Floating floors and magnesite | Hard floors and tough decisions | Flat Chat Forum: Your Questions Answered




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Floating floors and magnesite
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dingo
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19/07/2017 - 6:09 pm
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Im looking for any information/ testing reports / NCAT experience on the requirements for underlay for floating floors laid over magnesite floor topping. Concrete slab under magenesite. Magnesite about 20-30 mm thick. Thanks in advance.

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Lady Penelope
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19/07/2017 - 10:45 pm
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dingo - The magnesite coating installed in buildings in the 1960s and 1970s was mainly used as a levelling compound to provide an adequate level surface to the floor. It is a cork type material which is soft and provides a softer finish to the floor. Magnesite was superseded by the more recent improved carpet underlays.

Magnesite is a type of acoustic material. 

If NCAT was to receive a request from another Lot owner for an Order for the removal of your floating flooring due to unreasonable interference with the quiet enjoyment of their Lot then this would be difficult for the person seeking the Order to prove.

Multi-storey noise testing generally involves the site testing of a flooring system in situ. It involves a measurement of noise transfer from an upper floor to a lower floor (receiving room). A standardised “tapping” machine is installed in the upper room, and sensitive listening equipment is used on the receiving room to measure the effective noise reduction.

A 'tap' test would not be relevant to your situation as you are on the ground floor with no one living below you.

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dingo
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20/07/2017 - 2:01 am
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Lady Penelope thanks again for sharing your knowledge. What about lateral noise though as I have one unit beside me on the same level and the two rear units have the floor slab around half way down my walls (Step down slab)
That’s my SM's line of attack. I read your previous comments on this , but can tests be performed for lateral noise in the unit next door?

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Lady Penelope
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20/07/2017 - 8:04 am
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Your floating floor installer will have a better idea on how to prevent noise transference through the walls so it would be best to ask them. I would have thought that an adequate gap between the flooring and the wall should be enough to prevent sound from the floor being transferred through the wall. 

Whether a floor will create a lateral noise nuisance can only be properly assessed after the flooring has been laid.

Your SM is being unreasonably overly prescriptive in my opinion. It is not the responsibility of the SM to set the rules in your building. If the floating floor is laid by a competent trades person then lateral noise transference should not be a problem.

In your application you could add this statement: that should it become apparent that the floating flooring unreasonably interferes with the 'peaceful enjoyment of any other lot', that you will pay for the complete removal of the hard floor and the installation of carpet or a satisfactorily insulated hard floor.

The onus would then be upon the person who is affected by the issue to prove that the interference from your floating floor is 'unreasonable', but only after the flooring has been laid. 

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dingo
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20/07/2017 - 5:07 pm
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Lady Penelope , if only I was able to summate so eloquently and im yet to meet a SM of this particular company that isn’t overly prescriptive.  You mentioned that you have just gained approval for your own renovations. - was wondering if you know where I can find a sample application letter for both major and minor renovations?

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williamW
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26/07/2017 - 9:18 am
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I'm with JimmyT on this one.  Nothing is as quiet as quality carpet.  I'm yet to hear a reason to install hard floors that benefits the strata community, only reasons that benefit the individual installing the hard floors.  

Noise transfer is greater, complaints are more likely, heartache and stress for the affected resident/s and more work for the strata committee.  

The installation company will tell you what you want to hear to secure the sale.  

The batons need to be secured to something sturdy, like the concrete slab rather than the 40 year old crumbling magnesite. The magnesite will do little to assist in noise insulation.

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dingo
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26/07/2017 - 9:16 pm
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williamW said
I'm with JimmyT on this one.  Nothing is as quiet as quality carpet.  I'm yet to hear a reason to install hard floors that benefits the strata community, only reasons that benefit the individual installing the hard floors.  

Noise transfer is greater, complaints are more likely, heartache and stress for the affected resident/s and more work for the strata committee.  

The installation company will tell you what you want to hear to secure the sale.  

