Modifying internal wall of apartment - do I need strata approval?

Discussion in 'Renovation & Home Improvement' started by DrunkSailor, 15th Aug, 2019.

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  1. DrunkSailor

    DrunkSailor Well-Known Member

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    The property: A one bedroom unit in a 1970s brick apartment complex that’s 3 stories high. My unit is on the bottom level below another unit. It’s in a nice suburb but nothing fancy and the complex is mostly owned by investors.

    Location: Victoria

    I’m looking to install a new doorway into the bathroom wall so guests can access it from the kitchen instead of having to go through the bedroom (it’s an en-suite style bathroom). A friend of mine who has a real estate business recommended NOT informing strata if the by-laws don’t specifically prohibited doing this because it will just create unnecessary bureaucracy. He said as long as an engineer approves the work and gets the building permits then that should be enough. Other sources online say that ANY renovations that modify internal walls always need strata approval.

    I’ve seen this done on other units I looked at but those were all on the top floor with no units above them.

    My question is: Do I need to check with strata before doing this job and if I do is it likely they’ll deny approval?
     
  2. S.T

    S.T Well-Known Member

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    I've done two now, both load bearing walls and brick.
    1st one, engineered, building permit and then sent a copy of the paperwork to Strata after.
    2nd one, was given the option of dual engineered, building permit with notification of works being sent to the apartment above as a FYI only. The other option I think was to get single engineered, then have to pay for engineer of choice from apartment above. Strata is not run well, just some accountant does the paperwork and charges us a bit for it - was told I didn't have to notify them.
     
  3. Marg4000

    Marg4000 Well-Known Member

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    Check with strata.
    You may also need building approval.
    Some councils frown upon toilets opening off kitchens on health grounds.
     
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  4. Hetty

    Hetty Well-Known Member

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    Definitely ask strata for permission.
     
  5. DrunkSailor

    DrunkSailor Well-Known Member

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    What do you mean by dual and single engineer? Do you mean like having two seperate engineers analyse the job?
     
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  6. DrunkSailor

    DrunkSailor Well-Known Member

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    Are strata going to wait until the AGM and confirm with all the owners that it’s ok or will the manager be able to give approval on the spot?
     
  7. Hetty

    Hetty Well-Known Member

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    Manager will consult strata committee who will ask you to provide the engineers reports, etc.
     
  8. Scott No Mates

    Scott No Mates Well-Known Member

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    Does the work require a DA? Yes, you will require BC consent to sign the DA.

    If you proceed without a (required) DA, will you be requisitioned for the DA when you sell? Will this be a problem to get retrospective approval?

    Remember, it is a one bedroom unit, people will expect to go through the bedroom to get to the bathroom.
     
  9. DrunkSailor

    DrunkSailor Well-Known Member

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    What if I didn’t? Spoke to an engineer a few moments ago and he said he doesn’t need any authority to do the job as long as I’m the owner of the unit. I will call a couple more engineers tomorrow and see if they say the same thing.

    I’m happy to run it by strata first as long as they can’t deny it for arbitrary reasons. But if they can simply say no because they don’t like the sound of it then I don’t see why I should poke that hornets nest.
     
  10. Trainee

    Trainee Well-Known Member

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    You think you can do it without anyone finding out?
     
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  11. Hetty

    Hetty Well-Known Member

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    You live in a strata complex. You can’t just do whatever you want. What you do affects others and the strata can fine you, order you to fix it, find you responsible for causing other issues (like structural issues because you... you know, KNOCKED DOWN PART OF A WALL) etc. If you go ahead and do it you might find you void the insurance policy on the building as well, jeopardising your investment (and other people’s but you don’t seem to care about other people).
     
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  12. DrunkSailor

    DrunkSailor Well-Known Member

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    Why would anyone find out? I’m just doing a renovation.
     
  13. DrunkSailor

    DrunkSailor Well-Known Member

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    Im not knocking down the wall I’m paying an engineer to do that. If they give it the green light and it causes structural issues the liability should be on them.
     
  14. qak

    qak Well-Known Member

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    Hope there's nothing important inside that wall!
     
  15. Scott No Mates

    Scott No Mates Well-Known Member

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    Engineers don't knock down zip, they design & certify, some other bunny does the knocking.

    Only if the procedures prepared by the engineer have been followed to the letter.
     
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  16. DrunkSailor

    DrunkSailor Well-Known Member

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    They’d work for the same company though who’d I’d expect to guarantee their work, that’s why I’m hiring them. What’s the point of having an engineer say it can be knocked down if it really can’t. His entire job is based on making sure whether it can be safely modified or not.
     
  17. S.T

    S.T Well-Known Member

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    Yes, dual certification of the engineering from two different engineers (though they may know each other and have helped each other out with this before..) I went by what my building surveyor told me I needed.
     
  18. S.T

    S.T Well-Known Member

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    My process was this for the second apartment:
    1. Builder to draw up plan of the building, all measurements etc
    2. Hand plan to engineer, he did engineering plans and steel beam specification etc
    3. Got quotes for builder to implement as per engineering drawings
    4. engaged my own building surveyor, the handled council permit and guided me through council requirements, dual engineering certification or let unit on top get own engineer at my cost.
    5. Got dual certification for engineering, sent letter to unit owner above with dual certification information as advised by building surveyor. (never heard from them).
    6. Once all good to go, builder removed wall.
    7. Profit!
     
  19. Scott No Mates

    Scott No Mates Well-Known Member

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    No, design engineers are generally consultants. Like a doctor, they won't operate on themselves.
     
  20. DrunkSailor

    DrunkSailor Well-Known Member

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    Right, but with the first apartment you didn’t do any of that and just made the modifications without council or strata approval?

    I’ve spoken to a few builders now and they don’t see any reason why council or strata won’t approve of what I want done so I’m hoping that if I jump through enough hoops they’ll eventually approve the job.

    As far as the builder was concerned putting a steal beam in the wall will make it even stronger than before.

    Ps: I’m not doing this for capital growth I just want a central bathroom so guests don’t need to go through the bedroom
     
    Last edited: 16th Aug, 2019