What to do if the strata committee will not approve a lift refurbishment for our old, unsafe lift? Rod Smith, The Strata Collective has provided the following response.
Question: For the last three years, I have been asking our strata committee to carry out a lift refurbishment or replace our old, noisy, unsafe lift.
For the last three years, I have been asking our strata committee to carry out a lift refurbishment or replace our 1983 old, noisy, unsafe lift. Nothing has been done about this and at the latest AGM, it was voted against any work be done on it. The meeting was, unfortunately, dominated by non-resident owners. There are 36 lots in our building.
As I am now on the Strata Committee and have no choice but to go to NCAT regarding the lift refurbishment. Can I go there against the committee?
Answer: It is important that the cost of lift upgrades is included into any Capital Works Fund Assessment, after taking advice from a qualified professional.
The answer is that lifts normally require major maintenance at around the 20-year mark. It is important that the cost of lift upgrades is included into any Capital Works Fund Assessment, after taking advice from a qualified professional. With a 36-year-old lift, it is not surprising that the lift is experiencing some problems.
I would recommend that the Strata Committee/Strata Manager report the noise issue to their lift servicing company to check and hopefully repair to make sure that the noise is not just a minor fix. If the works required to address the reported lift problems are of a major nature – I would then obtain a professional opinion on the condition of the lift from a lift consultant. The company I have worked with in the past is Thomson Elevator Consultancy Services – although there are many other experts in this field.
The difficulty for Strata buildings is that the cost to complete the 20 year capital works cycle on lifts is often very expensive – usually in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. This is why many strata buildings allow their major lifts works to be delayed from year to year.
The brief from Strata to the consultant should be a request to provide a condition report on the lift, outlining suggested recommendations to improve reliability, reduce noise and improve safety. Also, the consultant should identify what capital works are required to the lift, the estimated timeline to complete the works and likely costs for these works. This report normally costs a few thousand dollars however this is money well spent.
This report then should be discussed by the Strata Committee with a view of addressing the reported items. Owners Corporations have a legal responsibility to repair and maintain common property under section 106 of the Strata Schemes Management Act 2015.
If the Strata Committee ignores the recommendations, it sadly may mean that they put the Owners Corporation in breach of the strict requirements of Section 106. I would recommend that the owner request for a motion to be placed on the agenda of the next General Meeting for consideration by all the owners.
If the Strata Committee accepts the recommendations, they then should appoint the consultant to prepare a tender specification and run a competitive tender with leading lift companies to complete the works. This should then be discussed with the owners in the context of how to fund the works – capital works funds held, special levy, capital works fund loan or a combination of all three.
- NSW: Q&A Reducing the Cost of Our Lift Maintenance Contract
- Lifts: A Guideline to Strata Owners’ Responsibilities
This post on appears in Strata News #165
This article is for reference purposes only and is not intended to be a comprehensive review of the developments in the law and practice or to cover all aspect of the subject matter. It does not constitute legal or other advice and should not be relied upon this way. Readers should take legal or other advice before applying the information containing in this publication.
Looking for a Lift Consultant in your area? Search within our Strata Services Directory in the category NSW Lifts/Elevators for the best list of contacts available.
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