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16/08/2020 at 5:52 pm #51469Danny DFlatchatter
The apartment above commenced a massive renovation project on the 5th Aug including 5 days of jack hammering up tiles causing intolerable noise to the residents who can only leave their homes for 1 hour a day. As I understand it only ‘essential’ should be carried out during this time yet the OC have done nothing to prevent the work or check if legal.
12/09/2020 at 6:20 pm #51915
I have passed on your contact details to a trusted journalist who writes for the Age. She will be in touch.12/09/2020 at 4:36 pm #51907
Hi Jimmy T,
Thank you for making people making people aware of ‘no renovations in apartment buildings during Melbourne stage 4’ .It was good to get that clarified by the DHHS. Unfortunately the renovation work above my head continues. Why? You might ask. Well the owner/builder is now claiming that as he has ripped out all the services and made the place uninhabitable. He now claims the work is ‘essential’ in order to make the place inhabitable and can therefore continue. The OC take a passive attitude, whilst allowing the owner access to the common areas. The only remaining course of action now is to get the police to visit the apartment. Reporting online COVID breaches gets you nowhere and with no feedback.
When you are dealing with someone whose only interest is ‘self interest’ then you have a battle. To say there is collusion might be wrong but when an email from the Owner to the OC manager ends with ‘Lunch is on me’ you may wonder. Any suggestions appreciated.
12/09/2020 at 5:58 pm #51911
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Hi Jimmy T,
We contacted The Age (Rachel Eddie) who kindly got the situation clarified with the DHHS. At the time they didn’t consider it a news story but that was before this rorting. We also wrote to the Herald Sun, The ABC, Daniel Andrews and Jenny Mikakos but no reply.
Contacted our local councillor who turned out to live in same apartment and was a friend of the owners. Anyway COVID restrictions are not their responsibility.
If I was health worker being woken up after a night shift then the work would be stopped by now. If you have a further idea with the media then pleased to hear (need your contact dets) we are happy to take part. My partner and two other lady friend neighbours are all complaining about their mental stress which is very relevant at the moment.
Before the DHHS ruling it was a grey area, why they didn’t consider apartment blocks when ruling what constituted an empty building, I don’t know. The OC manager has tried to warn me off speaking to the press and follow OC dispute rules.
I think this hardly applies to an illegal act. I have reported the situation to the Strata Community Association of which they are a member. The OC say renovations are a private matter and have no control – but surely they have control over the common areas which would stop the work as the builders would have no access.
12/09/2020 at 4:37 pm #51909
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I know I would be on the phone to my colleagues in the media. They’d be all over this. I realise you have already rejected this suggestion … and here you are, suffering even more for even longer because selfish scumbags will take advantage of any hesitation to act resolutely.
I’m not saying “I told you so …” but I kind of am.
07/09/2020 at 2:30 pm #51839
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On Friday the DHHS clarified the situation regarding apartments that building work is only allowed if the WHOLE building is empty.
Thank you for posting the DHHS clarification on <span class=”post-title__text blog-post-title-font blog-post-title-color”><span class=”blog-post-title-font blog-post-title-color”>Renovations during COVID-19 Stage 4 Lockdown. </span></span>
I note that Strata Community Association now has it in their website too:07/09/2020 at 8:12 am #51823
After a month of noise from a renovation above together with a total lack of interest from the Strata Managers or Owners I have last got a result. On Friday the DHHS clarified the situation regarding apartments that building work is only allowed if the WHOLE building is empty.22/08/2020 at 12:44 pm #51596
Thank you all for your input. I have written to the ABC pointing out the anomaly that an apartment block’s common parts are treated the same as if it were a street with people passing each other in the open air.
