Do renovations require owners corporation or commitee approval? – Ian, NSW

Depending upon the type of renovation work and where you’re looking to make the changes in a strata property, you might need owners corporation approval. NSW legislation identifies renovations as cosmetic, minor or major. We have covered key points in our article  ‘3 types of renovations as per NSW strata laws’.

If you’re making cosmetic renovations such as painting your walls, laying carpets or replacing hand rails, etc. within the enclosures of your private property, you may not require approval from the owners corporation.

If the renovations are on common property such as the outer wall or roof of your building or shared amenities such as parking lots, gardens, swimming pools, etc. you will need approval from the owners corporation.

Renovations such as cladding and insulation replacement, waterproofing, fire-safety related changes, etc. are categorised as major changes. Since they alter the very structure and framework of the building, strata property owners need to be aligned with the state law’s requirements, share their proposed changes with the owners corporation and get express approval before starting any work. This is necessary to ensure that the renovation work does not affect the safety of others living in the strata property.

Sometimes, even if you are making changes inside your own property such as bathroom or kitchen fixes, floor tiles, etc. you might need the consent of the owners corporation. This is because all shared plumbing, drainage systems, electrical lines and other infrastructure may be common to your property and those of your neighbours living in a strata scheme.

For example, while making cosmetic or minor changes within your bathroom, you might have to deal with waterproofing which comes under the category of major changes. These could be categorised as minor or major changes depending on how they impact the property and its residents. In such cases, you need permission from owners corporation. You might also be obligated to oversee the maintenance and take care of the costs of such renovations.

The most important things would be to know your state laws and then, your property’s by-laws regarding renovations. By-laws will provide you more details regarding your property specifically – responsibilities, restrictions, obligations, exceptions, etc. You can also bring up your questions at committee meetings to get more clarity for your specific case.