Do’s and don’ts for strata renovations in NSW

NSW do’s and don’ts for strata renovations article header image

Do’s and don’ts for strata renovations in NSW

Starting a home renovation can be very exciting, but if you live in an apartment there’s some key information you should be across when you live in a strata property. The classification a renovation falls under may determine what you can and can’t do.

In New South Wales, renovations are be classified into three categories:

1. Cosmetic works

2. Minor renovations

3. Major renovations

Each of these renovation types have a different approval process. When planning to renovate your property within a strata scheme, it is important to know what category your renovation work fits into and whether you need owners corporation approval.

 

PICA Group’s tips on the three types of renovations to help you get clarity:

 

1. Cosmetic works – do it yourself

Cosmetic works are superficial changes to the look and feel of your property, such as painting interior walls, or installing handrails. You do not need to have committee approval to carry out cosmetic works.

While making cosmetic renovations within your property, keep in mind that you would be responsible for any damage to common property as a result of the renovations.

 

2. Minor renovations – seek committee approval

For minor renovations, approval by ordinary resolution of the strata committee is required.

Minor renovations include renovating a kitchen, change recessed light fittings, installing hardwood floors, removing carpet to expose hardwood floors, installing air-conditioning or replacing or changing common infrastructure such as wiring, cabling or power or access points.

The owners corporation or strata committee may impose reasonable conditions on the approval of works such as requiring you to keep up a good state of repair for any common property to which the renovations are attached to.

Also, you may have specific conditions in your by-laws relating to minor renovations so before you start any renovation work, refer to your by-laws as the first point of call.

The law prescribes that minor works do not include:

  • Cosmetic works
  • Structural changes to the property
  • Changes to the appearance of a lot, including an external ramp
  • Works affecting the safety of a lot, including fire safety systems
  • Waterproofing or plumbing or exhaust system of a building
  • Works requiring consent or approval under any other Act (such as Council approval or consent under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979)
  • Work that is authorised by a special by-law or a common property rights by-law

 

 

3. Major renovations – obtain a special resolution approval vote

Major renovations could impact the very structure and framework of both your lot and the common property, and therefore warrant a much more stringent approval process.

First, the work needs a special resolution vote before it can move ahead. Next, before the work begins, the owner must give the committee or owners corporation written notice at least 14 days in advance, describing the proposed alteration in detail. Unlike for minor renovations, the owners corporation cannot delegate approval for major renovations to the strata committee.

Major renovations include:

  • structural changes
  • waterproofing
  • fire-safety
  • cladding and insulation
  • changes affecting the outside appearance of the property such as an access ramp
  • works that needs approval under other laws (e.g. council approval).

 

If you’d like to find out more on what you can or can’t do at your strata property, download our FREE building compliance guide on building compliance. Or for a strata repairs and maintenance services consultation by our Assured Building Maintenance team (NSW only), click here.