common property when needed. Repairs and renovations involving common property Any repairs or renovations to an individual lot that involve common property (for example, installing cable television or adding a new window) will need the permission of the Owners Corporation. The Owners Corporation can decide by special resolution at a general meeting to all or a particular lot owner to make additions to, or alter, common property. They can pass on an exclusive use by-law which gives the owner the use (not ownership) of that area of common property and makes them responsible for the repair and maintenance of the area, otherwise the Owners Corporation is responsible. An exclusive use by-law must be registered with Department of Lands within two years.

Common Property Questions 1. WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR PRUNING TREES ON THE PROPERTY? If the trees are common property, it is the Owners Corporation responsibility. If the trees are part of your lot - you are responsible as the owner. 2. WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR LOOKING AFTER THE WHEELIE BINS? The owners (or residents) are responsible for putting their own bins out, bringing them in, and keeping them clean. The Owners Corporation usually owns the bins. 3. WE WANT TO PARK IN A SECTION OF THE DRIVEWAY THAT’S COMMON PROPERTY. CAN WE GET PERMISSION TO DO THIS? Send a written request to the Secretary or Strata Managing Agent. Permission should then be voted on at a general or executive committee meeting. 4. CAN WE DO OUR OWN REPAIRS TO COMMON PROPERTY? Only if you have the permission of the Owners Corporation. If common property needs repair or maintenance, the Owners Corporation would undertake that work, not an individual owner. 5. CAN WE DO ANYTHING WE LIKE TO OUR BACKYARD? If your backyard is part of your lot, you can do anything as long as it doesn’t breach by-laws, for example, you must not damage common property or create disturbing noises.

Courtesy of NSW Fair Trading



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Keeping Kids Safe High density housing and community living offer a great lifestyle but can also pose dangers especially for children.

Falls from balconies and windows saw 210 children admitted to The Children’s Hospital at Westmead in New South Wales between January 1998 and November 2011. No doubt the statistics are similar in Victoria and Queensland. Of these, 113 cases were due to a window fall and 97 cases were due to a balcony fall. Children aged one to five years of age are most at risk. Senior Lecturer with the Faculty of Law at the University of NSW, Cathy Sherry knows more than most people about the price paid by adventurous young children who are seriously injured in falls. She spent two years working with a cross-section of experts brought together by The Children’s Hospital at Westmead to try and reduce the incidence of falls. “I want to stress to strata managers that this is not a fanciful risk. Twelve children are admitted to the

Children’s Hospital at Westmead every year as result of a balcony or window fall. You can probably double that if you take into account the children going to the Sydney Children’s Hospital at Randwick. And then there are the children outside of Sydney who go to other hospitals, John Hunter, Woolongong. So it is not fanciful,” Ms Sherry said. “The biggest problem is fly screens. No fly screen can support the weight of a child. Parents don’t perceive a window with a fly screen as an open window but unless they are specifically designed they can’t even support a baby’s weight. “Part of the problem with apartments is the size. It’s difficult for families not to have furniture pushed up against windows. Most kids who fall are playing in the bedroom, climbing on the bed, or the tallboy, or chest of drawers. Living in an apartment you

can’t just open the back door and tell the two-year-old to play within sight; it’s inevitable in apartments children will be playing inside. In New South Wales, the Department of Health has started a campaign to warn people of the danger and provide them with practical advice on making their homes safer. Strata managers in New South Wales can order free resources such as posters and flyers which can be placed in common areas and handed out to residents. The campaign also provides information on products which be be easily fitted to windows to prevent them opening too far thus preventing a child from falling out. By BCS




Strata’s Bestselling Author – Meet Brett Kelly

Brett Kelly and his team have built Kelly + Partners from scratch. It is now one of the leading strata accountancy firms in Australia. Inspirational and insightful, Brett has presented to over 200 audiences ranging from the National Press Club in Canberra, to youth, business, community, sales and corporate groups. Brett’s ability to captivate such a wide range of audiences and take a boring topic, make it interesting, relevant and practical makes him an excellent keynote speacker. Aged 22, unemployed, with no money, journalistic experience, connections or publisher he picked himself up, interviewed 34 leading Australian achievers including - Bob 64


Hawke, Malcolm Turnbull, Poppy King, Gerry Harvey, Kathryn Greiner, Ray Martin, Imelda Roche, Jeff Kennett, Pat O'Shane and Peter Brock – raised the funds, gathered the expertise to self-publish 'Collective Wisdom' in 1999 and made it a national bestseller! Seven years later Brett published his second well-received book 'Universal Wisdom'. With continuation of a book every 7 years and not satisfied to retire, Brett has written Business Owners’ Wisdom, a book getting up close and personal with some of Australia’s most successful business entrepreneurs. Business Owners’ Wisdom interviews other prominent Australians such as Collette Dinnigan,Tom Waterhouse, Matt Moran and Lorna Jane Clark-

son. Business Owners’ Wisdom explores the lives of successful business people and the secrets to their success; the answers are surprising as they often challenge conventional notions of the journey to success. In 2013, Brett is having a series of lunches called Strata in Conversation where he will interview highly regarded strata experts on acquisitions, legal, marketing, government, industry bodies and the next generation. The video recorded interviews will be developed into a book at a later date. Should make for some very interesting reading! By Cindy Martin Photograhpher Simon Carroll


Strata Made Easy Supported by Westpac A

The agenda for an AGM can take a variety of shapes and forms but will generally include a:-

Adjudicator – A third party from a consumer/ tenancy tribunal who decides on strata disputes. The involvement of a tribunal is often a second or third step in the disputes process, with a preference to see disputes settled locally where possible.

Statement of the financial position and performance of the Owners Corporation

Motion that accepts the financial statements as provided to the Owners Corporation

Administrative Fund – A fund, for the benefit of the Owners Corporation, used to cover recurring expenses of a strata scheme. This will include anything from electricity and gardening, right through to the maintenance of common property. A portion of levies charged to owners is based on the estimates of these expenses. Separate consideration is given to amounts that are required for the Sinking Fund.

Confirmation on the insurance policies that a currently held by the owners’ corporation and whether they are appropriate in terms of cost and risk coverage. An incomplete insurance policy can expose the Owners Corporation to substantial risk should an incident occur.

Agenda – In a strata context, the agenda is a list of motions or issues to be voted upon or discussed at a meeting. Having a complete list of agenda items is essential prior to the meeting, as matters not on the agenda should not be voted on. It is important that all attendees are provided with this prior notice, as particular agenda items may influence the decision to attend. Aggregate Unit Entitlement – The net sum of all individual entitlements in a strata scheme. Alterations – Alterations are any improvements or renovations that are proposed or made to common property. Generally, the Owners Corporation must provide approval to complete such work, which can range from minor repairs through to major structural renovations. Most by-laws, or special rules of a strata scheme will include a statement that effectively prevents owners from making changes to their property that materially changes the overall appearance of the building. This might range from the addition of balconies through to external colour schemes that change the fundamental appearance of the property. Annual General Meeting (AGM) - An AGM is a meeting of owners and other interested parties (which are typically defined within the strata roll) that meet once a year. After the first AGM, an AGM must be held each year.

B Boundaries - Another source of confusion within strata managed properties is a clear understanding of where the lines between individual lots and common property are drawn. These rules govern the space within which an individual generally has the right to manage their property as they see fit (although reference should be made to the by-laws/special rules and the definition for alterations to identify possible exclusions). A well designed and documented strata plan should highlight common property boundaries via thick black lines, and be distributed so that all property owners are aware of these arrangements. All strata plans are registered, so if still unclear, reference should be made to the registered copy of the strata plan. Breaching of by-laws/special rules - On occasion, an Owners Corporation and/or managing agent will be asked to manage situations where a by-law has been breached. As with many instances when it comes to strata management, common sense and discussion is encouraged, however further remedies exist to issue a notice to comply on the person(s) who are breaching it. If this continues, various remedies exist across different states to pursue action as required (e.g. in NSW the Owners Corporation can apply to the Consumer Trader and Tenancy Tribunal for a financial penalty to be imposed on the individual). Budget - An estimate that outlines the future expense and income streams that a strata scheme is expecting to see over the coming year. A separate budget will be prepared for both the Administrative and Sinking Funds by taking into account the surplus or deficit carried over into the new financial year. Building Manager/Caretaker - A role that is more



commonly associated with larger schemes, a caretaker will typically manage the co-ordination of the maintenance for the property. The roles of the caretaker are delegated to them via the Owners Corporation, Key responsibilities for a caretaker may include the management of:

risks associated with unsupervised children playing in common property, as well as highlighting areas on the premises that may be considered high risk. Outside of retirement village strata schemes, they are not allowed to prevent or restrict children from living on strata premises.

• •

Common Property - In essence, the area of land and parts of a building in the strata plans that do not form part of a lot. Common property is jointly owned, and the Owners Corporation is responsible for the management of all areas that are defined as per the spaces set out in the strata plan. Defining what is common property is a complicated (and at times, passionately debated) topic, but essentially includes the following:

Common property Access to and use of common property by tradespersons Maintenance and repair of common property

It is important that the caretaker is officially appointed via a contract, as this will detail their responsibilities and avoid any potential conflicts in regards to general accountabilities. As this is fundamentally important to the running of a strata managed property, the first AGM often includes an item to decide whether there needs to be a caretaker appointed (as discussed, this will usually depend on the size and structure of the premises). By-Laws/Special Rules - The all important (and often disputed) set of rules that all residents (both owners and tenants), in the strata scheme are expected to abide by. They can vary greatly between premises, but will generally cover topics such as safety, security, the keeping of pets, sound rules and the use of common property. The relevance of certain rules will change over time, and as such, owners are commonly invited to draft and propose rules that are voted upon in general meetings.

C Chairperson - A chairperson is a key position held within an executive committee, with the designated person working closely with the treasurer and secretary. The primary role of a chairperson is to preside over all meetings that are hosted, and ensure that they run to agenda. Further, to ensure that decisions are made in line with the by-laws that are set out by the committee. Children - Most schemes will contain a number of bylaws/special rules that relate to children, and primarily to ensure that they remain safe when on common property. This is particularly important in the context of insurance and public liability. A well-constructed set of by-laws/special rules will identify and manage the

• • • • • • •

All external or boundary walls (including doors and windows) Floors including a ramp or stairway Boundary walls including any door, window or other structure within the wall and their working parts Ceramic tiles originally attached to a common property surface (e.g. the floor or boundary wall). Pipes in the common property or servicing more than one lot Electrical wiring in the common property or servicing more than one lot Floor boards originally installed Certificate of Title

A document that details who has ownership rights to a property. The Owners Corporation should also hold a title deed that confirms their rights to the common property via entitlement. The certificate of title should be registered at the respective office in each state. Common Seal - The official stamp that an Owners Corporation can use to indicate its official agreement. Strictly speaking, the stamp must show the Owners Corporation’s distinctive number, which includes the registration number of the strata plan. The stamp can be applied whenever the Owners Corporation executes a document.



Company Nominee - A person nominated by a company (in writing) to vote on its behalf at meetings. Company Title - A slightly different style of land ownership where a person receives the entitlement to live in a residential building by acquiring shares in an incorporated company that owns the building. As with a standard purchase of property, the purchase of shares in the company gives the shareholder the contractual right to occupy and use a specific space within the building (as well as being subject to the house rules that govern things such as common property). Covenant Chargee - A person or legal entity who holds an agreement over the property which can impose an obligation to engage in or refrain from a specified action (e.g. an agreement to build a fence).

