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  • #53970
    websta
    Flatchatter

    Hi

    I live in NSW, close to the train line and would like to replace the thin glass in my balcony door with an acoustic grade glass. I decided to go with the preferred glass contractor to the building to minimise any issues, which is also the same company which installed the balcony door/ glass six years ago on build. The glass company said the acoustic glass won’t have any impact on the operation of the door or its maintenance and won’t be noticeable.

    The Strata Manager is advising that I need a by-law and 75% approval. I had thought this would be considered a minor renovation since it is very similar to double glazing etc (noting that law can’t prescribe for every type of situation or new development in acoustics, but this sounded analogous to me).  Is the Strata Manager correct? It seems like such a minor change to warrant the added expense and hassle of by-laws and 75% approval.  I think the Strata Manager tried to draw a distinction between double glazing which fits over the existing glass (minor renovation) and actually substituting the glass (which is not a minor renovation) but this seems artificial to me.

    Any help or guidance is greatly appreciated!

Viewing 8 replies - 1 through 8 (of 8 total)
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  • #53972
    Jimmy-T
    Keymaster

    This is what the Regulations say:

    28   Minor renovations by owners

    Work for the following purposes is prescribed as minor renovations for the purposes of section 110(3) of the Act—

    (e)  installing double or triple glazed windows,

    Note—

    The work prescribed by this clause is subject to the requirements set out in section 110(7) of the Act, including requirements that it does not involve structural changes, changes to the external appearance of a lot or waterproofing.
    Also you will find definitions of  different types of double glazing HERE.
    It strikes me that you are not installing double glazing at all.  You are just changing the glass which is a much less significant renovation that installing double or triple glazing, as defined by the act.
    IMHO your strata manager is being unnecessarily pedantic.  Offer to give them a signed, witnessed and notarised  document saying that you take responsibility for the ongoing maintenance and repairs to the windows and sliding doors.  That’s more than they would get with double glazing.
    If they refuse, suggest that the current windows are not fit for purpose and you could take them to NCAT to force them to change them at the OC’s expense.
    OR
    Ask them to include a retrospective  approval item on the agenda of the next AGM.
    It really doesn’t need to be so hard and they should be following the spirit of the law rather that the letter which is vague in any case.
    #53992
    websta
    Flatchatter
    Chat-starter

    Thanks for your response. That was exactly my thinking about being less significant than double glazing. I’m in a relatively large apartment complex and the Strata Committee is completely black letter. The Strata Manager sympathises with my position but interprets the Act / Regulations as requiring a by-law and 75% approval. She considers that this is an actual change to common property where all the other items specified as minor renovations don’t change common property (NB: her interpretation of double glazing is just installing secondary glass over the original glass without making any change to it).  Is she correct? She would be happy if I found something that indicated her interpretation is mistaken and my interpretation is correct.

    The extra expense and hassle of the by-law and 75% approval really makes the process more challenging than it should be for such a small change.

     

    #53986
    twosailram
    Flatchatter

    Check with the glass company whether your ‘thicker’ glass is actually a single sheet or two sheets laminated together with a film in the middle. ie maybe technically double glazing.

    Alternatively, just go for it and run a small risk anyone will do something.

    #54007
    Jimmy-T
    Keymaster

    Here are two definitions of double-glazing from reliable sources:  Build.com.au and Action Glass (among other commerial suppliers).

    What your strata committee is referring to is Secondary Glazing which is fitted on top of existing windows.  I would challenge them to prove that what the Act is talking about is the more widely recognised version of double glazing and not the admittedly frequent misuse of the term for commercial purposes.

    So you are trying to do something that is less significant than what the Act allows.  And the way you challenge them is to request mediation at Fair Trading where, hopefully, someone will explain what the Act actually means.

    #54113
    Jimmy-T
    Keymaster

    Guess what, Fair Trading declines to offer a definition of what double or triple glazing is.

    I received an email this morning that says “the Regulation does not provide further definition of ‘double or triple glazed windows’.”

    Yeah, I know.  That’s why I asked the question.

    It went on to say that you should check with the glazier to see what kind of double glazing you want and then with your strata committee to see what they allow.

    If they say you need a by-law, and you disagree, then take it up with mediation and then NCAT. So it’s not a minor renovation then, is it?

    “To assist in confirming the type of glazing proposed and to confirm compliance or otherwise with the provisions of  28(e), the lot owner may wish to obtain advice/information from the glazier confirming the type of glazing proposed and discuss this again with the owners corporation,” says a Fair Trading spokesperson.

     If a lot owner does not agree with the owners corporation’s determination that the work is a major renovation requiring a special resolution and a by-law, the next step in the dispute resolution process is for the lot owner to apply for mediation with NSW Fair Trading  .

    If mediation is declined by the owners corporation or if it is unsuccessful, the lot owner then has the option to apply to the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT) to seek an order.

    So Wim Jansen (below) is right.  Even just thicker glass requires a change of window frames and that requires a by-law.

    If you are interested in secondary double glazing that doesn’t require changing the windows, and therefore has no need for by-laws, Google “clip-on double glazing”.

    But if you are going to need by-laws anyway, check out our sponsors Windowline to see how much it would cost to  install fully integrated and much more efficient double or triple glazing.

    Meanwhile, why do the regulations specify double and triple glazing as being a minor renovation since fully integrated double glazing would require by-laws?

    Logic dictates that it can only be secondary or clip-on double glazing that doesn’t require a by-law and why Fair Trading can’t just come out and say this, and amend the regulations accordingly, is beyond me.

    #54123
    websta
    Flatchatter
    Chat-starter

    Thanks all. I’m pretty sure it’s two sheets with a laminate in the middle. The Strata Manager also very indirectly hinted that I could make the change and no one would notice (she can’t actually say that else she loses her licence) but by trying to do the right thing to start with, the SC is already on notice and will be looking out.

    The window frames don’t actually need to change – the existing ones were confirmed to be are sufficient. It’s just the glass itself that needs to change. The glass company also confirmed that the heavier glass wouldnt adversely affect the rollers for the door or any maintenance.

    Seems very frustrating and I’m resigning myself to the fact that replacing the glass might not be the best option. I will look into other options but not sure how Windowline’s double glazing works when the glass is in a balcony door (as compared to a window).

    #54130
    Jimmy-T
    Keymaster

    If the glass can be changed without changing or damaging the frames, then I would think that could qualify as a minor renovation.

    But I can tell you that Wim Jansen (below), who I think is a strata manager,  will probably say if you touch the frames, it’s a change to common property and therefore requires a by-law.

    It’s changing the frames that would make this a major renovation, not changing the glass.  If the frames weren’t being changed, I might just go ahead and deal with the consequences later – it’s easier to apologise than get permisson, sometimes.

    Of course the glazier will tell you this won’t make any difference to your sliding doors – they are in the business of selling windows.  But in this case, if the new glass is too heavy for the rollers, don’t expect the strata committee to pay for repairs.  They are more likely to charge you for damaging common property.

    #54135
    Kangarookiwi
    Flatchatter

    Hello, I’m on the committee for a block of 31 units, 50% rented.  The approach I found works is to consider the other owners, they will most likely have the same noise issue. Discuss and go over options and costs with them , also bring it up at Committee meeting, then call a EGM – with luck it will have other items that cant wait for a AGM.

    Having changes recorded in a EGM/AGM keeps everyone officially informed.

    Being on the Committee is key if you actually want stuff done, and familiarize yourself with the legislation/regulations- its fairly well laid out.

Viewing 8 replies - 1 through 8 (of 8 total)
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