Upgrading your strata building can be a stressful and sometimes difficult task. However, with careful planning, it can be a smooth ride and financially rewarding for everyone. Here are some tips on how to get a major renovation started in your strata property.
Plan in advance
There’s an old saying that planning is everything, and it couldn’t be more accurate in a strata environment. With so many lot owners to consider, a lot of preparation is required. The primary planning, though, is in the budget. Typically, significant renovations are paid for by the strata scheme’s capital works fund (or sinking fund).
The capital works fund is just like any other savings account – you need the money there before you can spend it. Unfortunately it is common for Owners Corporation to raise capital works fund levies below the recommendation of the Capital Works Fund Plan. As such, a special levy may be required to fund the works.
As all lot owners need to contribute to the capital works, advance planning is a must to gauge owners’ ability to fund any special levy. Demonstrating a clear return on investment for any capital improvement project will aid owners in their decision making.
Seek appropriate approvals
When planning for a major renovation in strata, the rules are a lot different than in a standalone residential property. In both cases, you need to seek the appropriate council and building approvals in your local area. But in strata, you also need the support of lot owners and consider the implications of any existing registered by-laws.
Depending on the work(s), the Designers and Building Practitioners Act 2020 and Designers and Building Practitioners Regulation 2021 may also come into play. It is highly recommended that the owners corporation obtain advice from suitably qualified experts before going too far ahead.
Schedule the least disruptive time
Planning is everything, and perhaps the most important part is deciding when the work will take place. Major renovations can be disruptive. Even if it doesn’t affect individual properties, common areas can be affected.
Ideally, you would seek input from lot owners when determining the best time for the renovation. The main thing is to schedule the work at the least disruptive time. For example, swimming pool upgrades are better suited to winter when fewer people want to use the pool.
Notify all residents
Communication becomes vital once a resolution is passed and you’ve engaged the professionals for your capital works. Even with careful planning, renovations can cause disruption, so you need to notify all residents that the work is scheduled to commence.
Safety procedures will also come into play if there is construction happening, so you’ll need clear guidelines for residents to follow while the works are being completed. Don’t forget to inform letting agents too as they’ll need to communicate with their tenants, particularly if their unit or access to facilities are impacted.
Need help with strata management?
More Than Strata provides an expert strata management service to remove the burden from Owners Corporations, and strata committees. Whether it’s planning for future capital works, engaging professionals or managing the daily running of your premises, we’re here to help. Contact our team today and discover a better way to manage your strata scheme.