D Delegation of Power - As it relates to body corporates, voting rights are generally allocated according to the number of units (as opposed to the number of individuals). If an individual owns 50% of the units in a strata complex, they will be entitled to 50% of the votes. This is important in terms of understanding the hierarchy of power, which in essence can see decisions from the body corporate flow through to the executive committee, which in turn may go down to the delegated officer and/or subcommittees that are set up for a specific purpose (e.g. to provide advice on a specialized piece of legislation).


property. Executive Committee (EC) - The Owners Corporation will elect an executive committee that makes many of the day-to-day decisions about running the scheme on its behalf. The Owners Corporation will usually reserve the right to over rule executive committee decisions. Furthermore, they can limit what they can make decisions about, which may include the imposing of a number of obligations and/or restrictions. These rules are generally discussed and agreed to at the AGM. Executive Committee Meeting (ECM) - A meeting of the executive committee members which excludes non-committee members unless prior authorization has been given. Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) - These meetings may occur during the year as required. Examples of when these will be called include to: • • •

There are a number of ways to convene an Extraordinary General Meeting, depending on the legislation for your jurisdiction. The most common ways are: • •

Election of the executive committee - The executive committee is elected (or re-elected) at each AGM. The committee’s first decision will be to agree on who holds the key positions of chairperson, secretary and treasurer. Exclusive Use - A special right granted to an owner to use a part of the common property (e.g. the use of a garden bed or car space). The right may be granted for a purpose that ultimately benefits others in the

Change, cancel or make new by-laws/ special rules Appoint or dismiss a strata managing agent Agree on the need for capital works and any associated funding requirements to support the activity (be it via a one off levy or through seeking finance via bank)

By majority vote of the executive committee If owners entitled to vote, and who together hold at least one quarter of the total unit entitlements, give a written notice to the secretary asking for the meeting to be held.

F Financial - Strata ‘jargon’ that is often used to identify an owner who is up to date with all of their levy payments and other financial contributions. First safety inspections - The Owners Corporation is responsible at all times for ensuring that access is given to all parts of the scheme so that necessary first safety inspections can take place as required. It is



important that all property owners are also aware of their obligations as it relates to providing access to their property for these inspections.

and should not use any part of common property as their own garden unless a specific motion is passed to allow this.

First Annual General Meeting (FAGM) - The first meeting of owners and other interested parties (as noted on the strata roll). This meeting should generally occur as soon as is practical.

Guests/Visitors - In essence, another topic that should be covered by common sense principles. An owner/occupier should at all times ensure that invited guests are behaving in a way that will not disturb other residents and their guests. This provision applies irrespective of whether the individual is within private premises or on common property. The behavior of guests is quite often covered within by-laws, particularly when it comes to issues such as the use of a pool and visitor car parking spaces.

Floor Coverings - Increasingly, a number of strata schemes have by-laws that require floors to be treated and/or covered to prevent noise being heard in other lots. The increasing prevalence of highrise apartments is driving this. Rooms that are exempt from this are typically kitchens, laundries, lavatories and the bathrooms of a property, although it is important to review the by-laws/special rules to have a full understanding of what is required. Furniture - It is important to notify the executive committee where plans have been made to move large objects through common areas. This assists the committee in terms of them being able to support the move wherever possible. (e.g. by covering up the lifts to avoid damage). Some schemes will have by-laws/ special rules in place which will specify times when residents may move in/out.

G Garbage - Whilst this would appear to fall squarely in to the category of common sense, it is the responsibility of the owner/occupier to maintain a clean, dry and adequately covered garbage bin in their lot. Furthermore, that all garbage is securely wrapped. Depending on the cycle, garbage should generally be placed outside no earlier than 12 hours before collection. Gardens/Backyards - A question raised often in general meetings, is what the owner has the right to do in respect to their backyard. Certain activities may be classified as alterations, which attract their own set of rules should they fundamentally change the appearance of the building. The general rule is that as long as the backyard is part of the lot, the owner can do what they want as long as it doesn’t breach a by-law (e.g. damaging common property or creating excess noise).

H Harmony: Industry jargon that is used to describe the general level of ‘owner contentment’ that exists within a scheme. Having an active and consultative approach to identifying and managing issues as they arrive is usually the best approach to achieving the right harmony outcomes. This is generally a topic raised during general meetings, with the result at any one time being influenced by things such as disputes between neighbours, local government councils, other owners, the executive committee and many other individuals. Home Warranty Insurance - This type of insurance was created to protect consumers when a builder and/ or contractor (e.g. plumber, carpenter) passes away, cannot be found or becomes insolvent. In essence, the insurance is there to cover situations where the builder is unable to fulfill their obligation to the consumer. In NSW, this insurance generally covers situations where a builder is unwilling to honour such commitments and their licence is suspended for failing to comply with a money (Compensation) order in favour of the homeowner made by a court or the consumer, trader and tenancy tribunal. Exclusions, limits and conditions apply, and it is recommended that you read your policy to understand what situations are and aren’t covered.

I Initial Period - A period of time that commences on

An owner or occupier must not damage any lawn, garden, shrub, plant or flower on the common property StrataCall


the day that the Owners Corporation is constituted (date of registration of the plan) and ends on the day when there are proprietors of lots, other than the original proprietor, the sum of whose unit entitlements are at least 1/3 of the aggregate unit entitlement (or as determined by legislation). Insurance - The relevance and importance of insurance is something that flows through right from the building of properties to the ongoing management of them once they become lots within a strata scheme. The Owners Corporation is responsible for making sure that all necessary insurance policies are in place and are up to date. All policies should sit with an appropriate insurer to minimize risk should a policy need to be enacted. Different types of insurance include: •

Building insurance – This type of policy covers the building if damaged or destroyed by fire, lightning, an explosion or any other cause that is stated within the policy. The purpose of the policy is to cover the reinstatement or replacement of the building to put it in the same condition as it was when new, remove debris and cover all expenses that area required to bring the place back to its original state (e.g. architects).

Public liability insurance – This insurance ensures that there is sufficient cover for death and/or injury that results from any activity for which the Owners Corporation could be deemed responsible.

Workers compensation insurance – This type of insurance ensures that all individuals who are working on a property are covered for workers compensation.

Voluntary workers insurance – This type of insurance covers the Owners Corporate against damage that it may become liable for when a person completes work as a volunteer and on behalf on the Owners Corporation.



L Laundry Items - Specific by-laws may prevent an owner and/or occupier from hanging washing towels, bed sheets, clothing or anything else on any part of the strata scheme (e.g. on the balcony) where it can be seen from outside the building. Levies - In terms of a definition, levies are contributions by the owners to the Owners Corporation to cover regular expenditure, as well as to fund future capital works activities. In some states, the amount that is paid by each owner is regulated by the unit entitlement of their respective lot, with contributions being splilt between the administrative fund and the sinking fund. As defined in this guide, the administrative fund primarily exists to fund day-to-day operation expenses, with the sinking fund in place to fund long-term future expenses. In terms of the longer term expenses, the sinking fund can be utilized to cover anything from repainting of the common area, landscaping, elevator maintenance through to the addition of solar panels. From a lot owners perspective, one should be aware from the outset as to what the levy will be, and more importantly, what the state of the property is and what the levy will cover. Levies in strata schemes that have a number of shared facilities can quite often be expensive, particularly as it relates to swimming pools, saunas, tennis courts, etc. Levy Register - A historical record of levy contributions made. Unpaid Levies - Unpaid levies may incur interest if not paid on time. If the unpaid levy goes beyond a set period of time (usually defined within the by-laws), the Owners Corporation has the ability to take debt recovery action. Conversely, an Owners Corporation may also consider the provision of a discount where levy payments are received before they are due. Lot - A lot is defined as a dwelling within a strata scheme that comprises the living space within the boundary walls of the property space. Car spaces, garages, laundries, marinas etc can also form part of a lot or be a separate lot themselves.


Other motions to be considered at the meeting

Minutes - A documented record of all discussions, decisions and action items arising from meetings held by the Owners Corporation and executive committee. General meeting minutes should be sent out with the notice for the next general meeting (or if possible, earlier).

Motions that need a special or unanimous resolution

A copy of the minutes of the last general meeting

If it is the AGM, a motion for the election of the executive committee and the number of members that will form the group

Minute Book - A document repository (that is usually hardback/bound, but may be electronic), that holds the notices and minutes of all meetings held by the Owners Corporation and executive committee. The minute book is important and is commonly used as evidence in disputes where there are differences of opinion in regards to what was agreed to in meetings. Model By-Laws - A standard set of rules that can be utilized as the actual by-laws for a strata scheme or as the template from which specific by-laws are created for the community.

Noticeboard - Whilst perhaps a minor detail, it is important to keep in mind that a noticeboard is only required if it is stated as such in the by-laws. Where a noticeboard does not exist, all meetings and other notices will be sent to each owner directly.



Parking - Another common source of discussion, and at times, debate amongst Owners Corporations relates to parking rules. Generally owners and residents cannot park on the common property without the explicit permission of the Owners Corporation. Visitors are invited to park in designated visitor parking spaces where an allowance has been made for them.

Noise - One of the most common ways that this is seen is often in conflicts about noise, and as such, strata schemes have specific by-laws in place that dictate what is and isn’t acceptable.

Parking Lot - A lot designed primarily for storage of boats and/or motor vehicles. This type of lot is commonly also known as a utility lot.

Motion - A proposal that is put forward for consideration at general meetings.

As with many strata by-laws, common sense should prevail, although it is also worth noting that visitors are generally expected to be made aware and abide by these same rules when visiting. Most by-laws will included remedies to issue breach notices and/or fine individuals that do not comply with the agreed upon noise rules. Notice of meetings - Notice of both an Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) and an Annual General Meeting (AGM) must be given to each owner of a lot in advance. Notices for a general meeting generally contain: •

Pest Treatments - Most states will include regulations that require residents of multiple occupancy dwellings to be notified when licensed pest controllers apply pesticides to any areas of their parking lot. Poll - A method of voting at meetings where each owner’s vote has a value based on the lot’s entitlement. Proxy - A person appointed (usually required in writing), by an owner or mortgagee to attend a meeting and vote on the appointer’s behalf. The proxy form should:

A motion to confirm the minutes of the last meeting



State the duration of the proxy. Typically for a period of time or a specific meeting State which matters the persons acting as proxy can vote on Detail how the person acting as the proxy should vote on a motion for the appointment or continuation in office of a strata management agent Have no effect if the person who gave the proxy attends the meeting and votes in person

• •

Pruning Trees - If the trees are common property, it is the Owners Corporation’s responsibility. If the trees are part of the owner’s lot, then the owner needs to ensure that they manage them. Having a thorough understanding of the by-laws is usually the best way to understand what requirements apply.

Q Quorum - The minimum number of eligible attendees at a meeting before a motion can be formally voted upon (keeping in mind that the motion needs to be included in the agenda beforehand).

