This question from a SA lot owner about what to do if you’ve been told you have too many items on your balcony has been answered by Carrie McInerney, Horner Management.
Question: We have quite a few items on our third floor terrace. The building manager is insisting we get a engineers report to ensure the terrace can hold the weight of the items.
We own an apartment in a three year old block with 60 residences. We have a large terrace on the 3rd floor (60 sq.). We have decorated the terrace with two water features, and a large number of pots and planters (some quite large).
A couple of residents have raised concerns about the number of pots we have and we have been contacted by the Building Manager requesting an engineers report. Our response to this was first we would like to know what the load-bearing figures are per sq. for the terrace (as we have weights etc. for what we have on the terrace).
This hasn’t been provided but now the building manager is insisting on an engineers report at our cost.
What are our rights in this situation, particularly if the report comes back in our favour advising there is no issue? If there is an issue we would remove some of the pots.
Answer: There may be an option for you to contact council for copies of the plans.
These types of queries can be difficult to answer without all of the information on particular buildings.
I understand that your Property is 3 years old, which would mean the Corporation would fall under the Community Titles Act and being apartments, they would be classified as Community Strata (where one lot exists above another). I am also assuming that you have checked your registered bylaws to see if there are any restrictions about what you can place on your terrace or any load limit and the bylaws are silent in this regard.
The function and powers of the Corporation in accordance with Section 75 Functions and powers of corporations, is to administer, manage and control the common property for the benefit of the owners of the community lots. The request from the Building Manager to have an engineer’s report would have been requested to ensure that the terrace can take the weight of the items to ensure that common property (building) is not compromised. You have indicated that the building is only 3 years old, so there may be an option for you to contact council for copies of the plans if the Building Manager does not have a copy. This may provide you with the load limits or the details of the engineers / architects who worked on the property and they may have this information considering the apartments are relatively new.
Failing the above, it would be my suggestion that you do seek professional advice to enquire if the Terrace can hold the weight of your pots and water features, as there is a possibility that the structure of the building could be compromised due to the excess weight. It is my understanding that the report is only requested to ensure the integrity of the building and so you can furnish your terrace, it would be my belief that the cost of the report should be covered by the individual owner. If you decide not to furnish your terrace with the water features and pots, the report would not be required as there is no possible risk to the structure of the building. A report may also protect you in the future, if damage is caused in the future and it is found to be due to the weight of items on your terrace you will have a report showing that you took all measures to ensure that the terrace could hold the weight of your items.
This post appears in Strata News #355.
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This article is not intended to be personal advice and you should not rely on it as a substitute for any form of advice.
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