What to do if you are installing Timber Floors

When undertaking renovations it is a common thing for Owners to install timber flooring. The difficultly is determining what type of approval you need to be authorised to perform this renovation.

What kind of renovations is this classified as?

The type of renovation the installation of timber flooring is classified as will have a significant impact on which approvals you need prior to starting works.

Owners often assume that the installation of timber floorings requires authorisation under s 110 Strata Schemes Management Act 2015 (“SSMA”), because “installing or replacing wood or other hard floors” is listed as a minor renovation under this section.  Accordingly, you could argue that installing floating timber floors do not affect common property therefore constitute a minor renovation.

However, this only applies if the particular installation of floating timber floors is considered to be works “to common property” pursuant to section 110(1) of the SSMA as extracted below:

110 Minor renovations by owners

        (1)  The owner of a lot in a strata scheme may carry out work for the purposes of minor renovations to common property in connection with the owner’s lot with the approval of the owners corporation given by resolution at a general meeting. A special resolution authorising the work is not required.

As a lot owner, you could argue that installing floating timber floors in a way that does not affect common property is not a minor renovation. Accordingly, you will not need a consent to commence works.

However, if you cannot argue this, you will need to obtain approval for the Owners Corporation to authorise minor renovations under section 110 of the SSMA.

What if the installation does not affect common property?

If you can successfully argue that the installation will not affect common property, no approval would be required from the owners corporation. In practice, this means that you could install the floors and there is nothing that the owners corporation could do to stop you, apart from seeking urgent interim orders.

 

Do you have to comply with anything else when undertaking the renovations?

When installing the timber flooring, you will be required to comply with the schemes by-laws regarding noise transmission between lots and also treat floors to reduce noise transmission.

What happens if the owners corporation does not want me installing the timber flooring?

If your owners corporation does not want you to install floating floorboards without first being required to obtain their consent, they may make a by-law setting out the requirements and required consent that a lot owner needs in order to install hard flooring in their lot. If such a by-law is in place you may be required to comply with its terms when you undertake renovations.

Should you require advice on this issue or the drafting of a by-law regarding hard surface flooring please contact us.