R Repairs - The rules that govern repairs are relatively simple (in theory). The Owners Corporation must repair anything that relates to common property, and the owners must repair anything within their lot. In practice though, this is not always the case. As a general rule, anything that is inside the airspace of the unit is the owner’s responsibility and anything that is outside is the Owners Corporation. Again, it is important to have a clear understanding of the by-laws for any specific rules that relate to repairs, and ownership clarifications for any particular item(s) within the premises. In terms of managing repairs that are Owners Corporation responsibilities, the managing agent or secretary of the Owners Corporation should be notified in the first instance. For large/expensive



problems, a general meeting may be required to agree on the next steps. Resolution - A decision reached at a meeting based on a motion that is considered at a meeting. There are three types of resolutions. • •

Ordinary resolution: a decision of the meeting (made after the taking of a vote) Special resolution: a special resolution is where no more than 25% are cast against the motion, (based on unit entitlement). This includes votes in person and also proxy votes. Unanimous resolution: a unanimous resolution is one where no one votes against the motion. If a unanimous resolution is required, all owners should be at the meeting or should participate in voting via a proxy. This includes owners where their levies are not paid and up to date.

S Safety Audit - An inspection carried out by a qualified professional on the current status of the health and safety standards for the scheme. Secretary - One of the three main office holders of the executive committee, with the other two being the chairperson and the treasurer. The key responsibilities of the secretary include: • The preparation of minutes of meetings and putting a motion to confirm the previous minutes • Issuing notice for the Owners Corporation and its executive committee • Managing the strata roll and ensuring that it is kept up to date at all times of the year • The provision of information on behalf of the Owners Corporation • Convening meetings of the Owners Corporation and its executive committee (apart from the first AGM) Sinking Fund - A sinking fund is specifically for the management of major repair and replacement work on a scheme. This can cover a wide variety of activities, including everything from the re-painting of the property through to the placement of solar panels.

The general idea of the sinking fund is that it should ensure that there will be enough money available to pay for expenses when substantial work needs to be undertaken. SP - Commonly used industry jargon for the term Strata Plan. Special Levy - An at times unpopular additional levy contribution that is paid by the owners to cover unplanned, unexpected or underestimated expenditures. Special Resolution - A resolution that requires at least 75% of votes present to be in favour of the motion. As per the other votes, the concept of unit entitlement comes in to play, and the vote is based off this calculation. Failure to reach 75% of the votes in favour will see the motion being defeated. Strata Inspections - In some states, prospective purchasers are permitted to inspect the books and records of an Owners Corporation. Alternatively they can purchase a report that provides records of the body corporate and other information that may be of relevance (particularly when a prospective purchaser wants to make an assessment of important details such as the amount of insurance cover). Strata Managing Agent (SMA) - In most states, a suitably licensed and qualified professional entity (or individual) that is appointed by the Owners Corporation to manage the affairs of the strata scheme in accordance with all responsibilities that have been delegated to them.

U Unanimous Resolution - A resolution that requires 100% of the votes at a meeting to be in favour of the motion (including votes from owners who are not up to date in terms of their levy payments). Unit Entitlement - Each lot within a property is given an entitlement. The amount of the unit entitlement will vary depending on a number of things, such as the size of the lot and what is contained within. These entitlements govern what percentage of the annual budget levies will be paid by each lot owner. These same entitlements transfer across to voting rights in most states. Utility Lot - A lot designed for the storage or accommodation of boats, motor vehicles or other goods. It is not to be used as a residence/ for commercial use.

V Vehicles - An owner or occupier must not park or stand a vehicle on common property without the written permission of the Owners Corporation. Voting - Each executive committee has one vote at a meeting. A decision on any motion at an executive committee meeting is made by a majority vote.

Strata Plan - The actual plan registered at the respective land titles office showing the building on the land, the lots that make up the plan and all areas within the premises that are deemed to be common property. Strata Roll - The register of the owners of every lot in a strata scheme including any utility lots. Strata Search - A strata search is where an owner or mortgagee of a lot, or a person authorised by them, requests the Owners Corporation to allow an inspection to be carried out on the records and accounts of the strata scheme.





By Georgia Madden




If you're not in a position to knock down the wall between your small bathroom and the neighbouring room, then you'll have to accept that you can't change its actual dimensions. But you can do a lot to fool the eye into believing that it's far larger than it actually is by reconfiguring the space, accentuating its best features and removing all the visual clutter. Use our 12 tips to transform that poky space you once dreaded stepping inside into a delightful bathroom retreat.

1. Use light colours When it comes to wall paint, choose pale colours that reflect the light rather than darker shades that will draw the light out of a room. This goes for tiles on the walls and floor too - light-coloured tiles, especially gloss ones with a reflective quality, will bounce the light around a small space, brighten it up and make it feel larger. 2. Add mirrors A large mirror in the bathroom is not only practical, it will also visually increase the sense of space. A long mirror will make the room appear taller, and a horizontal one will make it seem wider. Another trick is to position the mirror opposite a window where it will capture the light and reflect the view. 3. Increase the natural light The more natural light entering your small bathroom, the larger and more welcoming it will feel. If possible, replace small windows with larger ones that let more natural light enter. Or, at the very least remove any heavy window treatments that block the light from coming in. If privacy is an issue, consider opaque or frosted glass. 4. Install smart lighting Banish any dark corners in your small bathroom by installing artificial lighting that brightens the whole space. Opt for higher-wattage bulbs for a brighter look overall, and mix ambient lighting with directional spots that draw attention where you want and away from where you don't. 5. Add an interesting accent Detract attention from the bathroom's limited space by adding an interesting visual accent. Go for something slim and wall-mounted that won't take up precious floor space, such as a fabulous print on the wall or a dramatic, light-reflecting wallpaper on one wall. Make sure anything you choose can withstand the bathroom's moist conditions, and keep in mind the fules about lengthening and widening a space - a wallpaper with a pattern that runs vertically will make a low ceiling feel higher, while a horizontal-running one will make it room feel wider. 6. Take the furniture off the floor Replace bulky cabinetry with a vanity and toilet that attaches to the wall so that it appears to float, or a narrow pedestal sink. This will instantly boost your floor space and create a feeling of increased space in the

room. Look to see where else you could take furniture off the floor, such as replacing floor-standing storage units with wall-mounted shelves or wall-mounted cabinets. 7. Look for recessed storage options This is an option many people overlook when they're trying to find additional storage space in a small bathroom, which is a shame as recessed storage is practical, modern and won't take up valuable space in the room. Look for hollow walls next to the bath, inside the shower or above the toilet where you could add recessed storage for shampoos, spare towels or toiletries. 8. Remove clutter The number one enemy of a small space is clutter, as it instantly fills up the space and makes it look messy. Find homes inside drawers or cabinets for toiletries and bathroom accessories so they're not taking over your surfaces, then look around to see what else is creating visual clutter. Is there a bulky towel rack occupying one wall that could be re-positioned out of the way behind the door, or a basket of spare toilet rolls on the floor that could be removed altogether? Remove any unnecessary decorative items such as vases and jewellery stands that only fill up the space, and be ruthless about getting rid of things you don't really use. 9. Seek out low-key fixtures Large, fussy detailing will only clutter up a small space, so it's far better to look for neat fixtures and fittings that blend into the background as much as possible. Look for small, streamlined taps and choose push-touch doors over bulky doorhandles. When it comes to tiles, larger floor and wall tiles will give you a greater sense of space than acres of tiny mosaic ones, and they'll have less grouting between them to create visual fuss. 10. Add a frameless glass shower screen A frameless glass shower screen will let the light through and make space feel more open. 11. Replace a hinged door A hinged door that opens into the bathroom will instantly add bulk, and significantly reduce the amount of space you have to move around. Replace it with a neat, sliding door that slots into a recessed cavity when open. 12. Store toiletries in co-ordinated containers A clash of colours and patterns is the first thing you'll notice when you go into a neutral bathroom that's piled high with everyday toiletries such as shampoos and handsoaps. If you can't put it away, then store or decant it into co-ordinated ceramic holders that will all blend neatly into the background. StrataCall



Kitchen Lighting Schemes

The kitchen is no longer just a place to cook, but a spot to eat, work and spend time with friends. As a result, a good kitchen lighting scheme is more important than ever. A single overhead light source is unlikely to be enough to allow you to perform all these tasks safely and efficiently, and show your kitchen off to its best. Instead consider a multi-layered scheme that combines target accent lighting to illuminate your prep and cooking zones, ambient lighting to create a warm and welcoming atmosphere, and accent lighting to highlight any special features. PLAN YOUR LIGHTING SCHEME If you’ve got time on your side, outline your lighting scheme at the planning stage. The kitchen is the one room in the home where appliances, furniture and fittings are unlikely to move, so think about where they’ll be positioned and install permanent wiring and fittings to best complement them. While it's true that you can always add clip-on lights to shelving and cupboards above your prep or cooking areas at a later stage, it’s less than ideal to have trailing wires in the kitchen, so it’s best to think about exactly how you’ll use your kitchen at the outset. Install separate switches for the different forms of lighting in your kitchen as it will be you to control task lighting separately from ambient lighting and accent lighting, making it easy to transform your kitchen from a functional space to a more decorative one in an instant. Dimmers are a great idea as they allow you to adjust lighting levels to suit your mood, say from cooking 76


By Georgia Madden

to dining. Make sure switches are positioned at least 30 cm away from the sink so that there’s no chance of electricity getting in contact with water. TASK LIGHTING This form of lighting casts a targeted beam of light at a specific work area - in the kitchen this is generally the stovetop, benchtop prep area, kitchen sink, dishwasher and island unit. Spotlights recessed into the ceiling or on track are the most popular forms of kitchen task lighting, but other good choices include directional spotlights, height adjustable pendants over the island unit and under-cupboard downlights, all of which will allow you to read recipes easily, cut the prep food safely, or catch up on your emails without squinting. Think about where you’ll be standing or sitting in the kitchen at the planning stage as the last thing you want is to be working in your own shadow. Opt for task lighting that’s positioned above or in front of you, rather than behind. Other spots in the kitchen to consider adding task lighting include the pantry, so that you can see all the way to the back of the shelves with ease, and above or inside deep opening drawers. AMBIENT LIGHTING The kitchen should be a warm, welcoming space, particularly if you plan to dine or entertain there as well as cook, and this is where ambient lighting comes in. The aim is to mimic the warmth and breadth of natural

KITCHEN LIGHTING SCHEMES daylight as far as possible - think ceiling pendants or a series of wall-mounted lights that wash every surface of the kitchen with a soft, soothing glow. A dimmer switch is particularly useful with ambient lighting, as it allows you to alter the lighting levels to create different moods at different times of day and night. Position your ambient lighting to make the most of any reflective surfaces in the kitchen, such as a stainless steel fridge or splashbacks, or a glossy granite benchtop, as it will bounce light into every corner. ACCENT LIGHTING Even the simplest things - a row of glass jars or a

collection of cookbooks with brightly-coloured spines - look striking when properly lit with accent lighting such as low voltage downlights set into shelving or concealed tubular lighting. This form of lighting can also be used to highlight any interesting fixtures in your kitchen, such as floor-level uplighters at the base of an island unit so that it appears to float, a ceiling spotlight trained on a decorative rangehood or intricately patterned benchtop, or even an illuminated tap. While accent lighting doesn’t have the practical importance of task or ambient lighting, it’s just the thing to add depth and personality to a kitchen space particularly important if it opens onto other areas of the home from where it will be clearly visible.


77 02 9011 7099

Building Management & Facilities Management Whether it is a commercial, residential or mixed use site, we offer comprehensive services tailored to suit. Our managers combine their hands on practical knowledge, supportive customer service and precise administration skills to reach positive outcomes for building users.

