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NSW Strata - what is the standard flooring installation procedure

Discussion in 'Property Management' started by inspiredbyprop, 13th Mar, 2016.

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  1. inspiredbyprop

    inspiredbyprop Well-Known Member

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    Hi All,

    I found this interesting: link here

    --- Original content from the article ---
    Q: I want to install floating floor boards throughout my unit. Do I need to seek Owners Corporation approval before undertaking this work?
    In the absence of a special by-law passed for your Strata Scheme, the law contained in the NSW Strata Scheme Management Regulations 2010 : Model Bylaws # 14 & 15 referring to floor coverings requires that you must cover the floor of your lot (or treat it sufficiently) to stop any noise which may disturb another resident. This does not apply to the kitchen, laundry, toilet or bathroom.

    That particular law doesn't specifically require you to seek permission to install the floor boards however, if after the installation, it's found that any noise transmitting from your lot (due to the floorboards) disturbs your neighbours you may be required (by a NSW Civil & Administrative Tribunal order) to remove or cover the floorboards to stop the noise affecting others living in your Strata Scheme.

    Therefore, the wisest course of action would be to consult with the Owners Corporation well before the installation and then, through the use of the highest grade, sound proofing underlay possible, avoid any conflict after the installation.
    ---------------------- END ----------------------

    Now my question:
    1. How does usually Owners Corporation (OC) set flooring requirements? Is there a default set of requirements? or is it very subjective with the OC members and based on case-by-case?
    2. Assume that in an apartment building that has a quite poor sound proofing structurally (e.g. developer cut cost etc) and although using the highest grade of flooring, it still may not stop the noise complaint from the most sensitive owner (as this issue is subjective). How is this issue usually being managed?

    One of the reasons I ask, what if you have an IP and done all the necessary to ensure everything is done correctly, but someone still complain about the noise.

    Thanks in advance,
    IBP
     
    Last edited: 13th Mar, 2016
  2. Chilliblue

    Chilliblue Well-Known Member

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    Personally always best to write to the strata plan and advise of your intentions including details/specifications of what you want to install and give them 4 weeks to respond if they disagree or believe it is against the rules. Just make certain you have proof of sending. i.e. registered post, email delivery etc.

    That way there is no comeback.
     
  3. Marg4000

    Marg4000 Well-Known Member

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    One of the drawbacks of communal living. Everyone is entitled to enjoy living without undue noise.

    Get permission, and ensure you pay for proper underlay to minimise noise transmission as it is an IP and you don't want continual problems caused by unknowing or inconsiderate tenants.
    Marg
     
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  4. dabbler

    dabbler Well-Known Member

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    The way units are supposed to be, underlay and carpet is the usual covering, I would have it put to a meeting to do anything else.
     
  5. Ted Varrick

    Ted Varrick Well-Known Member

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    This is a very big can of worms and anybody contemplating putting in hard surface flooring should firstly have a chat with any neighbours above and below, and then the strata manager who will probably tell you " you can put in what ever hard surface flooring you want, as long as it is a FLOATING floor and not attached to any common property (or affixed or damaging..)", in which case you may be in breach of either Section 52 or 65A of the Strata Management Act 1996 (Disclaimer: I'm not a lawyer..), but feel free to look it up.

    This might not be a good idea, because if it breaches (NSW) By-Law 14 (and probably By-Law 1) then you are going to be in deep doo-doo, and will probably have to rip it out and recarpet, if NCAT (NSW) decides so... which will be not only a MASSIVE pain in the neck and wallet, as recarpeting may be required (at your cost)...

    If your Strata Manager's eyes start to glaze over, and you think that conforming with the latest flooring fashion might give your neighbours the S H 1 Thompson's then CHECK with them first!

    Alternatively, buy yourself a copy (for those in NSW) of NSW Strata & Community Schemes Management & the Law, 4th Edition

    and see how you feel about it.

    It's reasonable to say that if you ask your Strata Manager who Alex Ilkin is, and he responds by saying " I don't know", then your Owners Corporation should consider getting a new Strata Manager.

    And I'm not kidding.

    Anyway, otherwise, consider carpet, it's heaps cheaper, and your neighbours will much appreciate your decision...
     
    Last edited: 17th Mar, 2016
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  6. beachgurl

    beachgurl Well-Known Member

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    Our bylaws stated the minimum noise rating of the insulation. The majority of flooring companies we looked at didn't even supply that rating. The next door neighbor chose not to install the more expensive stuff and received a notice to rip up the floorboards.
     
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  7. Ted Varrick

    Ted Varrick Well-Known Member

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    Hi Beachgurl,

    Can you give us a bit of a story as to how the neighbour got the breach notice to rip up the floorboards and whether they did or not.

    I understand there are a number of steps to this process.
     
  8. dabbler

    dabbler Well-Known Member

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    This is one of the problems with strata, and in cheaper areas the inhabitants usually are ignorant, or don't give a stuff or a combo of both.

    However housing had a building that they partly sold off, the common stair area was all tiled by housing, it was a nightmare noise wise, every voice or noise or footstep could be heard and echoed.

    Was left like this though as was easy to clean, shudder to think what many carpets hold in them in common stairs.
     
  9. See Change

    See Change Timing Lord Premium Member

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    As some have people have pointed out its a can of worms . In the block where we had two units , a owner was required to replace hard flooring that according to the instillation company was the latest technology and wouldn't cause any problems . Not a cheap exercise .

    There are acoustic engineers out there who can design solutions that " should " be able address any issues , but its hard to predict how acoustic solutions what work well in highly controlled situations work when retrofitted .

