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Windows Maintenance and Replacements

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It is vital to check lot boundaries when it comes down to windows repairs and maintenance and who is responsible. Due to high costs of windows repairs or replacement it is important for Owners Corporation to check the lot boundary on the plan of subdivision or the strata plan. The Owners Corporations would be in trouble if it undertakes works to windows located on private property. A case occurred in the industry once where an Owners Corporation carried out repairs and the results of the works were sub-standard. The Owners Corporation realised after that they shouldn’t have been involved in this, however they were liable for having another contractor to rectify the issue because they got involved initially and the manager was also held accountable for not providing the committee with correct advice. So, when it comes to lot boundaries, it is viable to check the 3 possibilities: interior face, median face, or external face of the lot. Unless the boundary is median (shared) or interior face, the Owners Corporation has no rights or obligation under the Act to carry out any repairs or replacements to windows in strata building. To allow the Owners Corporation to carry out repairs to private property a special resolution is required to be passed.  

The Owners Corporation has an obligation to maintain common areas of the building. When it comes to private property, if a lot owner hasn’t undertaken the works then the Owners Corporation has the ability to issue a notice pursuant to Section 129 of the Act below and request from the owner to rectify if it’s affecting the external appearance or the enjoyment of others within the Owners Corporation. 

129 Care of lots 

A lot owner must— 

(a) properly maintain in a state of good and serviceable repair any part of the lot that affects the outward appearance of the lot or the use or enjoyment of other lots or the common property; and 

(b) maintain any service that serves that lot exclusively. 

RISING DAMP IN STRATA BUILDING 

Rising damp is when moisture from the soil surrounding a building finds its way into the structure and creates a mould issue visible on the interior face of building. This is a particular issue in older homes where the damp course barrier (waterproofing) may have been damaged or never installed in the first instance. Furthermore, this could at times relate to poor maintenance of the property example a slow water leak behind the walls, or it could be that the ground level around the building is higher than the floor level of the unit blocking the airflow around the external walls of the building. This can create maintenance issues as the internal plaster work and skirtings may need replacing from the damage caused. Mould also can cause health issues if not treated properly. 

RESPONSIBILITY 

To be able to determine if this issue is private or common, a plumber or a raising damp specialist initially are required to investigate and report on the issue. If the matter is deemed to be related to poor maintenance due to a slow water leak from a pipe servicing the unit, in which the lot owner of the unit will be responsible and must pay for the cost of investigation and repairs. If the matter is related to moisture emitting from external ground, then it will be the Owners Corporation responsibility to pay for the costs. As managers we can’t really tell without engaging a professional to report on the issue. 

The Owners Corporation Committee may wish to cover the cost of the initial investigation and or inform the lot owner with the above information and ask if they are happy to pay if the matter is determined to be private.  

TREATMENT  

There are various treatments to address rising damp, which include injecting a silicone solution into the wall to create a barrier, with a salt retardant render over the top to ensure moisture cannot penetrate the wall any further. The cost to treat rising damp is variant to the size of your home and the amount of damage that has already been done. There may also be the need for additional sub floor vents to allow proper ventilation or clearing away the soil surrounding the structure of the building letting the air flaw through the external walls allowing for the moisture to dry.    

CONTRACTORS

FG James Pty Ltd rising damp specialists

Precision Electronic Leak Detection Services 140 Kooyong Rd, Caulfield North VIC 3161 Ph: 0408 345 036

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