Concierge Services The modern concierge is savvy, diligent and emotionally intelligent. Our concierge team accepts the growing and varied needs of our clients and strives to provide superior service, complementing your needs each day.

Consultancy Services Sage recognises a need in the industry for ad-hoc consultancy to assist Owners Corporations, Developers and Strata Managers. We offer this one-of-a-kind tailored consultancy service to assist you in establishing where improvement is required and how to apply it to the benefit for your asset.





Apartment no. 401, Latitude, no. 10 Parramatta Street, South Cronulla Price: Built: Size: Features:

Inspect: Website: Last traded:

$3.25M 2012 215sqm. internal plus 64sqm. entertaining deck Three bedrooms, three bathrooms, study. Views of Cronulla Beach. Triple garage plus 26sqm of basement storage By appointment through Suzanne Hibberd of Abode Property on 0414 344 222 Just released

the facade. This naturally-weathering tactile outer ‘skin’ not only looks dramatic, it acts as a durable shield against the sun and other elements. The refinement continues in the lobby, with textured Bluestone flooring and a feature wall of marble fulfilling the promise of entering a special place. Adding colour and bouquet to the property is resortstyle landscaping – exotic shrubs and plants, lowmaintenance gardens, a large grassed communal area with seating, and mature trees providing shade and screening.

This is the only penthouse in Latitude, which was completed in October.

Just one apartment remains at South Cronulla’s finest apartment development.

Developed by the award-winning HELM, the penthouse showcases comfort, substance and prestige that sets a new benchmark in luxury, style and quality in an area many regard as the Shire’s ‘dress circle’.

The fully furnished penthouse at Latitude showcases comfort, substance and prestige that sets a new benchmark in luxury, style and excellence in an area many regard as the Shire’s ‘dress circle’.

The penthouse has: • Magnificent timber flooring in the kitchen and living areas. • An 1.8-metre wide, north-facing, undercover deck with BBQ and Vintec wine fridge • A chef’s designer kitchen with two Miele pyrolytic 700mm ovens; two Miele integrated fridge freezers with an ice maker; 700mm-wide Miele induction cooktop; Miele steamer, combination oven, microwave and dishwasher; Schweigen isodrive rangehood; Miele in-built coffee machine. • A Jetmaster fireplace • Skylights • Integrated joinery throughout • Marble bathrooms with luxuriant showers, a freestanding bath, Villeroy & Boch fixtures, heated flooring and towel ladders • An oversized laundry with Miele washer-dryer • Ducted reverse-cycle air-conditioning, and access to broadband and pay television. • A CBUS control system

Latitude has been created by HELM in Parramatta Street, within walking distance of everything Cronulla has to offer – the Esplanade, the beaches, the cafes and the train station.

Latitude is within walking distance of everything Cronulla has to offer – the Esplanade, the beaches, the cafes and the train station. The three-storey building has clean geometric lines, rhythmic walls, twin wing-like roofs, porphyry stone feature walls laid in a random pattern, masonry that is rendered and painted in a sophisticated colour scheme, glass balustrades, and a combination of fixed and moveable louvre screens. Complementing the streamlined look are horizontal rolled seam blades of zinc on highlighted sections of

The three-storey building has clean geometric lines, rhythmic walls, twin wing-like roofs, porphyry stone feature walls laid in a random pattern, masonry that is rendered and painted in a sophisticated colour scheme, glass balustrades, and a combination of fixed and moveable louvre screens. Complementing the streamlined look are horizontal rolled seam blades of zinc on highlighted sections of the facade. This naturally-weathering tactile outer ‘skin’ not only looks dramatic, it acts as a durable shield against the sun and other elements. The refinement continues in the lobby, with textured Bluestone flooring and a feature wall of marble fulfilling the promise of entering a special place. Adding colour and bouquet to the property is resortstyle landscaping – exotic shrubs and plants, lowmaintenance gardens, a large grassed communal area with seating, and mature trees providing shade and screening. Suzanne Hibberd, the licensee of Abode Property Agents, says Latitude has the only new high quality apartments in South Cronulla. “Abundant storage, generous security garages, oversized entertaining terraces, light-filled interiors, floor plans optimised to enjoy maximum solar access and space whilst retaining privacy makes Latitude very special,” Ms Hibberd said. StrataCall



LAST CHANCE TO SNAP UP A PIECE OF SYDNEY’S OWN MEDITERRANEAN Demand for apartment living in Sydney’s inner west has hit new heights with The Waterfront, a Mediterranean-inspired community, now at over 95 per cent sold. Sekisui House, who purchased the site at Wentworth Point (formerly Homebush Bay) in October 2009, has developed five precincts – Corsica, Catania, Messina, Alora and St Tropez – with a total of 1155 apartments. Currently, only 69 two and three bedroom apartments remain on offer. Edward Natour, Sekisui House Senior Development Manager, said the community’s buzzing social scene sets it apart from other developments. “The Waterfront has a very special community atmosphere. Residents are very involved and love organising events for the community. There’s Friday night barbecue and Bocce, Music in the Piazza and the annual Euro Festa, a family-friendly festival that draws crowds from all over Sydney. “The community also has a long list 82


of clubs including a kid’s playgroup, a walking, cycling and kayaking club and even a dining club. “There’s always something happening at The Waterfront and potential buyers are making their move on the remaining apartments. They know this is their last chance to buy into this thriving community,” Mr Natour said. One long-time resident, and Executive of the Wentworth Point Community Association, John Spooner describes The Waterfront as a ‘real oasis’. Moving from Castle Hill, in Sydney’s North West, John and his wife Jill have called this community home for the past five years. “Living at The Waterfront is just so convenient. We have coffee shops, restaurants and a state of the art gym. It’s also an easy walk to the stadium (Allphones Arena at Sydney Olympic Park) – we’re members so it’s great for us. “Every week the residents get together to organise a Friday night barbecue. We know people in every building because of that barbecue – there’s a real

community spirit here,” Mr Spooner said. With Corsica already sold out, two and three bedroom apartments are still available in Messina, Catania, Alora and St Tropez, The Waterfront’s the last and most highly anticipated precinct. Prices start from $645,000 for a two-bedroom apartment and $795,000 for three-bedroom configurations. “The Waterfront’s location is ideal. Nestled in Wentworth Point, one of Sydney’s few master-planned suburbs, everything is being meticulously designed. With developments such as a pedestrian bridge, which will link The Waterfront to Rhodes, and a proposed ferry wharf, the area will continue to blossom,” Mr Natour said. The community, which will ultimately be home to approximately 7000 residents, has attracted a diverse mix of buyers including owneroccupiers, first home buyers and empty nesters. The Waterfront is also a rental success, enjoying a vacancy rate of less than 2 per cent.

Strata 101 1. Strata Levies 2. Strata Schemes 3. Construction Contracts 4. Creating New By-Laws




When you bought your apartment you would have noticed a regular payment of fees called a strata levy. Perhaps you make that payment every due date but never really thought about what those fees cover. Being an apartment owner automatically makes you a member of the owners corporation or body corporate, but did you know that your responsibility for your property doesn't just stop at your apartment's front door. The fees you pay go into the administration and maintenance of your apartment's strata plan. Legally your owners corporation or body corporate is obliged to keep the building's common property in a good state and serviceable repair and the levy you pay partially goes towards the maintenance or administration, while the rest goes to the sinking fund. From time to time you may also be required to pay a special levy... but more on that later. Does your apartment have a gym, pool, lifts, landscaped gardens, or perhaps even a concierge? To have these costs money to run, maintain and repair, and that money comes from the administration levy. The amount of levies paid by owners is decided at each annual general meeting if the owners corporation by majority vote and is supported by a budget. It is also based on the unit entitlements of each owner - the larger the lot, the greater the levy. The administrative fund covers the day-to-day regular expenses of the scheme. Unless the scheme is selfmanaged, these fees are collected by the strata management company on the owners corporation's behalf. The fund covers the following: • Cleaning of common areas such as entrances • Gardening • Utility bills such as electricity and water for common area usage • Insurance premiums and excesses • Minor repairs and maintenance • Building valuations (to ensure the sum insured is kept up-to-date) • Running costs of the Executive Committee • Auditing and tax return fees • Bank charges, GST and other taxes • Strata management fees Every scheme is different and has various needs and requirements so it's impossible to quantify what percentage of the fees each of these items makes up.

A proportion of the fees as go to the sinking fund. This is also a legal requirement for strata schemes and covers planned and unplanned expenditure on maintenance, replacement and repairs in the future. The aim is to alleviate a lack of funds for large-scale capital works, particularly in older buildings. Having a healthy sinking fund allows schemes to be properly maintained and also adds resale value to all the properties within the scheme. The sinking fund must be reviewed every five years which is meant to enable owners corporations to budget better and think about their longer term maintenance plans so they aren't reliant on calling in special levies. Most owners corporations make recommendations in the plan when setting the amount, but may not stick to these and are not usually expected to, as circumstances may change over time requiring a reprioritisation of expenditure. The last levy to discuss is the special levy which is raised when there are either not enough funds in the administrative fund or the sinking fund to pay for expenses which are deemed to be non-essential. These could be replacement of carpets in common areas, interior painting or landscaping. In contrast, essential expenses such as replacing lifts, fixing concrete cancer or upgrading to meet fire safety requirements should be factored in to either the administrative or sinking funds. Special levies are required from time-to-time for the upkeep of certain parts of the building not covered by the other levies and should be expected by lot owners. Remember, maintaining the building is the responsibility of the owners corporation and is a legal requirement, but not only that, it also enhances the value of the individual units. In today's property market with its highs and lows, anything that reasonably adds value must be music to the ears of the owners and investors alike. Next time the annual general meeting comes around why not have a look at the budget and see for yourself how the levy is broken down. You may be surprised to see what costs are and come to appreciate that you by not living in a house where all the costs are borne by the owner, and instead the costs are divided amongst many owners in apartment living.

Information supplied BCS 84



What is a Strata Scheme? A Strata Scheme is a building, or collection of buildings, where individuals each own a small portion known as a 'lot' (for example, an apartment or townhouse) but where there is also common property (eg. external walls, windows, roof, driveways, foyer, fences, lawns and gardens). Every owner shares the ownership of the common property. The original concept of Strata Title was to allow people to own their units in multi-level buildings. While it was originally expected that strata schemes would all be vertical blocks of flats, some Strata Schemes are all on the one level (eg. townhouse and villa developments). Strata schemes vary in size - some comprise only two lots, others have more than 700 lots. In addition, Strata Schemes do not just apply to residential developments. There are also commercial, industrial mixed use, hotel and retirement village strata developments. Before Strata Title, the most common way of buying into a high-rise was to buy shares in the company which owned the building, which gave the right to occupy one or more of the units. This way of organising property ownership is called 'Company Title'. There are still some company title buildings in existence. What do I own in a Strata Scheme? The major difference between owning a house and owning a unit or apartment (known as a 'lot') in a Strata Scheme, is that the external walls, the floor and roof do not usually belong to the lot owner. These areas are usually common property and the maintenance and repair of these parts of the building is usually the responsibility of the Owners Corporation. As it is common property, the lot owner is not able to alter or renovate these areas without the permission of the Owners Corporation.

building. Usually the four main walls, the ceiling and roof and the floor are common property. The dividing walls within the lot (for example, the wall between the kitchen and lounge room), floor coverings such as carpet, and fixtures such as baths, toilet bowls and bench tops are all the property of the lot owner. The key concept to remember is that the lot owner effectively owns the airspace (and anything included in the airspace) inside the boundary walls, floors and ceiling of the lot. Airspace can also extend to balconies and courtyards. You should get proper advice about ownership of a tree in the courtyard or responsibility to maintain a pergola covering a balcony or courtyard. They could be in your airspace and therefore, would need to be maintained at your cost. DEFINITIONS Common property: is all the areas of land and building not included in any 'lot'. It is jointly owned by all owners and the Owners Corporation is responsible for its management. Lot: includes a unit, townhouse, parcel, garage that you have a right of ownership over. It is made up of cubic air space and is generally formed by the inner surface of the boundary walls, the under surface of the ceiling and the upper surface of the floor. Lot owner: a person(s) or company that buys a lot and whose name is shown on the Register at the Department of Lands. Owners Corporation: is made up of all the owners in the Strata Scheme. Each lot owner is automatically a part of the Owners Corporation and has a right to participate in the decision making. It has responsibility for the overall management of the scheme.

