Removing part of an internal structural wall | Common Property | Flat Chat Forum: Your Questions Answered




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Removing part of an internal structural wall
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Lady K
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15/05/2018 - 4:53 pm
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Hi,

I wish to remove part of an internal wall which is load bearing.

Is this considered a Major Renovation as per the Strata Schemes Management Act 2015 (NSW)? The act accessible via this link

http://www8.austlii.edu.au/cgi…../s110.html

includes section 109 ‘Cosmetic work by owners’ and section 110 ‘Minor renovation by owners’ but I can’t find a section for Major work. Where do I find the same type of information about Major renovation in this act?

What are the differences in terms of what I need to provide between getting consent for minor and major renovation?

My proposed renovation is supported by structural drawings and a Certificate of Structural Design and Existing Structure Adequacy Certification from a practising structural engineer. 

Thanks.

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JimmyT
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15/05/2018 - 5:42 pm
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For Major work you require a special resolution by-law as outlined in Section 108. This will require you to convince a 75 percent majority of owners voting at an AGM or EGM that your plans are sound and safe and to give an undertaking to maintain and repair common property involved in the structural change.  You will also have to pay for the by-law and the cost of the meeting if it is an Extraordinary General Meeting.

I would recommend discussing this with your strata committee and/or strata manager from the beginning so that they can endorse and support your application.

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Lady K
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15/05/2018 - 6:31 pm
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Thanks JimmyT.

I have discussed with the strata committee multiple times but they were still against it based on their personal opinions (without any expert advice). In fact I took this to the AGM but it was voted down. However I maintain that the refusal to consent is unreasonable so I have applied to NCAT for a tribunal hearing as  the OC had declined mediation.

In addition to structural drawing and a Certificate of Structural Design and Existing Structure Adequacy Certification, I have also included a special by-law (provided to me by the strata manager). I am just wondering if there is anything else I need to include seeing it is a major renovation?

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kaindub
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16/05/2018 - 10:57 am
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Hi Lady K

I’m not sure that in this case NCAT will be sympathetic with you.

Living in a Strata development means that you can’t do anything you want, especially to common property which is owned by the Owners Corporation.

The right to a Major Renovation, especially one where there are structural modifications, and a priviledge granted to an Owner, not a right.

If you have been to an AGM and had your request for the Major Renovation rejected, you have two practical options.

(Forget the Strata Committee (but not its members) as they can’t approve or disapprove your major Renovation. It requires the vote at a GM)

1) Just accept the vote. Your great idea is not shared by a sufficient number of your fellow owners

2) Be nice to your neighbours. Have a word with them and convince them that your great idea is really not going to affect them, the value of their property or the structural integrity of the building.

Often Owners will vote against a motion because they fear the worst. Assure them all will be good.

Then put it to another GM if you can rally enough support

And remember that the motion fails (its different to passes) if 25% of the Owners voting at the meeting oppose the motion.

Make sure the people voting are financial (that may knock out a few) and maybe call a poll vote. But be sure you have the numbers first.

I wish I could be more positive about your dilemma and say you are right, but the SSMA limits your rights

Robert

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Lady K
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17/05/2018 - 10:19 am
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Thanks Robert.

It’s disappointing. Does that mean that even if I can show that the decision against was made without good reason (e.g. no expert report to show it is not safe), NCAT in this case is a ‘toothless tiger’?

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scotlandx
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17/05/2018 - 1:10 pm
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No Lady K it is not. There has to be a sound reason, i.e. refusal to grant approval has to be reasonable.

The SSMA does not limit your rights in the way described by Robert – for example, if an OC refused approval for an internal renovation on the basis that, “we don’t like it”, that is not a sound reason, and the refusal can be challenged.

It sounds like you have provided all that is necessary, so if I were you I would proceed to adjudication.

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Lady K
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17/05/2018 - 3:42 pm
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Hi scotlandx,

Thanks for your response. I agree with you that it is worth having a go. 

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