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  • #9554
    AvatarRL

    Hi flatters,

    I want to install a solar heating panel on the roof of our multi-storey block, to heat my own apartment.  The panel would heat air in the sun, pump it down a duct added to the outside of the building using a solar-powered fan, and into my apartment.

    I’ll start by talking to the EC to get their approval, but I’m not sure what is required beyond just having an emailed go-ahead from the current EC.  In the past the EC has approved smaller projects (eg. a bathroom fan ducted through an external wall) this way.  This is a fair bit bigger.

    Is a meeting of all owners legally required?  Is it a good idea even if it’s not required?

    Is a by-law legally required?  Is it a good idea even if it’s not required?

    Thanks.

    RL.

Viewing 11 replies - 1 through 11 (of 11 total)
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  • #21805
    AvatarWhale
    Flatchatter

    RL – both your hypothetical duhh moment by an O/C and similarly one by KWP suggesting that an O/C could be up for the costs to remove and replace an Owner’s equipment would be easily and comprehensively addressed in any Special By-Law that had been prepared by a strata-aware Lawyer.

    #21800

    @RL said:
    Here’s a stupid example: I propose to put my own panel that covers 100% of the roof and to maintain it under S.65A. The OC has a “duhh” moment and votes in favour and the by-law is registered. Ten years later grid electricity costs $10 per kWh and solar panels cost a few cents, and the other owners would like to install their own solar panels. But there is still a special by-law that approves me having my panel covering 100% of the roof, and it can’t be revoked without my permission. Why would I relinquish the roof space?

    That is precisely the reason I would never agree to a SBL for this sort of thing.

    Also what happens when the roof needs maintenance which require the removal of the panels and then the re installation, even with an SBL the Strata would be up for the removal and re installation costs because any costs associated with the repair to common property fall on the Strata.

    #21796
    AvatarRL

    Not many people have heard of them, they are a fairly new product category.  They look just like a solar PV panel or solar hot water (without the tank) and are about the same size.

    https://www.solarventinsw.com.au/

    https://www.heatwithsolar.com.au/sam-solar-air-module/

    https://www.solarventi.com/

    Pumping air involves large capacity ducting which is going to be an eyesore running down the side of the building and also air is not a very good conductor of heat – See more at: http://www.flat-chat.com.au/forum/is-it-really-easy-being-green/installing-solar-heating-how-to-proceed/#spPostForm

    The warm air is pumped with a solar powered fan integrated in the panel. It does NOT rely on air conducting heat. There was a photo of one installation with a duct down the building, the duct looks just like normal PVC downpipe, about six inches across.  Hardly an eyesore.  I can’t find the photo now.

    it only works when the sun is shining, not exactly the time that you really want space heating – See more at: http://www.flat-chat.com.au/forum/is-it-really-easy-being-green/installing-solar-heating-how-to-proceed/#spPostForm

    Sydney winter has plenty of sun, but it’s still cold…. Confused???

    #21795
    AvatarRL

    Thanks Whale, at the risk of going off-topic, I probably wasn’t clear, I’m not talking about a future owner finding a way to make the OC maintain the panel, I’m talking about a future owner refusing to remove the panel when everyone else in the building wants it removed.

    Here’s a stupid example: I propose to put my own panel that covers 100% of the roof and to maintain it under S.65A. The OC has a “duhh” moment and votes in favour and the by-law is registered. Ten years later grid electricity costs $10 per kWh and solar panels cost a few cents, and the other owners would like to install their own solar panels. But there is still a special by-law that approves me having my panel covering 100% of the roof, and it can’t be revoked without my permission. Why would I relinquish the roof space?

    Just trying to understand the reasoning of S.65A(5).

    You are right that it cuts both ways, needless to say if the OC changed its mind after 1 week I would be quite out of pocket.  Surely it would be better for the owner and the OC to negotiate compensation for this case and have it recorded in the SBL, rather than the Act giving one side an outright power of veto.

    #21777

    @RL said:
    Hi flatters,

    I want to install a solar heating panel on the roof of our multi-storey block, to heat my own apartment.  The panel would heat air in the sun, pump it down a duct added to the outside of the building using a solar-powered fan, and into my apartment.

    Must admit I don’t see anyway I would agree to this if I was asked to approve it in an apartment setting. This is space heating of the apartment and OP is planning on pumping heated air down the side of the building into his apartment.

    Pumping air involves large capacity ducting which is going to be an eyesore running down the side of the building and also air is not a very good conductor of heat. How big is the collector going to be that is going to be heated mounted on the roof.

    I’ve never heard of this sort of solar heating before using air as the conduction medium it seems to me it is going to be bulky and very inefficient. Also it only works when the sun is shining, not exactly the time that you really want space heating.

