Forum: Balcony not up to code, FT not up to speed


A broken balcony in New York - not the one in our story

One of the gratifying things about wrangling this website is that it is keenly observed by a bunch of strata owners and professionals who keep us up to speed with changes in strata laws, regulations and Tribunal rulings.

This is especially important when the powers that be – and in NSW that would be Fair Trading – seem to have no interest in or are incapable of doing so.

Take the issue of bringing common property balustrades up to current Building Code safety standards.  The prevailing opinion has been for many years that until you started doing major work in or around balconies, and provided the balustrades had been code compliant when they were constructed, there was no compulsion to make them compliant with current regulations.

This issue was raised on the Forum recently in the case of a 24-unit block the owners of which have been hit with a $2 million special levy to finace the reconstrauction of their balcony balustrades.

That work would also require them to retile their balconies and, as a consequence of that, replace their sliding doors.

To my shame, I trotted out the old chestnut that you don’t need to bring the balustrades up to code unless other significant work is being done.

Not so, it seems.  There was a Tribunal Appeals Board ruling late last year that if a balcony balustrade was deemed to be unsafe – and non-compliance with current BCA standards was an indicator – then the owners corporation had a responsibility to fix them.

Thanks to our Forum posters, I was able to correct my erroneous opinion.  But then I went and checked the Fair Trading website to see what they say about it all.

Nothing, is the answer.

There is a link to this factsheet about balcony and deck safety however it has no reference to the recent ruling. But then it was published in 2014.

You can read the whole $2 million special levy saga from last week HERE.

Elsewhere on the Forum

  • Do you have to allow access to any and all internet providers?  That’s HERE.
  • Are there insurance issue with the threat of fires from EV charging mishaps?  That’s HERE.
  • Can owners and tenants be prevented from letting parking spaces to non-residents?  That’s HERE.
  • Does moving my gas cooktop using external pipes count as altering the plumbing and therefore make this a major renovation?  That’s HERE.

How to ask and answer questions

Anyone can read our posts any time but now there are several easy ways you can search, access, ask questions and reply to others’ queries. 

The best way these days may be to click on “Forum: Your Qs & A’s” on the top menu bar on a computer screen or on the drop-down menu (three lines) on the right of the screen on phones and tablets, under the Strata Choice ad. Then click on the topic title that interests you, and off you go.  

Alternatively, you can look at the list of “Your latest questions and answers” under the ads on the right of the page on a computer screen. Or at the bottom, after the ads and stories, on a tablet or phone.

Or you can go “old school” and go to the Forum Home Page and work your way through the topics there.

Whichever route you take to get there, the best way to keep up to speed with what’s happening is to register (if you haven’t already done so), then login and subscribe for free to the topics that interest you most.

That way you’ll get an alert whenever the discussion moves forward, and you can also chip in with your own comments and questions.  Have a look HERE at our instant guide to getting online.

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