Queensland body corporate industry updates
The timeline below provides summaries of relevant industry updates that impact or may interest body corporate property owners and residents in Queensland.
PICA Group’s CEO Wayne Walker will once again be participating in the Vinnies CEO Sleepout, this year on 23 June. Needless to say, we’re incredibly proud of him.
This annual event raises vital funds for people experiencing homelessness or at risk of finding themselves without a safe place to call home. Every dollar we raise goes to Vinnies’ services, which include food, accommodation, education, counselling, employment and health programs. If you’d like to make a donation to Wayne’s fundraising effort, you can do so below.
The Federal Government has now passed the Treasury Laws Amendment (Cyclone and Flood Damage Reinsurance Pool) Bill 2022, which is due to assist property owners in cyclone-prone regions with insurance affordability.
This program was first announced as part of the 2021-22 Federal Budget last year and is backed by a $10 billion government guarantee. This will allow the government to establish a reinsurance pool, which is set to assist with supporting the funding of claims for over 880,000 eligible policies.
The true specifics of how this legislation will operate across the insurance sector are yet to be fully determined as the insurance pool has only recently been announced. In the meantime, you can access the specific legislation below.
Last year, the Federal Government announced a reinsurance pool for cyclone and flood-prone areas to protect more than 880,00 residential, strata and small businesses against risk and related damages. The final design has been announced following consultation on the draft legislation.
It will be backed by a $10 billion annually reinstated Commonwealth guarantee and be administered by the Australian Reinsurance Pool Corporation. This is scheduled for a 1 July 2022 start date.
The Queensland Government has announced that 30 local government areas (LGAs) will receive new land valuations this year. These LGAs include Boulia, Brisbane, Bundaberg, Burke, Cairns, Carpentaria, Cassowary Coast, Croydon, Douglas, Etheridge, Fraser Coast, Gold Coast, Goondiwindi, Gympie, Ipswich, Livingstone, Lockyer Valley, Logan, Mareeba, Moreton Bay, Noosa, North Burnett, Redland, Rockhampton, Scenic Rim, Somerset, South Burnett, Sunshine Coast, Toowoomba and Townsville.
This new valuation may affect how much your property pays in council fees.
If your body corporate property is located in the LGAs mentioned above, you can request your new land valuation via the link below.
Late last year, the Office of the Commissioner for Body Corporate and Community Management’s adjudicator ordered a body corporate property owner to stop smoking on their balcony after complaints from neighbours. The ruling was made as the adjudicator felt the smoking was causing a hazard to others.
While this is just one case, it has set a precedent for cases of a similar nature. It may also have the potential for driving changes to laws around smoking in body corporate properties in the future.
Queensland is currently amid a 10-year rollout of interconnected photoelectric smoke alarms. All body corporates and body corporate owners are obligated to take part in this rollout.
Body corporate property owners who let out their property must have interconnected smoke alarms installed by 1 January 2022. Smoke alarms must also be tested within the first 30 days of all new tenancies. Body corporate property owner-occupiers must replace existing smoke alarms manufactured more than 10 years ago, as well as any smoke alarms that do not operate when tested, with photoelectric smoke alarms that comply with Australian Standard 3786–2014.
All bodies corporate must ensure all fire safety systems are tested regularly. This includes:
- Testing fire doors and sprinklers (even those in a lot) once every twelve months
- Testing hard-wired assessable smoke detectors that are on common property.
All body corporate properties involved in Stage 3 of the Cladding Checklist must by now have obtained a Fire Engineers Statement and Building Fire Safety Risk Assessment. If the building was deemed to have a fire risk, the body corporate must display an affected building notice in a prominent area.
Bodies corporate are responsible for giving all body corporate owners and tenants a hard copy of the Building Fire Safety Risk Assessment within 60 days of receiving it. New owners and tenants must be given a hard copy of the document within 60 days of their name being entered into the body corporate roll.
This requirement is in place for seven years unless the building has the cladding in question removed.
In a win for all Australians, a majority of state and territory building ministers have agreed to a national minimum standard in the draft of the National Construction Code 2022. These reforms will lead the way for 50% of homes to have minimum accessibility features suitable for the elderly and those living with a disability. They will include seven key design elements:
- A safe, step-free path from the street entrance or parking areas to the home’s entrance
- At least one step-free entrance to the home
- Internal doors and corridors that allow unobstructed movement between spaces
- An accessible toilet on the ground or entry-level
- A bathroom with a shower recess
- Walls around the toilet, shower and bath that allow for the installation of grab rails
- Stairways that are designed to reduce the likelihood of injury, which can be adapted later if need be.
While upfront costs for these design elements will likely only total around 1% of total building costs, they will cost around 20 times more to be retrofitted.
These new standards are slated to change the way body corporate property common areas are designed and constructed in the future.
July 2021: Fax numbers to be retired
While using a fax machine may seem old-fashioned, we’ve been holding onto it for some customers. However, from 30 July 2021, we will be retiring our fax numbers. You can now email firstname.lastname@example.org with any documents you may have usually faxed through to us.
June 2021: Our Customer Care Centre is here to assist you
Our Customer Care Centre was first introduced during COVID-19 to ensure accessibility into our branch staff while providing continuity of service when it was needed the most. Due to positive feedback, customers will now have access to this service permanently.
We are currently working on improving the service, so that customers can receive both immediate assistance and fast resolution on a broader range of important strata property matters, including:
- Levy queries
- Meeting notices
- Document requests
- Setting up direct debits and refunds
- Providing a certificate of currency via your insurer
- Change of address and contact details
- StrataVote access
- CommunityHub access.
Our Customer Care Centre can be reached on 1300 889 227 or email@example.com.
June 2021: Katie Kelly sprints closer to Tokyo Paralympics
Katie Kelly and her para-triathlon team, who PICA Group proudly sponsor, have come one step closer to qualifying for the Tokyo Paralympics. She came first in the Yokohama test event held in May. This is a phenomenal achievement, which is a testament to the hard work she has put in over the last few months. Congratulations Katie, we are all so proud of you!
Wayne Walker, PICA Group’s CEO, will be joining business, government and community leaders across Australia in participating in the CEO Sleepout on 17 June. The CEO Sleepout is an annual event to raise money for people experiencing homelessness. Every dollar raised will go to Vinnies’ not-for-profit services, including food, accommodation, education, counselling, employment and health programs. So far, Wayne has raised $12,650 for Vinnies. If you would like to support Wayne in his goal of breaking the devastating cycle of homelessness, you can donate via the link below.
May 2021: $10 billion funding support for reducing insurance costs in Northern Australia announced
This year’s federal budget announcement included a guarantee of $10 billion for a reinsurance pool, which plans to subsidise insurance costs in areas prone to cyclones and flooding. Around 500,000 insurance policies, including policies held by body corporate property owners, are expected to benefit from the program. It is scheduled to be up and running by July 2022, although the specifics of how it will operate are yet to be confirmed.
We have now passed the deadline for the final stage of the Safer Buildings program’s combustible cladding checklist. This means that if your body corporate property was eligible for stage 3b, you must have completed the following by now:
- Had a fire safety engineer prepare and sign a fire safety risk assessment and statement
- Uploaded these forms to the QBCC website
- Filled out and signed the checklist part 3B and uploaded it to the QBCC website
If a cladding fire risk was identified on your body corporate property, you must now display an Affected Private Building Notice in a prominent place and submit photographic evidence to the QBCC to confirm the notice displayed correctly.