In effect, in most Strata Schemes, the lot owner owns the inside of the unit but not the main structure of the

Information supplied by the Office of Fair Trading StrataCall



Owners corporations often enter into construction contracts with builders, architects, project managers, contract administrators and other contractors, dealing with a wide range of issues, such as adding to or altering the structures erected on the property, repairs and upgrade works. These works commonly involved large sums of money and deal with complex issues, e.g. those which arise in relation to fire safety works. Often, an owners corporation relies on its managing agent to deal with such issues, not appreciating that its managing agent is not in a position to provide legal advice in relation to the complex legal issues which arise from such contracts. Construction contracts are generally negotiated using one of the construction industry standard contracts as a template, such as those published by Standards Australia, the Master Builders Association, the Housing Industry Association and NSW Fair Trading. Each of these has advantages and disadvantages, but all require some modification to deal properly with a range of legal and practical issues pertaining to strata schemes. For example: 1. The price, the nature of the works, the role and liability of the particular party and/or the scheme's particular circumstances may necessitate specific provisions not contained in the industry standard contracts. 2.

The owners corporation will generally be required to give the contractor access to the common property and to lots. The owners corporation may incur liabilities to the contractor if access is frustrated by owners and/or tenants, necessitating tripartite arrangements between the owners corporation, the contractor and owners/ occupiers.

insurance requirements under the Home Building Act 1989. It is not unusual for contractors to carry out work without effecting such insurance, which can cause owners corporations serious problems. 4. Issues may arise under the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation 2001, which in some cases requires the appointment of a principal contractor and imposes obligations in relation to site induction training, safety management plans and other matters. Such issues are generally beyond the expertise of the owners corporation thereby placing the owners corporation at considerable risk. 5. Issue may arise in relation to variation of the contract price or the construction period, the potential for which may not be appreciated by the owners corporation at the time of entering into the contract. 6. Issues may arise where certification of works meets the minimum mandatory standards but does not meet the owners corporation's reasonable expectations. 7. Owners corporations' attempts to seek redress may be frustrated, if there are problems with the works and proper provision has not been made for the allocation of liability between the contractor or between multiple contractors. It should be noted that many short form contracts are not suitable as they do not comply with the requirements for residential building works under the Home Building Act 1989.

3. Issues may arise in relation to homeowner warranty

Information supplied by Bannermans 86



The Owners Corporation can change existing bylaws, or create new ones, for the better enjoyment or management of the strata scheme. Most by-laws can be changed or created by special resolution passed at a duly convened general meeting of the Owners Corporation. Notification of any new or changed by-law must be given to the Registrar General's Office. This can be done by lodging for registration a 'Change of By-Laws' dealing form. The approved 'Change of By-Laws' dealing form (15CB) contains a certificate of the Owners Corporation which should be completed by inserting the Strata Plan number, the date on which the resolution was passed and the relevant sections of the Strata Schemes Management Act under which the by-law was made. All by-laws are given a number and any additional bylaw should be numbered consecutively commencing with the number 'Special By-law'. The terms of the by-law should be clearly set out in the space provided on the form. Annexures can be added if required. The common seal of the Owners Corporation must be affixed pursuant to s238 Strata Schemes Management Act.

Notes • A change of By- Law cannot be lodged for registration more than two years after the passing of the resolution for the change. • To be effective the Change of By-Law must be registered and a notification entered on the Certificate of Title for the Common Property. • Where a by-law confers exclusive use of common property or allows special privileges in respect of common property the written consent of the owners benefited must be obtained in addition to the special resolution of the Owners Corporation. • An Owners Corporation cannot change or create a by-law, which confers a benefit or imposes obligations on some, but not all, of the owners during the initial period of the scheme. • A by-law cannot prohibit guide dogs or hearing dogs from a scheme nor can children be prevented from occupying a lot within the scheme.

The dealing should be lodged by hand at the Department of Lands located at Queens Square Sydney. A lodgement fee is payable and the Certificate of Title for the Common Property in the strata scheme should accompany the dealing at lodgement.

Information supplied by NSW Land and Property Management Authority. StrataCall





Commercial Property Painting HOmE mAInTEnAnCE

The Difference Re-painting - getting it right In Painting Quotes We get so many enquiries at StrataCall about painting quotes because of the huge variations in cost. One building in Queensland had quotes that varied from $250,000 - $900,000 and the executive committee asked how the quotes could be so extreme. When you are talking about such a substantial amount of money you want to know you are getting the right job done. A lot of owners corporations opt for the cheapest quote, but that could really be to their detriment. Most of us have heard of Dulux. When it comes to paint, it is a reputable, trusted product. The Dulux Property Services Group was represented at the Griffith University Conference by Richard Chapman who is Dulux Property Services Manager - Queensland. The Dulux Property Services Group offers a free service specifically designed to assist Body Corporate and Strata Groups. The service is available in all states. •

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The Dulux Property Services Group is able to assist you in specifications and property inspections to determine if work is required or a priority Specifications create a level playing field for the tendering process and eliminate guess work The Dulux Property Services Group have access by referral to reputable painting contractors that care about your needs Onsite technical field representation during the project to ensure specifications are being compiled with in order to facilitate a material warranty up to 15 years Project tracking on projects help ensure QA controls Dulux Colour Consultancy packages Industry leading technology ensures to day’s solutions are specific and relevant to site - not generic Experience field representatives servic ing all areas - Nationwide

This also ensures the paint When undertaking a manufacturer is likely to commercial property repaint it offer a material is important to start with a warranty in writing good understanding of the then askand your manager to investigate for the productthe simple processes industry on your project. specification professionals youprocess. may need to engage to ensure your Having a painting project specification They need to:has every chance toContact succeed and clearlyServices Group 1. Dulux Property continue to protect your asset. defines and discuss your needs or project what you as requirements a client is Generally repainting a building and consultation with you 2. Site inspection expecting starts with and an assessment of the your manager to project anddiscuss what buildings current condition. Are objectives the there known building defects or applicator hassent to your 3. Specification completed and issues causing a product failure? offered as an it onto manager who will then forward Do you have a water ingress issue agreed outcome you or have areas become for your buildings 4. If required specification sent to three unserviceable or costly to architectural coating maintain? painting contractors for tendering systems and thus agreed 5. Industry Contact made with to Dulux Colour professionals such as meet your expectations. licensed painting contractors, Consultant or Building Engineer if building inspectors or engineers required Painting Process can assist with this evaluation to “...Industry professionals 6. Contact Dulux Property Services Group ensure building defects are dealt to let them know project has been such as licensed painting with prior to painting awarded with specification commencing.

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Onsiteissues inspections and follow up on site Have building fixed; inspectors engineers consultation if required with you or and ensure theand right contractor is manager licensed toyour carry out the work. can assist with this 8. When Completion going to market and to call handover of warranty if - determined by evaluation...” specifications tenders or required ask for quotes have your project objectives listed in This service will save you a lot of time writing. This can money. be achieved by and Dulux Property Services Consider other factors that obtaining a specification of the Group is also very happy to the work with will affect project objectives: work required from an industry you directly if your building is self-man professional. • What is the best time to aged. Most manufacturers of paint, paint climatically for your painting contractors and project area? For more contact Richard Chapman at managers caninformation assist with or go to • Colour selection, approving preparing a site specific painting samples, colour consultancy specification to ensure all tenders services are quoting on the same thing. DULUX


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resortnews | september 2012



Victoria Park November 2012

URBAN AUSTRALIA - VICTORIA PARK COMES OF AGE By Barry Hyland When it comes to Strata Living, there are few better community examples than Victoria Park at Zetland one of the largest urban renewal projects in Australia. It didn’t take a marketing genius to come up with the name, Victoria Park, when the development was launched by Landcom in 1997. A delve back in history revealed that the 24-ha site had been a much-loved racecourse called Victoria Park.

By 1930 the site had become home to the Australian Trotting Club, and remained in their possession until WWII when the Australian Army took over and established an Ordinance Unit. On the Army’s departure in 1945 the site became a horse training track until it was purchased in 1950 by Sir William Morris, the 1st Viscount of Nuffield, to assemble Morris Minor and Morris Oxford cars – models that had previously been fully imported into Australia.

The racecourse was created in 1908 and privately owned by Sir James John Joynton Smith, a hotelier and newspaper proprietor. Believed to be named after Victoria Park in London, the racecourse was said at the time to be the finest proprietary (privately-owned) racecourse in Sydney.

In 1954 Nuffield Australia and the Austin Motor Company of Australia merged to form British Motor Corporation (Australia), with the Victoria Park facility becoming the group headquarters and the manufacturing plant for Morris and Austin cars.

The cinder track was one mile (1,600metres) long and ringed by a wooden fence, with a substantial grandstand on the western side, and a Tote (Totaliser) building which still stands today. It was the first course in Australia to cater for ladies, with ‘retiring rooms’.

