EC being unnecessarily difficult? | Hard floors and tough decisions | Flat Chat Forum: Your Questions Answered




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EC being unnecessarily difficult?
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user8687
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18/03/2015 - 11:02 am
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Relevant info:

  • 1st Floor (Car spaces underneath)
  • Neighbour on one side only with common walls being of bedrooms
  • Wanting to install bamboo flooring with Dunlop Aquacoustic underlay
  • 40 year old apartment block

We've received conditional approval to install our flooring from the EC. All conditions included are within by-laws, but written as "possibilities" eg.

"If requested by the owners corporation, within one month of completion of the works the owner at his own expense must give the Owners corporation a report signed by a qualified acoustic engineer certifying the acoustical star rating, according to the current ACCC guideline, achieved by the non carpet flooring as installed"

An engineer for the company recommended by the EC has stated in writing to us:

"In my professional opinion, post-installation impact noise isolation testing of your bamboo floors will not be required given that your apartment does not lie directly over another apartment.  Because your apartment lies over a carpark, there is no requirement for your bamboo floors to achieve and LnTw rating of 45.

With regard to noise transfer from your floors to apartments horizontally adjacent, this is more an issue of airborne noise transmission rather than impact noise transmission.  There will no issue of footfall noise to your neighbours provided that your floors are isolated from the walls and slab correctly."

When we showed the above letter to the EC, they've said that the engineer is incorrect and still want enforce testing at a cost of $1900 + GST to us.

So my question is, are we missing something, or is this as illogical/ irrational as it sounds?

Can we do anything further to save us the inconvenience and the money?

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Whale
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19/03/2015 - 10:33 am
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Your Owners Corporation's Special By-Law has clearly been written around a precautionary approach, that given the problems that so many have experienced after accepting low noise-transmission assurances from self-titled "engineers" as the basis of then consenting to a variety of hard flooring materials, is entirely justified in my opinion.

That Special By-Law obviously enables the Executive Committee to impose the Conditions that you've quoted, but IF you're saying that they're going to arbitrarily insist on a Report that those Conditions state may be "requested", then I'd suggest that they'd need some firm justification in order to enforce that.

Our Plan's Special By-Law (SBL) requires a similarly based Report, but only in circumstances where the Owners Corporation's Consent to a hard floor has been given on the basis of the best acoustic information available, and then verified complaints of impact-related noise arise from adjacent Lots and the E/C reasonably determines that's likely to be a Breach (of the SBL); but not arbitrarily "within one month of completion of the works" as yours does!

I don't often say this (if ever) but if what you're saying is correct, then after making damn sure that your Lot's acoustic underlay is adequate, and I'd suggest extended vertically up the margins of the walls (i.e. to the top/surface of the flooring), I'd be going ahead with the works and letting the E/C objectively justify its "request" for a Report - which in the absence of verified complaints by the neighbours I'd simply ignore. 

Sure, your O/C can take you to Mediation but in the absence of evidence to support its justification for requiring a Report I can't see that going to Arbitration or to the point where Orders or Penalties are awarded against you.

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