The batons need to be secured to something sturdy, like the concrete slab rather than the 40 year old crumbling magnesite. The magnesite will do little to assist in noise insulation.  

I didnt see any comments here by JimmyT? and I think there is a reason they call iit floating floor. That’s because it floats over the sub floor and is not fixed to anything.  My question was not intended to evoke personal opinions i was merely asking for sound testing data as most tests I  have seen are done directly on concrete sub floor.  FYI  I think JimmyT has floating floors.

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Puddn
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27/07/2017 - 11:55 am
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Dingo asks
 was wondering if you know where I can find a sample application letter for both major and minor renovations?

If your SC/SM does not have an application form to send you (our SC has created its own), then you could cut and paste from the Act (s110) and use that as a template:

(3) "Minor renovations" include but are not limited to work for the purposes of the following:

(a) renovating a kitchen,

(b) changing recessed light fittings,

(c) installing or replacing wood or other hard floors,

(d) installing or replacing wiring or cabling or power or access points,

(e) work involving reconfiguring walls,

(f) any other work prescribed by the regulations for the purposes of this subsection.

(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.

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dingo
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27/07/2017 - 2:54 pm
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Thanks Puddn as with details of the persons carrying out the work, including qualifications to carry out the work,

Do you know what "details" I should provide.  Im coordinating the trades and works myself. aka project manager.

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Puddn
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28/07/2017 - 4:17 pm
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At our strata, we highly recommend an in-situ acoustic test of a selection of products be done prior to purchase. Else there is a risk that an application starts on the wrong foot.

As for the application -

I would make a sketch of the areas being affected and detail the precise scope of work intended, including the type of flooring, underlay, installation method. 

For example, in a recent application I received for consideration:

"A minimum 10mm isolation air gap will be maintained between the above floor components and the walls, at all wall/floor junctions and a minimum 5mm isolation air gap between the finished timber floor and all architraves and door jambs This gap can be treated with installation of foam backing rod, and flexible polyurethane sealant"

Hope this helps

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Lady Penelope
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28/07/2017 - 7:27 pm
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Puddn - That is useful information, and the details may be a beneficial guide to an OC's creation of a flooring by-law.

The original question from 'Dingo' was regarding the installation of a floating timber floor within a ground floor apartment of a strata scheme that apparently had no by-laws regarding flooring and therefore no conditions regarding flooring.

The flooring of a ground floor apartment would generally not fit within one of the BCA compliance categories.

Deemed to Satisfy Requirements: Sound Insulation Rating of Floors

A floor in a Class 2 or 3 building must have an Rw + Ctr (airborne) of not less than 50 and an L’n,w + Cl (impact) not more than 62 if it separates

I.            sole-occupancy units; or

II.            a sole-occupancy unit from a plant room, lift shafts, stairway, public corridor, public lobby or

III.            the like, or part of a different classification.

From memory 'Dingo' was being asked by the SM to satisfy several expensive and onerous conditions that were not contained within any authorising by-law. If the OC wants to impose conditions then it cannot do this retrospectively. It must do so by the passing of a reasonable authorising by-law at a General Meeting. The committee, (and the SM) do not have the authority to impose conditions arbitrarily.

In the situation where there was no authorising by-law 'Dingo' could reasonably raise a Motion stating:

"That in compliance with [s110] SSMA 2015 the Owner's Corporation approves the installation, by a qualified flooring specialist, of a floating timber floor that complies with the sound insulation rating currently required by the  BCA for a ground floor unit within a Class 2 buildings".  

Approval of this flooring Motion would require an Ordinary Resolution i.e. a simple majority. Approval cannot be unreasonably with held.

In addition to such a Motion, and within the Explanatory Material (or within an accompanying 'notice' correspondence) Dingo would need to comply with [s110(4)] of the SSMA 2015 which states:

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.

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dingo
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28/07/2017 - 10:44 pm
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Once again LP thank you for helping me with this quandary with the strata monster.

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