In 1970 Leylend Australia took control of what was then the largest car plant in the southern hemisphere, which produced the much-maligned P-76. Just five years later Leyland Australia closed the plant, and the site was re-acquired by the Commonwealth of Australia for a StrataCall



Victoria Park pre-development

Naval Stores depot which operated until the mid 1990s. In 1997 Landcom purchased the site for residential development. One of the aims of Victoria Park was to build an urban neighbourhood with the warmth of a traditional Australia suburb. For this reason, Victoria Park’s architecture and landscaping have been designed with community in mind. The region’s history is celebrated through the names of the streets and parks, while the heritage-listed Tote Building has been restored to its former glory. Now the $3billion Victoria Park is nearing completion. In 1995 architect Nick Turner won the commission to prepare the draft structural masterplan for the 278-ha Green Square redevelopment, one of the largest urban renewal project in Australia. Within the plan was a 24-ha ‘superlot’ which became Victoria Park. Nick and his team have had a significant influence over the distinctive character, success and quality of urban housing in Victoria Park, having designed eight buildings within the precinct. Now he has designed the final collection of buildings at Victoria Park. Called Platinum, it will comprise 322 apartments and townhouses, and be built by Payce on the last available land at Victoria Park. The site, on Hutchison Walk, has parklands on three sides, so more than 90% of the apartments will have leafy vistas, and some will have views of the city skyline and Botany Bay. On completion of Platinum, Victoria Park will be home 92


to some 7,000 residents and have an end value of around $3-Billion. “Victoria Park is Sydney’s foremost contemporary urban renewal precinct,” said Mr Turner. “In addition to the projects we have designed, a further 17 leading practices have contributed to the quality and architectural diversity of Victoria Park, making it a vibrant and unique neighbourhood.” Platinum comprises five buildings ranging from six to 15 storeys, each with its own identity and colour scheme. One reflects the colours of the park opposite, one has been inspired by the sunset, and another is inlaid with golden ‘jewels’ and topped with a penthouse ‘crown’. Collectively they have a bold yet cohesive character. Platinum has a landscaped central courtyard with an outdoor kitchen for social gatherings, bespoke seating as well as raised timber and bamboo ‘pods’ for private relaxation. At night the pods will glow softly and gently illuminate the leafy surrounds. Landscape architect Angus Bruce has conceived this 2,000sqm space as an Asian-inspired grove of black bamboo with winding stone paths. Dense plantings will rise three-storeys, screening apartments on lower levels. Platinum will also have a health club with a gym, spa, steam room, massage room and lounge overlooking a Zen garden. “We have unified the lobbies and the health club by


Victoria Park during development

using natural stone and timber extensively,” said Mr Turner. “Concealed lighting and refined finishes such as smoked mirrors and patinated metals contribute to a luxurious and glamorous look reminiscent of a moody bar or an exclusive club.” Purchasers have the choice of 17 different styles of dwellings, including: • • •

1-bedroom apartments (55sqm to 84sqm), some with parking, from $496,000 2-bedroom apartments (81sqm to 133sqm), with one parking bay, from $651,000 3-bedroom apartments (108sqm to 156sqm) with two parking spaces, from $951,000

“Platinum represents many years of evolving apartment planning,” Mr Turner said. “We have eliminated unuseable floor space to ensure occupants have generous and flexible interior and external living areas whist being mindful of their need for storage.” The apartment interiors have been crafted by Koichi Takada, who brings a Japanese approach to their look and feel through a choice of three schemes. ‘Pearl’ has been inspired by The Whitsundays, ‘Sahara’ by the colours of Morocco and ‘Ebony’ by the jet-black remnants of Hawaii’s volcanic flows. “The colours, textures and contrasts take you to an outof-world place – an escape as enticing and beautiful as a fashion label,” said Mr Takada, who honed his architectural skills in New York and London.

“Silver, bronze and grey mirrored surfaces provide a ‘wow’ factor worthy of the brand Platinum. The kitchens and bathrooms splash dramatic colours, intense lighting and crystal gloss finishes to spike the same level of joy and excitement you gain on entering an exclusive boutique.” Platnium is sure to replicate the popularity of Payce’s earlier developments at Victoria Park – Apex and East Village – which sold out quickly. Payce is now building a major fresh food and retail centre at Victoria Park called the East Village Urban Marketplace. “It will have a 4,000sqm Coles supermarket, up to 50 specialty shops, an emphasis on fresh produce and be a vibrant addition to Victoria Park,” said Dominic Sullivan, the General Manager of Payce. “When it’s completed we expect Victoria Park to become a destination, drawing people from surrounding suburbs in much the way that the Danks Street retail precinct in Waterloo does.” Rhys Morgan, the Sales Manager for Platinum, says the dwellings tap into what buyers want – innovative design, a top location, convenient transport, good infrastructure and services, lifestyle amenities and affordability. Appointments to inspect the Platinum showroom can be made through 1300 778 777, or



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1800 685 759 Colliers International does not guarantee, warrant or represent that the information contained in this advertising and marketing website is correct. Any interested parties should make their own enquiries as to the accuracy of the information. We exclude all inferred or implied terms, conditions and warranties arising out of this document and any liability for loss or damage arising there from. *Conditions apply from 1st October 2012 and for purchasers up to $550,000.

Pet Peeve

Pet Peeve Dr robert Zammit Celebrity Vet, Dr Robert Zammit has joined the team at StrataCall to give advice and help with issues you may have with pets or pests. But firstly, should you even buy that pet?




It’s a thought that crosses everyone’s mind at some time in their lives, especially if you have a child. The disadvantages of pet ownership are obvious. Firstly, there’s the clean, washing, brushing and of course the whoopsies. Then there’s fencing, council fees, feeding, veterinary fees and holiday times. So considering all those negatives, do the positives outweigh them?

into my retirement fund if I just decided to shorten my life? If you don’t have time for a pet, you are saying you don’t have time for yourself. You will start asking what life is about if you haven’t afforded yourself the one commodity that can’t be bought: a lifetime that’s quality along with quantity. You can’t buy longevity of life time, but you can work towards it, and the quicker you start the better it will be.

Without your health you have nothing; and pets do keep us healthy. Studies at universities - both in Australia and overseas - have proven that by simply stroking a cat or dog, your blood pressure immediately reduces. It can be better than meditating for an hour; and if you develop a good relationship with your pet, you’ll find time spent alone with your pet is the best time to not only reflect on your current events and situations, but it clears your mind, allowing thought processes that lead to logical, correct decisions. The studies concluded that people who allow their pets to take an active part in their life, not only live longer but also live healthier, better quality lives.

The other reason people consider a pet is for their child. Should I buy a pet for my children? That’s a no-brainer. Kids that grow up with animals tend to make better adults. However, you do need some planning.

Another study, looking at people in retirement homes in America where residents are allowed to keep their pets, showed that pet owners not only lived longer but also lived far more active lives reflected in their desire and ability to participate in the activities put on by the administrators. Part of the reason is obvious. People will take their pets for a walk and this in itself assists greatly in keeping older people mobile. But psychologists have said there is a far more important reason....the will to live. People who have pets are motivated by the desire to be there for their pets and remain sufficiently healthy to look after them. So, the question you might need to address is: do I have the time for a pet? Do I have time to feed, care and walk my pet each day? You should also consider walking your pet whether it is a dog or a cat. Three to five times each week for a minimum of twenty minutes - more if you can. No time? Now hang on. The question you need to ask yourself is why am I paying money

Firstly, think about the average age of a pet you are purchasing. Make sure it isn’t an old animal when your child is doing the higher school certificate. One of the lessons children learn through owning a pet is loss. It is lesson in grief, bought about by death, but try and avoid this occurring at critical times in their life, such as higher school certificate exams. The average age of a well cared for dog is 10 - 12 years, so try and consider having a pet when your child is very young - less than three or slightly older - around seven. In this way, that critical, adolescent time of final school examinations can be met without the complication of the death of a much loved pet. One golden rule of learning is to teach. If you teach someone something, you learn it far better yourself. Your child should be given the opportunity of taking the dog to obedience school. They will teach the dog to obey and to be responsible for defined actions. critical, adolescent time of final school examinations can be met without the complication of the death of a much loved pet. One golden rule of learning is to teach. If you teach someone something, you learn it far better yourself. Your child should be given the opportunity of taking the dog to obedience school. They will teach the dog to obey and to be responsible for defined actions.



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Eliminating Mould & Mildew M&M means different things to different people. Most associate it with the delicious candies and colourful cartoon characters. Music devotees will associate it with Marshall Mathers, AKA Eminem, the controversial rapper. But for those of us in the trade, M&M means Mould and Mildew...and it’s not nearly as popular as the former two. The rain and cold weather of the last few months have caused a dramatic increase in M&M in strata properties - and kept us extremely busy. So here are some tricks of the trade to deal with the problem.

recently flooded areas, basements, plumbing ducts, poorlyventilation rooms, and outdoors in humid environments. It is most common in: 1) 2) 3)

Mould is a living organism; a fungi that grows like a network. Generally speaking, the mould we tend to see in buildings thrive at temperatures from about 4-degrees Celsius where humidity is high. A quick search of the Internet can provide you with a wealth of information on the science relating to mould. The first thing is to remove moisture from the surface and the air. The best way to do this is by ventilation. It can be as simple as opening doors and windows, promoting cross-ventilation. The area may require additional ventilation bricks and, in some severe cases, fans and forced-air movement. Mould struggles to survive in open, well-ventilated spaces. Secondly, you need to get some natural light and warmth onto the affected walls. Trimming trees and opening blinds will help. A property with a southerly aspect will be the worst affected, particularly in winter when the sun is low in the sky. Limit the use of artificial heating (un-flued gas heaters and radiant-type electric models), and opt for a reverse cycle air conditioner because it tends to remove moisture from the air. The weather is now on your side, and the warmer Spring and Summer months will make mould easier to contain. Mould is usually found in damp, dark or steam-filled areas. These include bathrooms, kitchens, cluttered storage areas,

Ground floor units that either have a southern aspect or are shaded by trees or neighbouring buildings. On brick or concrete surfaces that are either common or external walls. In warm air environments, particularly where the occupants use a radiant-type heater such as an un-flued gas heater or an exposed electrical element.

Water leaks will also increase the incidence of mould. So get a plumber to check for failed membranes or roof problems. Ensure that the plumber has a moisture meter and knows how to use it. Because the mould is an organism it has to be killed. Cleaning alone will not stop the mould from growing back. You must address the cause and implement a strategy to stop M&M from growing. Then you can look to get rid of it permanently. Special mould killers do work, although it takes considerable elbow grease. We have had particular success using Selley’s ‘Mould Killer’ and then sealing the area with Zinisser ‘B.I.N’. Both products should be available at your local hardware store. Like all maintenance and repair issues, every site is different. You should contact a professional. Ask questions, and if you are not confident in that professional get another opinion. Eliminating M&M can be a very expensive process, and it needs the right diagnosis and strategy to be totally effective. By Steve Ellis StrataCall



WELCOME A HOUSE GUEST Having a guest stay over always seems like such a great idea in the weeks before they arrive. But who among us hasn't found themselves scrambling around for spare sheets or a clean towel minutes before they knock on the door? Make it easy for everyone by getting organised ahead of time, and don't forget those thoughtful little gestures that will really make your guest feel at home. GIVE YOUR GUESTS A GOOD NIGHT'S SLEEP If you have the space, set up your dedicated guest room with a comfortable bed and soft bedding. If you don't have space for a guest room, rather than

asking your guests to sleep on the sofa, offer them a good-quality inflatable air mattress, such as Aerobed's Premier Classic, which has inner coils and a plush top surface ( Or, consider a soft rollup mattress (check out for extra-comfy futons) that can be laid over the sofa or the floor, and tucked away when not in use. Give your guests a couple of decent pillows each, and an extra blanket or quilt if it's cold. CLEAR OUT THE CLUTTER This is particularly important if your guest room doubles as, say, a home office. Clear all surfaces of paperwork


and odds and ends, so that your guests have somewhere to lay out their things when they arrive. Make sure they have everything they need, such as a decent reading light and an alarm clock. If your guest room is big enough, add a comfortable armchair so that your guests have somewhere to sit other than the bed. Pop some good reading material on the bedside table - a couple of recent magazines and a few of your favourite books are sure to appeal. SET ASIDE SOME STORAGE SPACE It's far nicer to have somewhere to put your clothes away rather than live out of a suitcase when you're

staying in someone's home. Clear out some space in your cupboard and a couple of drawers in the cabinet so that your guests can unpack their things. Hang a few spare hangers in the cupboard, and make sure there's space on the cupboard floor for shoes. If you can't spare the cupboard space, invest in a hanging rail on castors (try Howards Storage World,, or prop a decorative, painted ladder against the wall where your guests can hang out their clothes for the next day ( au). A suitcase stand is a real luxury when you're staying in someone's home, as it means no bending and twisting to unpack your things (try for folding stands). If you're short of floor space, consider a wall-mounted luggage rack, which won't clutter up your floor (www. sells traditional wall-mounted racks). Keep in mind, however, that it will be hard to reach so your guests will need to have somewhere to unpack their things when they arrive. STOCK UP ON MINI TOILETRIES Next time you're staying in a hotel, gather up all those mini toiletries, including shampoos, conditioners and body lotions, and lay them out in a basket in your bathroom for your guests. Alternatively, look out for mini toiletries at your local pharmacy. Provide clean towels for each guests (in a different colour, if you have several guests, so they can keep track of who owns each towel), plus a new bar of soap and tube of toothpaste. PROVIDE THEM WITH INFORMATION ON THE CITY Maps, train and bus timetables, a local guidebook, and the entertainment section of your newspaper will give your guests the independence to get around, and will also relieve you of the pressure of answering hundreds of questions or being dragged to see the city's famous fountain for the hundredth time! Leave guests with all the important numbers These include phone numbers for all the emergency services, plus your home alarm code, work phone number and menus for the best local takeaway restaurants. If your guests are planning to stay for a while, it's a good idea to get a spare set of keys cut so they can come and go as they please.

