Part of a concrete slab has developed spalling and the reinforcing has been exposed. Who is responsible for the repair? – David, VIC

Q:  I’m asking this question for my daughter. I live in NSW and am a PICA customer but my daughter lives in Vic and isn’t a customer and I’m not familiar with Victorian strata rules.

My daughter bought an apartment in Melbourne a few years ago. On title is the apartment, including her balcony and car spot. The strata seems well run by the committee. My daughter has recently found an issue with her balcony. The balcony consists of the bare concrete floor slab (varies between maybe 400mm to 1800mm wide at different points and runs the width of the apartment). Part of the concrete slab has developed concrete spalling and the reo has been exposed (potentially the reo was too close to the surface when laid which has contributed to the issue). The building is approximately 20 years old.

My daughter enquired with the strata managing agent would strata pay for the concrete repairs and the managing agent said no. They said because that was part of her exclusive use area anything inwards facing that exclusive use area was the owner’s responsibility. Her position was that this is part of the building structure ie the concrete floor slab and is as finished by the builder. There are no tiles, painting, gyprock, carpet etc over the structure and the bylaws say nothing can be put there without their approval. She asked if there was any legal advice, relevant legislation or case precedent they were using to arrive at their decision because on that thinking, potentially each concrete floor slab is the responsibility of multiple different owners which doesn’t make a lot of sense. The strata agent provided no further reasoning.

The question therefore is whose responsibility should the repair be and what’s the relevant reasoning to support that answer, should this need to be taken further.


Without reviewing the sub-division plan and the associated definition of the boundaries, it is difficult to provide guidance to the responsible party.

As a general rule of thumb, the slab is the Owners Corporation’s responsibility, and the waterproofing membrane and tiles/decking would be the lot owner’s responsibility. However, this would depend on the boundary definitions.

A surveyor or lawyer should be consulted to establish the repair responsibility.

With respect to the exclusive use, whilst there is clear benefit derived by your daughter, preventing damage to the structure would benefit all owners.