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Think Before Renovating These Holidays


Expert Opinion piece – Stephen Raff, CEO of Ace Body Corporate Management.


As Australians scramble to get their properties in shape before family visits this Christmas time, a serious warning has been issued to apartment owners considering renovations, amid the potential for DIY jobs causing a third wave of the asbestos outbreak.period.

January, 2017
By Stephen Raff

At Ace, we’ve observed that the popularity of home reno shows has seen renovations spike in recent years and owners in older apartment blocks must go about DIY work the right way to avoid the health risks warned by the Bernie Benton Foundation.

The foundation estimates that 60,000 Australians will have been killed by asbestos-related diseases by 2030, and has warned that renovations pose the biggest risk to a third outbreak of the disease.
In the wake of these concerns, it is of critical importance that owners must assess the risks of asbestos disease before renovating their property, ahead of what could be a very active DIY period.
There’s a right and a wrong way to go about renovating in a strata scheme, and especially in the wake of these health concerns, owners must take the necessary steps to get approval and assess the potential risk of asbestos.

In regions all around the country there are thousands of apartment blocks built decades ago which could pose an asbestos risk, and it’s important owners don’t get ahead of themselves with DIY plans, and go about the process the right way.

We’re aware of a Federal Government agency which has reported that asbestos exposure has increased by 13 per cent since last year, and experts are predicting this figure to grow as more people gain the option to renovate their apartments.

We want residents and owners to be able to make the changes they want to their homes or properties, but we must ensure that this is done safely and without disturbing the surrounding community.

Living in an apartment or unit means sharing walls, ceilings and floors with your neighbours, so carrying out potentially harmful work could have huge unintended consequences.
The first thing owners with intention to start work on a renovation should do is consult the by-laws of their community and the plan of subdivision.
It’s important to remember that for works requiring approval you will need to obtain permission from the strata community.
Prospective renovators need to be clear about what is and is not common property.
It can be very tempting to get going with a renovation straight away if you’ve been inspired, but we are urging owners to pump the brakes, and take stock of their surroundings.
The latest annual report from the Federal Government's Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency revealed that in some cases, awareness of asbestos-related risks have declined in some parts of the country.

Following the report findings we are wanting owners to seek advice on carrying out renovations the right way, before any safety threats or disturbances can affect their strata communities.

  • It’s important that owners identify any potential issues and also look through their strata records for any previous renovations carried out on the property.
  • If safety or disturbance issues are highlighted then owners must obtain permission from their body corporate, or ask about issues they’re unsure about.
  • You will need to provide specific details about the planned renovations to the body corporate and it’s important to provide as much information as possible, including, the type of works and how they will affect common property, the duration of the renovations and how common areas will be used during the renovations.
Some issues include noise and whether or not you need permission to have a skip on site. Generally, you’ll be held liable for any damage to common property that occurs during the work.

The body corporate/owners corporation may also attach certain conditions to the approval such as times when work can be done and specific building materials that have to be used.

Ace Body Corporate Management
This article is not intended to be personal advice and you should not rely on it as a substitute for any form of advice.Ace Body Corporate Management offers this newsletter to clients to assist in updating them on company and industry news. The content within this newsletter is of a generic nature and may not be applicable to all owners corporations. Ace Body Corporate Management attempts to provide the most up-to-date and accurate information for our clients, however we strongly recommend that individuals and committees seek further advice before acting on any information in this newsletter.