By Georgia Madden



life is for living.... leave the work to us

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BEDROOM STORAGE SOLUTIONS The main bedroom should be a calm and ordered retreat, but if you’re short on space it can quickly turn into a jumbled mess with clothes draped over chairs and cupboards that are filled to bursting point. A certain amount of creativity is required to tackle the problem; think about exactly what you need to store in the bedroom, look around for hidden storage opportunities, and consider boosting your built-in space with smart freestanding and container storage. You’ll soon discover more storage space than you ever imagined.


Seek Out Furniture With Integrated Storage Furniture that double duties, such as an upholstered storage bench or a bed with integrated shelving, will give you bedroom storage a serious boost without swallowing up any precious floor space. If you’re in the market for new furniture, keep an eye out for pieces that have integrated storage, and don’t feel that you need to stick to just bedroom pieces - a low level cabinet, for example, makes a great bedside table and contains handy drawers, while vintage storage trunks look stunning and provide extra storage. Domayne's Linear Bedframe (pictured) provides clever storage while being easy on the eye.

Look For Hidden Storage Opportunities Take a good look around your bedroom to see whether you’ve made the most of all your storage potential. Is there space under the bed for lidded storage boxes or baskets? If you’re in the market for a new bed, would you consider one with drawers? Do you have any empty walls where you could fit floor-to-ceiling shelving? And what about the back of the bedroom door or the wardrobe door for hanging hooks? Taking things off the floor will instantly make a small bedroom feel bigger and brighter, and this is where shelving really comes into its own. Built in shelving will allow you to make the most of any awkwardly-shaped walls or corners, while a single floating shelf can be run all around the perimeter of the bedroom to store books and magazines.

Make Your Wardrobe Work Harder Having trouble closing the wardrobe doors? If so, it might be time to reorganise your wardrobe space. Take everything out of the wardrobe and get rid of any clothes, shoes or accessories you no longer need or use. What remains are the items you need to store. Work out how much hanging or drawer space you require for your clothing, and if the current wardrobe layout is insufficient, reconfigure it with additional shelving or an extra hanging rail. Is there space for shoes? Clear the bottom of the wardrobe so that it’s devoted solely to shoe space, and if you need more space (and who doesn’t), think about investing in some additional hanging shoe storage. Aim not to overfill wardrobe shelves or drawers, as it’s easy to forget what you’ve got inside. If necessary, store any pieces used less often in storage bags or baskets. Create order from a jumbled mass of accessories with small container storage, pretty baskets or hanging rails from places such as Howards Storage World ( or Ikea (


The Lure of CBD Living

By Barry Hyland Strong sales at the CBD’s latest apartment development, The Castlereagh Sydney, underlines the demand to live in the centre of the action. Within two weeks of launch 26 of the 50 apartments at the Tony Owen-designed building sold, underlying the demand to live in a walk-to-work situation. The Castlereagh Sydney is a stunning 15-storey building on the corner of Castlereagh and Bathurst Streets. Set amid a rich tapestry of high-end shops and offices, it has been developed by Lenland with the underlying aim of providing value-for-money accommodation. Most apartments face north and have views of leafy Hyde Park. “Demand for CBD living is far greater and more diverse than it has ever been, fuelled by the fact that Sydney has more childless and working couples who are better suited by its convenience than living in suburbia,” said Ben Stewart from CBRE. “Living in a walk-to-work situation is ideal when you are at a certain stage of your life. So too is having all of the city’s great facilities at your front door.” The Asian community prefer living in the CBD because of its convenience, and they are very comfortable in apartments. ‘Empty nesters’ are also flocking to the city, says Mr Stewart. “Many have reassessed their housing needs, and being of the ‘baby boom’ generation a high proportion of them have the resources to buy prime CBD apartments where they can enjoy the cosmopolitan lifestyle.” 108


But, Mr Stewart noted, living in the CBD can be challenging at times. “The city can be noisy and windy, and privacy can be an issue. However, when you live in the CBD you’ll never be bored or lonely. There is always something to see and someone to talk to – unlike living in some suburbs which can be insular. “I’d recommend that everyone try CBD living at some stage of their life, if they can afford it, of course.” Affordable is one of the key reasons for the popularity of The Castlereagh Sydney. It has: • one-bedroom apartments (50.3sqm to 59.8sqm) from $560,000 • two-bedroom apartments (82.7sqm to 90.8sqm) from $820,000, and • three-bedroom apartments (111sqm) from $1.25-M Apartments on level three have wintergardens, while all those on higher levels have balconies, some as large as 13.8sqm. All apartments brim with rich and elegant materials such as hardwood floors and smoky mirrors, creating a sophisticated urban style. Kitchens have custom joinery, European appliances and highlight lighting, while bathrooms feature finishes and fixtures befitting a boutique hotel. Some bedrooms have decorative laser-cut sliding screens which filter light and divide spaces. When privacy is required the screens slide back into position. Floor-to-ceiling windows and full-height sliding glass doors aid the feeling of openness by allowing living


spaces to integrate with the outdoor terraces. Because there are no costly communal facilities, strata levies at The Castlereagh Sydney will be low. CBRE forecasts them to be just $382, $585 and $798 respectively for a typical one, two and three-bedroom apartment, per quarter. Innovative architect Tony Owen is having a distinct influence on the look of the Sydney CBD. His two other eye-catching apartment buildings – Eliza in Elizabeth Street and Jade in Sussex Street – will be completed by mid-2013. With The Castlereagh, Owen has designed a podium of angled concrete panels to help the building relate to the surrounding solid office blocks. On ground level will be a lively retail precinct of restaurants, cafes and designer shops. The upper levels consist of articulated bronze-coloured louvres which control sun and privacy and create an animated urban façade. The screens are attached in different planes to achieve a mosaic effect, which is reflected in the interiors of the apartments and the lobby. Another clever design feature is an atrium in the centre of the building which will act as a ventilation shaft, drawing out hot air. CBD living attracts people for different reasons In life, everything is relative. If you are used to a rural lifestyle then the Sydney CBD would seem a chaotic place to live. Conversely, when you come from a ‘mega-city’ of 10 million people the

Sydney CBD is orderly . . . even serene. Korean couple Jessica Kim and Soon Kweon Lee (pictured) have just bought an apartment in The Castlereagh Sydney – the heart of the CBD – for the latter reason. They are originally from Seoul, the largest city in the OECD developed world with an overall population of 25 million. “Seoul is far too crowded and hectic, but Sydney is just the right balance for us,” said Jessica, who works for the CBA in the city. “We like all the facilities that a big city offers, and Sydney is the perfect mix of convenience and excitement. “I am also looking forward to being able to walk to and from work.” Jessica and Soon purchased a two-bedroom apartment on the 10th floor of The Castlereagh Sydney which will have views of Hyde Park. “The apartment has a lot of great features and is of the highest quality,” said Jessica. “It is in a great location, near wonderful restaurants, shops and parks. We can’t wait to move in.” Construction of The Castlereagh Sydney is scheduled to start in March, with completion by early 2015. A display suite is open at Level 7, 209 Castlereagh Street from 1pm to 4pm on Wednesday and on weekends. Inspections can be arranged outside these times through Irene Lau of CBRE on 0432 333 383, or the website: Information about the developer, Lenland, is on: StrataCall



Townview Australia The team at Townview Australia are experts in the field of difficult access building maintenance. Below Mike King of Townview answers some commonly asked questions about painting maintenance.

1. How long should a paint job last for? A normal trade warranty is for 7 Years. But with many high quality coatings, there are extended warranties for both product and application. With premium products, we are able to offer up to 15 Years. 2. How do we know if we should have a painted or a membrane coating? This greatly depends on the design of the building. Very often concrete and rendered walls are coated with a membrane coating, where as timber board and cladded walls may only need a high quality paint coating. 3. Should we have a lighter colour on our building to keep the place cooler in summer? This helps, but in actuality, the colour is only a small band of that which let's the heat in. With the Heat Reflective Coatings that we use, the colour used does not make a difference. This is important where darker colours are required for architectural purposes, but the full heat reflection quality is still achieved.

4. How much time should be spent on the preparation before painting? Preparation takes as long as it takes. Unfortunately, the paint is only as good as the surface that it is applied to. Carrying out repairs fully and ensuring that the surfaces are 100% clean and free of pollutants is vital to obtaining that long lasting coating which will preserve your investment. 5. Why would rope access be an access solution compared to conventional means like scaffolding or a swinging stage. Despite being the safest form of difficult access work positioning on the planet, using rope access is light impact on your building and allows the painting technician to get right in close to the work for the hands on finish that is required. You also get to have your common areas back between shifts and weekends with all equipment easily packed away. If you have any more questions regarding rope access, there are plenty of great guides available on the Work Cover Web Site, IRATA, or just email me direct , I will do my best to answer any questions you may have.

Townview Australia Building Maintenance Experts Difficult Access Specialists

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TRANSFORMING DULL WALLS Dull walls getting you down? Paint effects, wallpaper, digital art - with the huge number of incredible products on the market today, there’s no longer any excuse for boring walls. Transforming a boring wall into an eye-catching focal point will also help add depth and character to the room around it something interior designers know all too well - and is just the thing if you’re keen to make your apartment stand out from the rest.



