Drilling slab for timber floor | Hard floors and tough decisions | Flat Chat Forum: Your Questions Answered




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Drilling slab for timber floor
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bella
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02/09/2017 - 3:04 pm
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Please help me with the best course of action. We live in an apartment bought off the plan. All the apartments had soft floors.

The apartment above removed the carpets and drilled the slab down to accommodate a timber floor.

We now hear furniture being dragged around as well as footsteps.

We were not informed this work was to be carried out and I understood that if work is carried out on common property (the slab) it should have been approved by a General Meeting.

If the floor had been installed according to the rules should we be ably to hear noise from above?

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Lady Penelope
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02/09/2017 - 6:02 pm
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bella- I am not sure what you mean when you say that the slab was 'drilled down' to install timber flooring. What type of timber flooring was installed? Did the flooring have an underlay? Usually timber flooring is installed on top of another material (usually an acoustic underlay). I have not heard of the technique of 'drilling down'. 

With regard to installing or replacing wood or other hard floors this is deemed to be a 'Minor' renovation and needs approval by a general resolution (i.e. 50% of the vote) of the OC at a General Meeting. See Section 110 of the SSMA 2015.

The following conditions of Section 110 must be satisfied:

(4) Before obtaining the approval of the owners corporation, an owner of a lot must give written notice of proposed minor renovations to the owners corporation, including the following:

(a) details of the work, including copies of any plans,

(b) duration and times of the work,

(c)   details of the persons carrying out the work, including qualifications to carry out the work,

(d) arrangements to manage any resulting rubbish or debris.

(5) An owner of a lot must ensure that:

(a) any damage caused to any part of the common property by the carrying out of minor renovations by or on behalf of the owner is repaired, and

(b) the minor renovations and any repairs are carried out in a competent and proper manner.

Owners and occupants must not cause a nuisance, and they must not interfere with the peaceful enjoyment of the owner or occupier of another lot.

The upstairs neighbour has breached the Act if they have installed a timber floor without the proper authorization by the OC.

If you can hear footsteps etc then the upstairs neighbour may have committed another breach of the Act - that of not carrying out the minor renovation in a competent and proper manner. 

I would seek the assistance of the Office of Fair Trading in mediating this issue. At the very least you could be demanding that an acoustic sound test be carried out in your apartment at the neighbouring owner's expense, with the expected outcome being that the timber flooring be uplifted and reinstalled with a better acoustic barrier being placed between the slab and the timber. 

If you are unable to obtain a satisfactory resolution via Mediation then you have an option to seek an Order from the Tribunal (i.e. NCAT) to have the upstairs neighbour either: (a) reinstate the carpet, or (b) install a better acoustic underlay laid under the timber flooring.

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bella
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03/09/2017 - 8:48 am
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The drilling I referred to was my inadequate way of describing that they used pneumatic drilling to lower the slab floor level to accommadate the thicknes of the sound membrane and the dark oak floating floor. I am concerned that the soundproofing material is obviously not adequate to stop the noise transfer or the reduction of the thickness of the slab has contributed to the failure of the soundproofing. I believe from reading the forum etc. that there are companies that will tell you anything to sell you a product and in this case may be the soundproofing is not up to scratch. I also wonder if the slab could be compromised as regards thickness etc.

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Lady Penelope
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03/09/2017 - 9:54 am
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bella - Thanks for the clarification. 

You mentioned that the lots were sold off the plan.... Did the neighbouring owner undertake these renovations after the Settlement date on the property, or were these works carried out by the developer and/or building contractor at the request of the owner prior to the Settlement date i.e. was the owner's purchase of the property contingent on the flooring being changed prior to Settlement? The dates on which this works occurred may make a difference as to who is responsible. 

If the renovations occurred after the Settlement date then what you have described appears to be very unusual and appears to be another contravention of the Act by the neighbouring owner.

Alteration of the common property slab is a Section 108 issue and requires a Special Resolution by the OC at a General Meeting (i.e. 75% of the votes). It also requires the owner obtaining a by-law from the OC. The by-law must authorise the works, and should include an assurance that that the owner is responsible for repair and maintenance issues of the works. 

http://www.austlii.edu.au/cgi-...../s108.html

I would be immediately notifying your OC in writing about the unauthorised work to the slab (i.e. a breach of [s108]), and the non compliance with the conditions in [s110]. Also the need for a structural engineer's report, and an acoustic report.

I would also be seeking assistance from the Office of Fair Trading ASAP and raising all of your concerns regarding the breaches of the Act, and the requirement for expert reports (structural, and acoustic). Be prepared to take this matter to the Tribunal if necessary.

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bella
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03/09/2017 - 5:12 pm
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Lady Penelope, Thank you for your prompt responses, it is heartiening to have somebody share our problem.

We beleive the works were carried out long after settlement. We be;leive they also ripped out the brand new kitchen cabinetry and replaced it!

I will now look up the laws that you have mentioned and study them.

I have listened to Flat Chat on the radio for ages and am happy I have joined to Forum. I hope I can make a contribution.

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