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Unapproved floor is a cheap thin fake timber
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12/04/2018 - 3:51 pm
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Our upstairs neighbours have replaced their carpet with a product called Karndean Loose Lay Planks. The concrete slab was levelled with a skimcoat of a magnesite product and the 4.5mm thick vinyl planks were laid directly on top (no insulation).

The impact noise in our unit has gone from almost nothing to hearing every footstep and furniture movement.

The CSIRO Test of the product gave it a Ln,w rating of 64 on a 1500mm slab and I understand even the Building Code requires 62.

Our by-laws state that all floors should be acoustically treated to ensure the transmission of noise doesn’t unreasonably disturb the peaceful enjoyment of any other owner/occupier. Also that the removal or replacement of any floor coverings are deemed as works. The by-law relating to works says that an application should be made to the owners corporation and include certification from a specialised consultant that the works will not affect the structural integrity or amenity of the building or any part of it.

Our approaches to the neighbours failed completely and they will not enter into any communication at all, so we took the matter to the committee.

The Committee wrote to the owners and received an aggressive response describing the work done and stating that no by-laws have been broken and as only minor renovations have been carried out permission is not required.

We are not privy to the committee consultations and are waiting to see if they will take further action.

We are hoping that the committee will continue their efforts but the matter has been going on for four months. We are not sure if we should take it up ourselves through mediation/adjudication and what chance of success we have.

Any advice on the situation and what we should do would be really appreciated

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12/04/2018 - 4:02 pm
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Stradey said
We are not privy to the committee consultations and are waiting to see if they will take further action.

We are hoping that the committee will continue their efforts but the matter has been going on for four months. We are not sure if we should take it up ourselves through mediation/adjudication and what chance of success we have.

Firstly, you are entitled to see any communication between the committee and the owners, and the minutes of any meetings related to this issue.

Secondly, four months is way too long to wait for a result.  In your shoes I would commence action against the committee AND the upstairs owner at Fair Trading, with a view to seeking mediation with the intention of seeking orders at NCAT. 

In the case of the committee, the mediation would be to require them to fulfil their duties under section 232 (1)(e) (below).

Or you could simply seek a direct ruling from NCAT under section 232 (1)(a) to resolve the dispute.

once you’ve had your mediation, you would have to choose who you were going to take to the Tribunal – you can’t do both at the same time – but I would hope that the strata committee would get moving on this once they saw you were going to take them to Fair Trading and they might end up having to issue Notices to Comply and breaches anyway.

As far as your chances of success go, the vehemence of  lot owners’ responses tends to be an indication that they are on shaky ground. If they have ignored clearly stated by-laws means you a have a very good chance of success – but there are no guarantees.

Even without by-laws, you are entitled to the peaceful enjoyment of your lot so start taking a noise diary and get sworn statements from friends and neighbours that the noise is disruptive and intrusive.


232   Orders to settle disputes or rectify complaints

(1) Orders relating to complaints and disputes

The Tribunal may, on application by an interested person, original owner or building manager, make an order to settle a complaint or dispute about any of the following:

(a)  the operation, administration or management of a strata scheme under this Act,

(e)  an exercise of, or failure to exercise, a function conferred or imposed by or under this Act or the by-laws of a strata scheme,

(2) Failure to exercise a function

For the purposes of this section, an owners corporation, strata committee or building management committee is taken not to have exercised a function if:
(a)  it decides not to exercise the function, or 
(b)  application is made to it to exercise the function and it fails for 2 months after the making of the application to exercise the function in accordance with the application or to inform the applicant that it has decided not to exercise the function in accordance with the application.

Lady Penelope


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12/04/2018 - 4:57 pm
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Below is a comprehensive brochure outlining the acoustic qualities of the loose lay vinyl planks. You may find it useful as a reference.

It appears that there are ways to make this type of flooring perform better by way of an installation of a Regupol acoustic underlay. The thickness of the underlay can be either 3 mm or 4.5 mm.

Impact sound must be 62dB or less for multi-residential applications in accordance with standard ISO 717 – 2.

Apparently the loose lay planks are 62dB or 61dB with no underlay (depending on the thickness of the slab). This improves to 57dB and 55dB with the 4.5 mm underlay.


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