TRANSFORMING DULL WALLS 1 . PA I N T W I T H S T R I P E S Stripes are one of the oldest tricks in the decorator’s handbook, and for good reason – they’re incredibly effective in small spaces. Fine pinstripes will add texture to a plain wall, but for something more modern (and daring!), try bold, thick stripes. Remember that stripes are a decorative tool, so think carefully about what you want to achieve before you start; vertical stripes will make a low ceilings appear higher, while horizontal stripes will help make it feel wider. If you just want to add a touch of fun, go for a zany pattern such as zigzags or herringbone. One of the hottest wall trends right now is to paint black and white stripes on the lower half of a wall, and a bright contrasting shade above it. 2 . T E X T U R E D PA I N T If you like the idea of paint, but prefer something subtler than stripes, consider applying an eye-catching, textured paint finish to a plain, white wall. Porters Paints ( offers a range of beautiful metallic wall finishes such as liquid zinc and aged copper, which will look like they’ve been on your walls forever. Or paint a whole wall in chalkboard paint – Murobond ( sells chalkboard paint in funky brights such as orange and blue. 3 . S TAT E M E N T WA L L PA P E R The current trend for bold, statement wallpaper offers the perfect solution for uninspiring walls. Playful patterns such as the wall gallery or armchair designs at Duck’s Nest ( work best used on a single wall, and are sure to bring a smile to the face of anyone who walks through your door. Other fab statement papers can be found at Dearwood (www. and Chee Soon & Fitzgerald (www. 4 . T E X T U R E D WA L L PA P E R If you yearn to bring a bit of nature into your home, consider lining one wall with wallpaper made from linen, bamboo or grasscloth (try Grassweave at www. Natural wallpaper will not only add some much-needed texture to a boxy space, but it works beautifully when contrasted with sleek modern finishes such as glass and stainless steel for a contemporary, layered look. 5 . WA L L A D H E S I V E S Decorative stickers are no longer just for kids’ rooms – many companies now offer designs as subtle or bold as you like for grown up spaces too. Think trailing botanicals, a unique quote running across one wall, or a trio of chandeliers behind the dining table. And best of all? The adhesives are easy to remove, so if you change your mind you can simply pull them off and use them elsewhere. Check out the designs at The 112


TRANSFORMING DULL WALLS Wallsticker Company (, which also sells removable wallpaper. 6. MIRRORS A wall covered with mirrors of different shapes and sizes looks stunning, and will visually enlarge the size of a room and bounce light into every corner. And if you’re a fan of antique shopping and handy with the spray paint, it doesn’t have to cost a fortune either. Give a group of framed mirrors of various shapes and designs a sense cohesion by spray painting them all the same colour. Alternatively, have a single floor to ceiling mirror cut to size, or prop an oversized framed mirror on the floor for a relaxed look. 7 . WA L L M O U N T E D S TO R AG E Today’s wall-mounted storage units are designed to be noticed, and allow you to jazz up a dull wall and boost your storage space in a single stroke. Super stylish storage systems such as the String System at Great Dane Furniture (www.greatdanefurniture. com) offer endless combinations of shelves, closed cupboards and even a desk to suit just about any wall size, while the chic wall-mounted units at Transforma ( could easily pass for wall art. Other places to look include Fanuli Furniture ( and Space Furniture (www. 8 . D I G I TA L A R T WO R K Digital photography allows you to turn just about any photo into a stunning work of art for the wall. Have your favourite snap blown up onto an extra large canvas – often the more closeup and abstract the image the better. Or choose a group of three favourites (stick to either black and white or all colour photos for cohesion) and hang them side by side to draw the eye the minute you walk through the door. You can even have digital photographs turned into a custom wallpaper (www. 9 . WA L L H O O K S Wall hooks, practical by nature, don’t have to be boring. Check out the simple clusters of wooden wall knobs at Great Dane Furniture (, which give you somewhere to hang coats and resemble nothing short of modern art when not in use. Other places to try include Nordic Fusion (, for its folky metal wall hooks, and the tongue in cheek designs at and Interstudio ( 10. UNIQUE WALL DECORATION Perhaps the most obvious way to transform a dull wall is with a fabulous painting or wall sculpture. But don’t limit yourself to the usual styles – some of today’s floor rugs, for example, would look stunning hung on the wall (try Designer Rugs www.designerrugs. Why not try your hand at creating your own art, which can be as simple as covering a canvas with your favourite patterned fabric, or painting a series of small canvases with different shades of the same colour. Alternatively, do something unexpected that gives a hint to your passions– if you’re a fashionista, hang a beautiful dress on the wall, or if you’re a keen cyclist, hang a vintage or uber-modern bicycle.


DO YOU NEED AN ONSITE MANAGER? When a building is conceived it contains the dreams of the developer and the architect. Then, when it is completed and residents have settled in, the Owners Corporation (OC) takes over responsibility for ensuring those ‘dreams’ are fulfilled on a day-to-day basis. THE SCOPE OF WORK INCLUDES: • keeping the building running smoothly • ensuring that services are operating correctly, and • maintaining this most valuable asset to a standard that will result in future capital growth. It takes specialist knowledge and skills to meet these important needs, plus many more, which is why OC’s appoint Building Managers (for residential strata) and Building Facilities Managers (for commercial strata). The larger the strata and more sophisticated the facilities the greater the need for professional help. The role of a Building Manager has evolved from the live-in caretaker, popularised on many American comedies, who’d get around in his dirty overalls doing odd-jobs – and was as quick with a quip as he was with a wrench. These days, a company such as Building Management Australia employs professionals with degrees in business and property to handle all aspects of asset management – from insurance, legal requirements, maintenance and security, through to quality assurance. The Building Manager is answerable to the OC, reports directly to the Executive Committee (EC), and usually works in tandem with a Strata Manager. It’s not hard to see why building management is such a growing profession: By 2025 there will be twice the number of Sydneysiders living in high-rise buildings as there is today, according to David Haythorn, General Manager of Building Management Australia. “A Building Manager is an extremely valuable asset to any building,” he said. “You can tell a building that is well cared for just by looking at the exteriors and foyer. And you’ll find that apartments, or strata offices, within such buildings have stronger re-sale growth. “But, people should be aware that the outgoing costs of living in a modern high-rise apartment are greater than that of a freestanding house. It’s the price you pay for living a secure, maintenance-free, convenient lifestyle.” StrataCall


MaxiMise The sense Of space in yOur hOMe




MAXIMISE THE SENSE OF SPACE IN YOUR HOME From a design perspective, often one of the biggest challenges for apartmentdwellers is making their tiny home appear bigger and brighter. Low ceilings, narrow corridors and dark finishes are common features in many apartments, which can make an already spacestarved home feel even smaller. But help is on the way! “Remember - light coloured spaces will make a room feel larger. Shades of white might be thought of as boring or bland, but white walls are an instant space maker.” Another trick is to paint the ceiling bright white, which creates the illusion of height in a low-ceilinged home, and bounces light around the room. “Scales is important. The size of your furniture should match the scale of the apartment. A huge sofa will look out of place in a small room, and will dominate the space.” Take your room measurements with you when you go shopping, and look for pieces that will fit in with the size of your home, and allow you room to move around comfortably. “Showing as much of the floor as possible will make your floor space appear larger. Try to keep large pieces such as the sofa lifted off the floor, and choose rugs that match the colour of the floorboards or carpet.” “Stash things away! The more things that can be stored out of view in cupboards, the larger your home will feel. Even putting doors on bookshelves is a space maker as it cuts down on the visual clutter in your home.” Great places to look for large storage include: • Fanuli Furniture • Transforma • Ikea




1. “If renovation is possible, consider a single, combined living, dining kitchen space, which maximize the sense of space. Subsume any corridor space into this living space.” Obviously, you’ll always need to consult your strata manager before making any structural changes to the home.



2. “Mirrors are your best friend in a small home as they can visually double the appearance of a room. I usually use mirrored splashbacks in the kitchen.” Alternatively, look for large mirrors that can be placed in a narrow living room or hallway (try Mostly Mirrors, www.mostlymirrors., mirrored bedroom wardrobes (check out Fanulia, www.fanuli., or mirrored furniture (Mirrored Furniture Online has a vast range - www.mirrored

3. “Look for multi-functional furniture. Think coffee tables that also have chest storage, beds with storage in the base or shelves built into the bedhead (check out Jardan’s Leila bed at” Other dual purpose furniture styles to look out for include sofas with under-seat storage or shelves (see King Furniture, www.kingfurniture., shelves with a pull-down desk, or storage ottomans that double as seating or a coffee table.


4. “Use uplighting rather than downlighting as it instantly lifts the ceiling space, making the room feel taller and airier than it actually is.”

5. “Full length curtains can also visually raise the height of the ceilings, making them a better choice than roman or roller blinds in a small home. It’s best to stick to light or sheer curtain fabrics in subtle patterns that won’t distract from the rest of the interior.”

6. “Opt for freestanding wardrobe furniture over built ins. It may not provide you with as much storage space, but it will allow you to see the ceiling and the wall behind, which will enhance the sense of space. StrataCall


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The strata industry is constantly evolving, so it’s important to stay ahead. With the Westpac Strata Management Solution, you can maintain an expert grasp on the unique challenges and opportunities of the strata industry. Switch today and enjoy: • End-to-end technology with flexibility to support integration with recognised strata management software packages. • A wide range of solutions for managing payables and receivables. • Access to strata roll financing to grow your business. • Experienced and dedicated Relationship Managers to support your strata needs.

Speak to a Relationship Manager and switch today. Call 1300 362 409 Visit Australia’s First Bank for Strata. Things you should know: Eligibility criteria, conditions, fees and charges apply. Application for finance will be subject to Westpac’s lending criteria. Full terms and conditions and details on fees are available on request. © 2012 Westpac Banking Corporation ABN 33 007 457 141 AFSL and Australian credit licence 233714. WRA0476_FP_SC


Taking Your Community Online By BCS

YOUR BUILDING COMMUNITY MAY HAVE ALREADY TAKEN THE BIG LEAP TO ONLINE COMMUNICATIONS BUT IF NOT, HERE ARE SOME TIPS FOR STARTING AND MAINTAINING AN ONLINE COMMUNITY OF NEIGHBOURS. There are a range of social media portals such as Twitter, Facebook, Four Square and others that are useful and, more importantly, are free. However, if you want to set up a community page for your building and facilitate discussions LinkedIn in one of the best and easiest portals to use. For those who are unfamiliar with LinkedIn it is the world’s largest professional network with over 100 million users, and its membership numbers continue to grow rapidly due to it’s increasing popularity. It works by connecting professionals to business contacts, and assists businesses and individuals to exchange knowledge, ideas, and opportunities with a broader network of personalities. However, it doesn’t just work for professionals wishing to connect. It can also connect communities via its ‘Groups’ section, which is great for those wanting to establish and online community for their strata scheme. In today’s world where people 122


go home and shut their doors, potentially never meeting the neighbours, portals such as LinkedIn can assist in bringing people together and overcome whatever physical or social barriers that exist, preventing people from actually meeting in person. Simple to use, the Groups section allows people to exchange information and ideas. It is essential though to have at least one moderator, but a few is even better, to ensure that the people who have a genuine interest are accepted to the group and it ensures the discussions are appropriate. As with all online social media, there are certain etiquettes that should be followed. Apart from those rules prescribed by LinkedIn, if you do start a Group for your building, you should also establish ground rules within the group. Online is not the place to air grievances or for personal attacks. Remember anything published online that is considered offensive or derogatory could be subject to

legal action including defamation. Once the ground rules are established the online community can be a great way of connecting people - owner/occupiers, investors and tenants - and keeping them up-to-date on things happening in the building or even in the local community. For people who are new to the building it can be a way of making them feel welcome. For those interested in what is happening within the strata industry, Strata Community Australia has created a LinkedIn group that encourages professionals in the strata industry from around the country to communicate and exchange ideas and information. If you would like to join the LinkedIn group, search Strata Community Australia under the Groups tab and join in the discussions or contribute your own. If your building does not have a sense of community then you could be just one or two clicks away from that changing.

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      


StrataCall Summer 12/13  
StrataCall Summer 12/13  

A new magazine for the strata industy.