Like it or not, climate change is a reality. It’s changing the way we live and work, and it’s affecting our homes as well. Strata residents need to adapt to these changes in order to stay safe and comfortable. In some cases, this will involve increasing investment in sustainability infrastructure. In others, it means taking preventative measures against potential problems before they happen.
Climate change’s strata living impact
Increased storm activity
There is a growing body of evidence that climate change is affecting storm activity. This means there’s an increased risk of flooding and wind damage, lightning strikes and power outages, water damage (from heavy rain or flooding) and fire.
Increased storm activity can cause significant damage to your strata property if it strikes during the wrong time of year or at night when no one is around to notice it happening. As a result, developers of new buildings need to take steps, including using stronger, more durable building materials. Existing buildings may need to invest in various protections, and this can affect the cost of strata fees or lead to special levies for infrastructure.
Increased fire risk
When you’re living in a strata building, you should be aware of the increased fire risk. This may vary, depending on where you live, but increasingly hot conditions ultimately lead to more fires.
The Australian Standard for the Construction of Buildings (AS 4500) requires all new buildings constructed after 1 January 2005 to have sprinklers installed throughout. This means any new strata developments built after this date will include sprinkler systems as part of their design and construction plans. However, if your existing building was built before 2005, then there is no guarantee that it will have been fitted with sprinklers.
Sprinklers can stop a fire from spreading and protect the building (and residents) from untold damage, so older strata buildings should consider having them installed.
With climate change comes the risk of more frequent and worsening floods. Flooding is a major issue for strata buildings, particularly in terms of the foundations and damage to property.
Flooding can happen in many ways, so you don’t even need to be near a large body of water for the risk to be present.
Stormwater drains can become blocked or overflow with excess water during heavy rain. Water pipes can burst under the pressure of heavy rainfall. And, of course, if your building is near a body of water, this always comes with a flood risk.
More green initiatives in strata buildings
As climate change continues to impact our environment, strata buildings are taking a more active role in sustainability. They’re installing solar panels, rainwater tanks and waste management systems to reduce their carbon footprint. They’re also adding water efficiency measures such as drip irrigation or LED lighting to reduce water consumption.
However, these initiatives cost money. Strata residents may be asked to contribute special levies towards infrastructure, and general maintenance costs may increase. This is why it’s important for strata managers to maintain good financial control, ensuring the Owners Corporation is prepared for anything.
Need help with strata management?
If your strata building wants to explore sustainability infrastructure but you’re not sure how to go about it, we can help. More Than Strata are your experts for strata management. We provide professional assistance and advice to strata committees and Owners Corporations, taking the hard work out of managing your building. Contact us today to find out how we can help you plan for the future success of your strata community.