Podcast 71 – Redesigning flats for work and a legal view of solo meetings


Sometimes the way we want to live influences architecture, sometimes architecture influences the way we live.

There are still older blocks dotted around Sydney’s harbour suburbs where someone who wanted a penthouse with a view, constructed several floors of units for rent to support (in so many ways) the fabulous pad on the roof.

Some original apartment blocks in our inner-cities have tiny kitchens because they originally had restaurants and dining rooms on their roofs (and dumb waiter pulley systems to deliver meals to those who didn’t want to leave their apartments).

In this week’s Flat Chat Wrap, Sue Williams discusses a feature she’s written that examines the effect of the current lockdown on the way apartments will be designed in the future.

With more people working from home, two trains of thought are in motion.  One, working from home can be a great thing, either permanently or part-time. Two, our homes aren’t ideally set up to allow us to do that.

Architects whom Sue has interviewed predict popular demand for proper studies, balconies and shared open spaces, as well as more clearly defined separate areas within the apartments so that residents can get away from each other when they need to. Even two-story apartments could be the next big thing.

Home working injuries

Sue also raises the issue of workplace injuries in the home – apparently your employer is responsible for your workplace safety, even when you are working off your own dining table.

With that in mind, Jimmy explains how squeezing an invisible orange can help your posture, especially when you spend hours hunched over your laptop on a coffee table.

A strata lawyer speaks

Also in this week’s podcast Jimmy and Sue chat with specialist strata lawyer David Sachs of Sachs Gerace Lawyers about the new short-term letting by-law provision in NSW and the ability of owners corporations to hold general meetings electronically, despite the Catch-22 of not being able to hold the meetings required to permit electronic meetings.

Jimmy pats himself on the back for coming up with the one-person EGM plan which David says is perfectly legal, but suggests holding a plebiscite first, to show that the majority of owners want approval for electronic meetings.

FYI, since this podcast was recorded, the Queensland government has announced that all body corporate meetings can now be conducted remotely, via electronic interfaces and voting, without requiring prior approval of owners.

Surely NSW and Victoria can’t be too far behind, and avoid the one-person EGMs that Jimmy suggested.

One interesting observation from David is that  owner corps often “push the envelope” with their decisions to achieve a specific outcome, and they can operate for years until someone who wants something different decides to challenge them at a tribunal.

Coronavirus guide

Later, Jimmy explains why the NSW SCA guide to dealing with coronavirus is really good but also just a bit too much.  Should information for strata managers and building managers be lumped in with essential advise for owners, committees and other residents? As in this post, he says no.

Sue’s “Hey Martha!” is about how Captain Tom Moore raised $55 million for British National Health Service charities … and got to top of the pops.

And Jimmy chooses a video showing how a deaf dog discovers it’s time for “walkies”!

Listen here

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