Hard floors in townhouses | Hard floors and tough decisions | Flat Chat Forum: Your Questions Answered




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Hard floors in townhouses
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Slarti
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17/01/2017 - 8:53 am
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Hi,

I have  friend (really!) who wants to install floating floorboards in a townhouse. That is, all the dweelings that comprise the strata are side by side, nobody above or below. There is only one common wall on either side.

The strata members agree that the proposed floor construction will be sufficient to prevent noise. However, they are blocking the request for two resons:

-  "something may change and it might get noisy in the future". 

and

- "a future owner may decide to change the stairs covering to a hard surface"

Are those reasonable objections?

Also, I've only seen concerns for flooring with regards to dwellings above/below. Is it common to block requests for dweliings that are side by side?

Cheers,

 

Peet

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JimmyT
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17/01/2017 - 10:37 am
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The lateral transmission of noise is not as obvious as the vertical but it can be an issue, especially if all the townhouses are on the same concrete slab.

Also, noise issues are as much behavioural as they are structural.  E.g. anyone who wants a timber or tile floor and also wants their kids to run around on it, or plant a giant sub-woofer speaker on it, is asking for trouble.

That said, there are enough protections under the "peaceful enjoyment" provisions of strata law and by-laws that no owners corp should be unduly concerned about a properly insulated and installed hard floor - just as the owner should not be surprised if they are ordered to carpet over a cheaply installed hard floor and/or stop jumping around on it.

The strata committee is being over-cautious in my opinion and they should be made aware that the owner can take them to the Tribunal and seek section 232 orders compelling them to permit the flooring.

It would be better for them to get a binding agreement that the floor will be replaced if it proves noisy and that the stairs will always be carpeted.  By the way, the stairs are a different issue because they are probably attached to a wall and that is a very different set of acoustic issues. 

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Missy
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17/01/2017 - 12:27 pm
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I live in a townhouse (in WA), that has timber solid jarrah flooring throughout.  There is only carpet on the upstairs landing, and bedrooms.  My neighbour who I have a common wall with has the same layout. 

I can tell you that Jimmy is right about the noise and the tenants/owners attitude.  I went from a noisy little brat who with loud base music I could feel the base under my feet throughout my house and hear them go up and down the stairs to even opening a closing doors.  I have new neighbours and apart from the front gate I never hear boo from.  I don't hear any music and I do not hear them walking around or going up stairs or opening and closing doors.

The main issue (apart from having rules in place and proper insulation) from personal experience is making sure that when noise occurs that the people living their change their habits and attitudes to be more mindful of others.  Noise living in such close quarters is expected, but some noise is attitude based ie loud music at 3am.  But also having a EC and Manager willing to enforce the rules

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Marvin
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17/01/2017 - 8:43 pm
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Sound transmission through townhouse common walls can be a real problem, particularly at night.  I'd be OK with timber flooring on the ground floor (typically, lounge, dining, kitchen), but not on an upper level where there are bedrooms.

As to the question "are those reasonable objections" - does that really matter?  Isn't it up to the owners to decide these things.  If a majority vote against, doesn't that kill the proposal?

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JimmyT
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17/01/2017 - 11:39 pm
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Marvin said
As to the question "are those reasonable objections" - does that really matter?  Isn't it up to the owners to decide these things.  If a majority vote against, doesn't that kill the proposal?  

Thee are lots of reasons committees make bad decisions that are unfair or just plain wrong- ignorance and bullying being just two.

Section 232 allows the Tribunal to issue orders to a strata committee to resolve a dispute over a decision it has made or refused to make.  But you have to convince the Member that the owners corp acted wrongly in terms of either the strata Act or the scheme's by-laws.

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Slarti
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20/01/2017 - 7:43 am
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Thanks very much for the input everyone.

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