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In Victoria when you purchased your unit you will have received an Owners Corporation Certificate in your Section 32 documentation. This provides all the current insurance details. If the owners corporation (or body corporate in the old language) is not professionally managed you should certainly enquire as to the status of insurance.
Unfortunately, all too often owners purchase their unit and immediately take out building insurance, only to discover that their unit is already comprehensively insured. Not only have they spent money unnecessarily, but have created a potentially dangerous ‘double-insurance’ situation.
The Owners Corporations Act (2006) requires that your strata takes out specialist strata insurance on all the buildings on the Plan of Subdivision. This insurance automatically includes a minimum of $20 million of Public Liability insurance over the common property, which includes the driveway (s).
This comprehensive insurance policy taken out with one specialist insurer ensures the safest and the most cost-effective insurance option. You should be aware that there are some obvious risks if duplicate insurance policies exist.

  • The potential for these insurance companies to dispute which company is liable, holding up repairs for a lengthy period.
  • The specialist policy will have replacement cover whilst the second policy may simply offer a payout, resulting in that owner having to arrange their own re-building.
  • A range of scenarios which can affect two units with a common wall where conflicting insurance policies result in dispute and difficulty.
  • Such scenarios are entirely unsatisfactory if the buildings are connected by common property, resulting in the buildings not being rebuilt at the same time, and disputes about who pays for the adjoining walls and services.
All of the above depend on the buildings being adequately insured. If any of the joined buildings are under-insured then the owners may not get their full pay out, meaning they can’t afford to rebuild.
If in doubt, you should contract a strata specialist for advice.

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Four Crucial Steps to preventing clogged gutters

Performing periodic maintenance on your roof is a required task for every homeowner. Where you live is a great factor in determining how often you should check and clean the gutter.
If you are in an urban area where there are few or no trees at all, once a year will do. And the best time to do that is in autumn, right before the winter comes.
If you live in the suburbs or areas where trees are moderate, on the other hand, you should inspect your roof at least twice a year. Frequent checking and cleaning is highly required if you live in a heavily treed area. During the autumn, you must check it at least once or even twice each week.
Aside from doing occasional checkups and cleaning, how else do you ensure that your gutters won’t get clogged?
Cover the gutter.
The easiest way to protect your gutter from leaf buildups and collecting debris is to cover it. Nowadays, there are gutter covers that are designed for easy installation. If you are not the DIY type, you can always have them installed by your trusted dealers.
While there are no gutter coverings that will absolutely make your roof debris-free,  installing one will definitely help save you from having to frequently check and clean it.
Check for proper flow.
Apart from installing gutter guards, make sure water is flowing properly. To do this, you have to flush the gutter with water.
Check that the outlets are unobstructed. If you live in heavily wooded areas, it is advisable to install an outlet that is quite bigger or wider than the standard. This allows any kind of debris to flow through and prevents unspotted build up that often causes gutter blockage.
Make sure water is properly drained into the downspouts.
Make cleaning easy and convenient with removable downspouts or leaders. Blocked downspouts can be very challenging. For one, they are difficult to clean, particularly when you have a big house. With removable downspouts, you will be able to take them down safely on the ground, check them conveniently for obstructions, and clean them easily without ladders.
Fix gutter problems immediately.
The primary cause of clogged gutters is that they are often ignored until leaks or holes associated with them become a major problem. Gutter problems must be corrected as soon as you have spotted them. Patch holes even if they are tiny. If the hole is quite big, then it might require replacing. Install additional gutter support like spikes or ferrules if needed.
No matter how leak-proof the roof is or how debris-proofed the gutters are, you still need to climb up there and do regular inspections, most especially in the spring and autumn. While you may have the best gutter protection installed up there, home experts still recommend inspecting the gutters and clearing out all leaves and debris.
Republished courtesy of Jim’s Mowing

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Fallen Garage Ceilings

12 Aug 2021

All too often we see plasterboard ceilings in garages that have noticeably come away from their fixings, often resulting in complete failure of the entire ceiling.

Unfortunately, the reinstatement of a collapsed garage ceiling often falls outside the scope of CHU’s insurance policy coverage for accidental damage if the cause is due to any of the following common factors:

  • Incorrect application or spacing of fixings (nails/screws) and/or stud adhesive

  • Poor-quality glue or adhesive product

  • High humidity and differential thermal movement of the building materials over a period of time (materials expanding and contracting due to changes in temperature)

​The garage is exposed to humidity more than other rooms in the home as there is generally no insulation in the ceiling space above and it is exposed to the elements when the garage door is open. Inadequate condensation control (e.g. lack of ventilation) can also contribute to this.

Without correctly applied stud adhesive, screws and/or nails are unable to hold the weight over an extended period of time.

As soon as one nail or screw fails, this puts more weight on the surrounding fixings, and over time they too will fail.

The same issue arises when fixing points for the ceiling plasterboard are incorrectly spaced, as it results in additional load on the fixings if they are too far apart, or inadequate in number.

When a ceiling loses one or two fixing points, this places additional stress on the remaining fixings which are not designed to restrain the additional load, and consequently this can lead to ceiling failure.

What are the warning signs?

Warning signs of the ceiling being under stress prior to collapse include:

  • A loud cracking sound in your ceiling;
  • Sagging or dropping of the plasterboard sheeting and/or the cornice; or seeing a pronounced ‘V’ where the plasterboard sheets meet or join. This can be caused by the fixings in the centre of the plasterboard sheets letting go
  • Visual cracking and/or small circles (nail pops) on your ceiling. If you can see small circles or blisters
  • (about the size of a shirt button) scattered along a straight line it is a sign that your plasterboard sheeting is pulling away from the ceiling joists.

What you can do:

  • Regularly check the garage ceiling for any changes, such as sagging, cracking or drooping. Often signs of the ceiling beginning to fail are evident, but as most of us don’t spend a lot of time in our garages this isn’t readily noticed. Make a point of having a quick look over the ceiling whenever you are in there.

  • If you do notice any warning signs, look to engage a tradesperson (either privately, or through your Owners Corporation) to attend and look at the issue. They should be able to identify if the ceiling is in danger of collapse and act accordingly.

  • Mitigate your losses. If you notice warning signs of a ceiling collapse, and are awaiting the attendance of a contractor, take reasonable precautions to protect anything valuable in your garage. This includes of course, your vehicle, and any items you may be storing in your garage that would suffer damage in the event of a ceiling collapsing. Consider alternative parking arrangements, such as parking on the street until you are certain the ceiling is safe.

  • If your building is still within the relevant builders warranty period, and the cause of your ceiling collapse is found to be a faulty workmanship related issue, you may wish to consider pursuing a claim against the builder for the necessary rectification.