A resident manager and a lot owner from QLD are wondering about the installation of air conditioning units on balconies. Todd Garsden and Frank Higginson, Hynes Legal provide the following responses.
Question: Is there legislation which requires owners to cage their air conditioning units on balconies? Our Strata Manager has instructed us to have this done at our cost.
Is there legislation which requires owners to cage their air conditioning units on balconies?
We are being told from the Strata manager that we are going to have to pay roughly $2000 to have covers put around our air conditioners on balconies because they are climb hazards for children. But we have chairs that would be easily moved around to access the same height anyway.
The strata manager sent us this industry alert (from the Victorian Building Authority – which we thought was strange) and now says that we must all cage our air conditioners as a part of upcoming balustrade repairs.
Answer: If it is considered a hazard, section 167 of the Act (and probably the by-laws) would require it to be dealt with.
There might be some building standards that require covers around air conditioning units on balconies (which I am not familiar with) but from a purely body corporate perspective, if the committee included that as a condition of their approval of the air conditioner or it was required to avoid a hazard under section 167 then the extra work would be required.
I would suggest putting it back on the committee and requesting details of where the obligation arises. If it is considered a hazard, section 167 of the Act (and probably the by-laws) would require it to be dealt with.
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This post appears in Strata News #243.
Question: The body corporate has introduced a by-law which makes it almost impossible to install air conditioning units on balconies. How can we get around the unreasonable by-law?
I am a resident manager in Qld. The Body corporate committee has bylaws which make it difficult to replace old air conditioning units on balconies.
Please see the relevant Bylaw:
The air conditioning equipment is to be installed in accordance with the specifications and conditions set down by the Committee from time to time, which may include (without limitation):
that any external air conditioning plant be placed on the balcony or courtyard of the lot as close as reasonably practicable to the wall separating the interior of the lot from the balcony or courtyard and in any event at least 900mm from any balustrade of the balcony or courtyard of the lot;
Our balconies are small and the only place 900mm from the balcony rail is a position that restricts the view and is partially blocking a sliding door. Also, this relocation means extra cost in installing a pump for drainage.
I have owners upset with this. How can we get around this bylaw?
Answer: The clause is only a suggested condition and does not have to always be imposed.
That clause is only a suggested condition for the committee and does not have to be imposed each and every time.
What I would suggest is that an owner who wants to seek approval under the by-law does so with additional detail around why the committee should depart from the suggested condition.
The committee can then consider the request and make a decision. If the decision is unreasonable (i.e. it imposes the condition without a good reason) that decision can then be challenged.
This post appears in Strata News #185.
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