The 6 days of jack hammering and subsequent grinding of the concrete is now over. The next stages will just be hammering/sawing etc which will only affect our apartment to any real extent so getting other apartments to join a campaign would be difficult. Next step is to contact our local councillor. We have recordings of the jack-hammering so let’s hope we can get a result. An injunction With VCAT would be enjoyable to serve but as the owner is also the builder he would have an in house lawyer who would inflate a damages claim should we lose. Let’s see how we go.21/08/2020 at 1:03 pm #51588
Those permissions were given under completely different circumstances under which people would be going to work. Now you can’t even go to a cafe to get away from the noise. I really wish you would let me pass this on to the Melbourne media as they might force the authorities to deal with it rather than shuffle it into the too-hard basket.21/08/2020 at 12:15 pm #51580
The rules for building works are that the house must be empty. With a Strata apartment it is empty but we have builders using the common parts causing extra Covid risk. It seems there is a big loophole in this area.
I agree. It’s not clearly defined by the DHHS. The best I can make of their guidance is that strata common areas should be treated like public areas. Meaning that persons including trades must wear masks when in those areas. Trades are certainly still allowed to access or cross common property areas if the work they are doing is permitted.
I think that without further clarification from the DHHS, you’d have a tough time convincing police or the COVID hotline that there is a breach. Hopefully you’ll get a response from them.21/08/2020 at 12:15 pm #51579
Apart from putting a few notices in the lifts giving times of noisy work i.e 9-10 10.30-12.30 and 1-2 he is oblivious to the many complaints by residents as is the building manager and OC chairman they just say he is legally able to do the work.
If he has received written committee permission to make the noise, he probably is allowed to. That’s part of the Model Rules in Victoria. Model Rule 6.2(2) “6.2 Noise and other nuisance control” applies. You’d have to get enough other owners together to organise an OC meeting that rescinds that permission.
. With a Strata apartment it is empty but we have builders using the common parts causing extra Covid risk. It seems there is a big loophole in this area.21/08/2020 at 9:50 am #51574
With a lot of money I could go for an injunction with VCAT but that would add to the stress.
I don’t know that this would take a lot of money. As for stress, it may increase in the short term but reduce in the long term.
Considering VCAT’s stated parameters for an interim injunction are …
your case is serious
you will suffer damage that can’t be compensated by a payment
the injury or inconvenience to you will be greater than the injury or inconvenience the other party would experience.
… I would think you would get a hearing, at least.
Just a couple of thoughts. Get as many neighbours as you can to support you and try to avoing making it personal or about undue influence on the committee. That kind of thing could shifts you from legitimately aggrieved resident to vengeful owner or conspiracy theorist in the minds of Tribunal Members.
21/08/2020 at 9:37 am #51563
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The block is 9 stories high. The owner doing the reno is also his own building company. He is also on the owners committee. Apart from putting a few notices in the lifts giving times of noisy work i.e 9-10 10.30-12.30 and 1-2 he is oblivious to the many complaints by residents as is the building manager and OC chairman they just say he is legally able to do the work. I am assuming he just told them building construction is a ‘permitted’ industry. I asked them to check the Covid hotline but they have done nothing. It smells of collusion. The rules for building works are that the house must be empty. With a Strata apartment it is empty but we have builders using the common parts causing extra Covid risk. It seems there is a big loophole in this area. I reported on the Covid hotline but you get no feedback. With a lot of money I could go for an injunction with VCAT but that would add to the stress. Does anyone have some legal expertise in this matter. Thanks for all your input so far.20/08/2020 at 4:02 pm #51556Small strata wizFlatchatter
Hello Danny D
Not sure what sort/size of block you live in, but it sounds like multi-storey? If so, then you may not be the only person affected by the renovation. Have you spoken to residents living in other units adjacent to or above/below the works?
It may also pay to find out from the Strata Committee or Managing Agent what conditions attached to the approval, and to ask them to step in on your behalf. (OK, I know, but it’s worth asking though.)
I recently did a kitchen reno. While there were only minor conditions attached, I took the trouble to speak to neighbours to work out ways to reduce noise eg no power tools at certain times of the day when their toddler was sleeping, finding out when they would be away working (health workers) etc. Are the workers doing the upstairs reno approachable?
Hope it works out for you.18/08/2020 at 10:16 pm #51519scotlandxStrataguru
Call the Council.18/08/2020 at 5:18 pm #51508
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