    The standard floating floors won't cut it .

    apparently the web site title deeds has multiple threads on the subject .

    Cliff
     
  10. beachgurl

    beachgurl Well-Known Member

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    The boss of the exec committee lived in a unit facing the road so she watched all the goings on. The neighbor had requested floating floors and was told what to lay. He didn't want to pay and when the nosy neighbor saw the floorboard co on site she asked to take a look at their underlay and flooring product to confirm if it complied. It didn't, and the guy refused to change them. We moved out not long after but I noticed he stopped paying his strata fees so maybe he was protesting.
     
  11. Gockie

    Gockie I'm an ISTP-A female, so I might be a bit quirky! Premium Member

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    If the Executive Chairwoman did it on behalf of her neighbours.... kudos to her. Its a tough job...
     
  12. inspiredbyprop

    inspiredbyprop Well-Known Member

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    Good on the chairwoman and neighbours. However, chairwoman or EC doesnt usually get anything in return but complaints.
    The scheme should reward EC if they've contributed significant effort like that.
     
  13. Ted Varrick

    Ted Varrick Well-Known Member

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    Hi Cliff,

    This is really a thread that should be viewed by every single Executive Committee member or owner in every single strata in NSW (and probably other states), and all Propertychat members should feel free to forward it to both their EC members AND Strata Managers.

    The best and most appropriate way to deal with this type of noisy "neighbour from hell" is, at the very next AGM or sooner, repeal standard Bylaw 14 (Floorcoverings) and replace it with a Special Bylaw that, not only includes a Consent form (to satisfy Section 52 and/or 65A of the SMA) by also requires the Owner to conduct acoustic testing on the below and above Lots, both before AND after the installation of hard surface flooring in that Owner's lot, at that Owner's cost.

    The cost to the Owner's Corporation for a Bylaw of this kind would be within the realm of $800 (give or take a couple of hundred), but is WELL WORTH the expenditure (on any day of the week).

    The downside of not considering such an option for the Owner and/or tenant can be very very ugly.
     
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  14. dabbler

    dabbler Well-Known Member

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    Not paying won't do anything beside cost them more, just another ignorant person.


    Not a bad idea, but the only problem is, most people are oblivious, ignorant or do not care.......

    It is like our govt. always bringing in new firearm and related laws, the thing is criminals disregard the law - could not care less, therefore the tag criminal.

    The best thing is some clued up owners who attend meetings and these things raised at meetings, and simply making everyone aware that they cannot just do as they like, then you have the ones who just do as they like anyway.

    unless most owners/residents are on the same page, it is all just a headache.
     
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  15. Ted Varrick

    Ted Varrick Well-Known Member

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    Damn right, Dabbler.

    Until the owner below or above installs hard surface flooring, and then all of a sudden, protecting their multiple $100s of thousands of dollars investment becomes, front and centre, the most important thing on their priority list.

    Which is exactly too late.

    Informing every owner of the kind of grief and monetary loss (in the form of tenant turnover, and "new lease fee" payment to their PM every 6 months), should provide some focus to both investors and owner occupiers, at their next AGM in regards to this very painful issue.
     
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  16. Russ

    Russ Well-Known Member

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    Agree.
     
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  17. Ted Varrick

    Ted Varrick Well-Known Member

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    And one could only imagine what would happen in terms of pain relief for long suffering impact noise recipients if this thread were copied to some adjudicators in NCAT, QCAT, VCAT and numerous other CATs around the country.
     
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  18. Gingin

    Gingin Well-Known Member

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    I had the same fun with floating floors a few years back.

    I installed them. I provided notification to strata of intension to install. I nominated the type of flooring ( floating)paying for rated underlay, and provided the appropriate acoustic certification relevant to the slab thickness existing. Compliant to BCA standards .After installing no noise complaints from downstairs. Strata does not have a carpet only clause.

    Few years later, joker upstairs installs floating floor for a quick toss before selling after throwing his tenants. Luckily I was home during the installation process. I was given a sample of the underlay. He hadn't notified strata and could not or would not provide compliant certification. I called strata immediately and created an email chain.

    The law operates in two parts. Compliance to BCA then most importantly to strata creating a disturbance.

    Joker thought he could just sell it after Reno and he did at auction. And leave us with the fall out. Not making any noise according to him.

    I contacted strata and organised an extra ordinary meeting and he was to cover the floor with throw rugs.

    I also went to department of fair trading for mediation. During this mediation the joker was adamant that he was fine with his non conforming certification, however did not want risk having an expert panel judging against him, then leading to rectification after settlement and associated costs and problems with new owner. Or top sale going through, and still be up for sales commission and auction fees.
    My documentation set was without emotion, concise and would of carried the day. The mediation was very good and an expert in the area dropped in.

    He ended up lifting the floors and installing the quieter step undelay. He was a nasty know it all lying douche bag. I enjoyed toasting him.

    However even though upstairs is now compliant. I can still keep a journal of noise issues and raise it in another strata meeting and they will have to comply with noise prevention, rugs , felt. Just more time involved. Three years later I have a family living up there , we hear them occasionally but it is not interruptive unless kids are playing soccer or marbles. Never had to complain.

    My advice. Follow the process. Get educated. Ask for help.
     
  19. Gingin

    Gingin Well-Known Member

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  20. Gingin

    Gingin Well-Known Member

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    You are the owner. Notify strata 7 days prior to installation.Obtain the correct acoustic certification with your building construction parameters. Keep receipts of underlay and take photo of underlay being installed.

    The tenant is responsible for noise. If they are not complying to the by laws, it is up to them. You may at worst have to terminate them or buy hall runners and a throw rug.