    #21776
    AvatarWhale
    Flatchatter

    RL – I think you’re making this whole Consent process harder than it actually would be if any Special By-Law (SBL) was worded appropriately.

    Firstly the example of “exclusive use” that you cited is hardly relevant to your proposal which merely seeks your O/C’s Consent to erect a solar panel and ducting ON the Common Property, NOT for you to have exclusive use of even that part of the roof or of the building wall or to maintain areas of the Common Property per se.

    Secondly, in order to avoid a situation where a subsequent and strata-savvy Owner of your Lot could mount a case for the O/C to assume the responsibility for maintenance and repair of the solar panel etc because those items are attached to and could therefore be seen to form part of its Common Property, an appropriately worded SBL would shift those responsibilities away from the O/C to you and subsequent Owners of your Lot (assuming they wish to leave your proposed system in place).

    “Exclusive use” is irrelevant in my opinion, but even if that provision was included in the SBL, the requirement for an Owner to consent to any repeal or amendment cuts both ways. Like would you really want your O/C to remove your Consent and your equipment without your agreement?

    #21775
    AvatarRL

    Actually after re-reading Whale’s reply, I think I answered my own question….
    Approval can be given by special resolution, EITHER by conferring “a licence to use the whole or any specified part of the common property” under S.51(1)(b) OR by authorising an owner to “erect a new structure on the common property” under S.65A(1)(c). However I note that in EITHER case the OC can’t revoke its consent without my permission because S.65A(5) gives the same right as S.52… “A by-law made for the purposes of this section … must not be amended or repealed unless … the owners corporation has obtained the written consent of the owner concerned”.  Again I think others would find this onerous.  In fact I’m amazed anything gets approved under either S.65A or S.52, except on stacked OC’s.  Imagine being in the dire situation I linked to below.

    RL

    #21773
    AvatarRL

    Thanks, that all seems pretty clear then.  A special resolution is required.

    In the ACT, as Peter says, the EC has a simplified method to approve sustainability measures by ordinary (majority) resolution, I think it may refer to this, though even that only covers “Owners corporations that wish to install sustainability or utility infrastructure on common property. Individual owners wishing to install infrastructure on their own unit must comply with the rules of the owners corporation about building or altering of structures in or on units”.

    In NSW what is the alternative to S.65A?  One of the conditions others would probably find onerous (I certainly would) is that under S.51&52, a by-law that gives an owner “a licence to use the whole or any specified part of the common property in a particular manner or for particular purposes” is IMPOSSIBLE for the OC to revoke without the consent of that owner.  I could decide to block future installation of solar panels, or maybe even block replacement of the roof..?? See for example this scenario.

    Could the OC to make a by-law that says I can install the system at my cost, all maintenance is at my cost, and that consent for the purposes of S.52 is taken as given and the OC can revoke the approval at any time by (say) another special resolution?

    Even better, could the OC to make a by-law that gives them equivalent powers to the ACT legislation, and would allow the OC to grant a revocable approval to an owner?

    I may have this totally wrong, Division 4 may not apply at all.  I hope not.

    Thanks

    RL

    #21771
    AvatarWhale
    Flatchatter

    RL – Dave (post#3) is right, in that consenting to the previous bathroom fans and to what you’re proposing is beyond the purview of the Executive Committee.

    Whether consent to your proposals is granted under a Licence to use the Common Property or a Consent to erect/add new structures onto that Property, consideration of it must be by way of a Special Resolution at a General Meeting of the Owners Corporation (O/C).

    With regard to the By-Law (actually a Special By-Law in this case), IF your O/C goes down the path of granting Consent to your proposal under Sect 65A of the NSW Strata Schemes Management Act, which is the approach that I’d recommend given the nature of what you propose, then unless your O/C wishes to assume on-going responsibility to repair and maintain your solar panels, ducting, etc as part of its Common Property, then a Special By-Law is necessary to shift those responsibilities to you and any subsequent Owners of your Lot.

    Hope that answers your questions.

    #21764
    AvatarDaveB
    Flatchatter

    Hello RL

    There are a number of factors to consider in your desire to put in a solar panel.  It unfortunately requires much more than a nod and a wink from your Executive Committee.   You would need a licence to occupy part of the roof as effectively you would be acquiring common property for your exclusive and personal use.  I’d suggest you refer to the following website, which to me sums up the issues involved quite succintly.

    https://tinyurl.com/pt7lftk

    #21756
    Sir HumphreySir Humphrey
    Strataguru

    The roof is probably common property so you would need approval. I assume you are in NSW. In the ACT there is a provision for the EC to approve ‘minor’ uses of the common property but an unopposed resolution is required for the alternative which is a ‘special privilege’. NSW is almost certainly different.

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