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  • #44454
    Avatarchesswood
    Flatchatter

    Our block was built in 1960. One of our new owners wants to install powerful air-conditioning. Another unit changed hands last month and the new owner might make a similar request. Expensive or unsightly extra wiring would be required, presumably at owner expense even though it will become common property. But what happens if the building’s power supply eventually needs costly amplification?

    #44483
    Jimmy-TJimmy-T
    Keymaster

    Our unit block has recently gone through the agonies of calculating the load on the power supply if everyone was allowed to have air-con installed.  It turned out our electrical system simply wasn’t up to scratch and it could feasibly have cost millions of dollars to upgrade.

    But that was based on every unit potentially installing it, despite the fact that it was possible to discriminate between those who wanted it and those who needed it. Welcome to the too-hard basket.

    In your case, however, it may make sense to look at the implications of all owners installing air-con, bearing in mind that modern units use much less power than those that were around when your block was built.

    So, first of all consult an electrical engineer to establish the maximum safe load on the basis of every owner installing aircon (that may not happen but you can’t allow one owner to do it then stop others, on a first come, best dressed basis).

    Then look at the power demands of the unit that the owner wants to install.  It may be that even if everyone installed the same, your system could still handle it.

    If not, your owners corp can set maximum power levels for all air-con systems and leave it to the unit owners to find systems that fit the bill.

    Basically, in terms of permission,  this affects common property so your owners corp is able to exercise a level of reasonable control.  But your committee should neither let it through nor refuse outright, just because it’s “too hard”.

    Consult the experts, do the calculations and set the standards for everyone, present and future.

    #44501
    Sir HumphreySir Humphrey
    Strataguru

    Similar considerations apply for someone wanting to install a charging outlet for an electric vehicle. The owners corporation could do some useful work assessing the capacity of the building’s supply to support likely increases in loads from air-con, EVs and possibly replacing gas hot water with heat-pump hot water systems. As we need to decarbonise over the next few decades, it is a logical consequence that gas and petrol need to be phased out in favour of electric equivalents powered from increasingly renewable generation.

    In the case of EVs, it might work out that the building’s supply could cope if everyone had a single phase 10A outlet in their allocated parking space but not if everyone insisted on 32A three phase. Since 10A single phase trickle charging is enough to add almost 200km of range overnight, much faster charging rates are not justified in locations where cars are left for extended periods.

    This reference https://www.wattblock.com/recharge.html discusses processes to phase in EV charging but could be applied to other loads such as air-con.

     

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