Body Corporate Approval

Hi,

As some of you may have noticed in some of my recent threads, i am planning to remove a load bearing wall in a unit i recently purchased. The unit is part of a 16 unit complex. I have engaged an engineer to design a structural solution and will also be engaging a building surveyor and builder.

I am planning to submit my proposal to the body corporate and am seeking some advice as to how i should best structure this to gain approval.

I planned to provide the following in my submission:
  • Brief overview of the works
  • The added value it brings to my unit, and potentially to the others in the complex
  • More detailed description of the works (structural design)
  • Outline of when the works will take place. Timing and potential noise disruption, highlighting that we will do all we can to minimise the disruption to neighbors.
  • Outline of how we will ensure the safety of neighbors.

Is there anything i have missed that would add value to my submission? Or, is there anything i should take out?

Clearly, i would like this to be as smooth and seamless as possible.
 
Assuming that you will submit a motion for the next meeting, keep it short and simple (and in affirmative language). Keep the attachment(s) concise also. You're removing a wall, not rebuilding the complex.


If I was a unit owner and looking at your submission, I would be interested to know:

  • What types of risk(s) are involved? Are the works insured? Will insurance costs change for the Body Corporate?
If I felt (in the slightest) that your renovation might end up costing me money, I'd vote against. This might seem selfish, but what's in it for me? If there's a chance that things will go wrong, I'll say no.


Also:

The easiest way to 'road-test' your submission is probably to have a friendly talk with some of the owner-occupiers. If they're not worried, then you shouldn't be either. They might have some good questions that you hadn't thought of, and it's easier to answer those questions before you submit the paperwork.
First impressions count!
 
Sorry, i dont mean to sound negative, but I want list out the possibilities that could occur that could result in you being knocked back.

Reasons for voting AGAINST it

1. What happens if it affects the structural integrity of the building.
2. What happens if I get cracks in my unit as a result of your drilling while removing the wall
3. What happens if I get cracks after you're done.
4. What if something that forms part of common property is damaged? Whos paying for that? Technically its common property, so strata covers it. But if its caused by you removing a wall why should I have to pay for it (either through a special levy or increased strata payments).
5. Even if you do have a structural engineer say its fine, when things go wrong who's going to pay?
6. Is there a 100% guarantee that you or your insurer (not the strata's insurer) will pay out immediately without question if something goes wrong 10-15 years from now?

Chances are, you wont want to pay for damages unless it can be proven its related to what you were doing. There will always be opportunistic people out there who will try to blame you for an existing problem, at the same time there will be people who genuinely have problems as a result of your work.

How do you distinguish whos telling the truth and whos not without engaging other tradies/structural engineers/etc?

If you do decide to pay, will you pay without a fight, or will you sit there and argue and blame the structural engineer, who will blame the tradie and go around and around in circles?

How long will it take to fix?
Will it be fixed at my convenience or will I be forced to take time off work to supervise (because Im not letting anyone in my unit without my supervision).
Then comes the question of why should i have to be in this predicament in the first place.

Which usually results in the easier solution is to prevent this from happening in the first place.

All you need is for one person to raise this, put doubts in everyone else's mind and you will have ZERO chance. Which is probably why removing walls in units or strata places isnt a very good idea. (If you owned the whole block or had majority vote, then thats a different story)

EDIT: I just realised you want to remove a load bearing wall. I think your chances are slim to none. Then again, if everyone in your unit block has no idea, dont care or too stupid to understand anything, then you may have a chance.
 
Hi,

As some of you may have noticed in some of my recent threads, i am planning to remove a load bearing wall in a unit i recently purchased. The unit is part of a 16 unit complex. I have engaged an engineer to design a structural solution and will also be engaging a building surveyor and builder.

I am planning to submit my proposal to the body corporate and am seeking some advice as to how i should best structure this to gain approval.

I planned to provide the following in my submission:
  • Brief overview of the works
  • The added value it brings to my unit, and potentially to the others in the complex
  • More detailed description of the works (structural design)
  • Outline of when the works will take place. Timing and potential noise disruption, highlighting that we will do all we can to minimise the disruption to neighbors.
  • Outline of how we will ensure the safety of neighbors.

Is there anything i have missed that would add value to my submission? Or, is there anything i should take out?

Clearly, i would like this to be as smooth and seamless as possible.

Just curious.. whereabouts is this unit in melbourne?
 
Sorry, i dont mean to sound negative, but I want list out the possibilities that could occur that could result in you being knocked back.

Reasons for voting AGAINST it

1. What happens if it affects the structural integrity of the building.
2. What happens if I get cracks in my unit as a result of your drilling while removing the wall
3. What happens if I get cracks after you're done.
4. What if something that forms part of common property is damaged? Whos paying for that? Technically its common property, so strata covers it. But if its caused by you removing a wall why should I have to pay for it (either through a special levy or increased strata payments).
5. Even if you do have a structural engineer say its fine, when things go wrong who's going to pay?
6. Is there a 100% guarantee that you or your insurer (not the strata's insurer) will pay out immediately without question if something goes wrong 10-15 years from now?

Chances are, you wont want to pay for damages unless it can be proven its related to what you were doing. There will always be opportunistic people out there who will try to blame you for an existing problem, at the same time there will be people who genuinely have problems as a result of your work.

How do you distinguish whos telling the truth and whos not without engaging other tradies/structural engineers/etc?

If you do decide to pay, will you pay without a fight, or will you sit there and argue and blame the structural engineer, who will blame the tradie and go around and around in circles?

How long will it take to fix?
Will it be fixed at my convenience or will I be forced to take time off work to supervise (because Im not letting anyone in my unit without my supervision).
Then comes the question of why should i have to be in this predicament in the first place.

Which usually results in the easier solution is to prevent this from happening in the first place.

All you need is for one person to raise this, put doubts in everyone else's mind and you will have ZERO chance. Which is probably why removing walls in units or strata places isnt a very good idea. (If you owned the whole block or had majority vote, then thats a different story)

EDIT: I just realised you want to remove a load bearing wall. I think your chances are slim to none. Then again, if everyone in your unit block has no idea, dont care or too stupid to understand anything, then you may have a chance.

agree with you.. load bearing walls.. is a bigger risk. I have done non-load bearing walls before but with load bearing it is going to carry additional risks.
 
... Then again, if everyone in your unit block has no idea, dont care or too stupid to understand anything, then you may have a chance.

Which is why you should word the motion in concise, affirmative language.

I once saw a similar motion worded with language that made it sound as simple as changing a light bulb!

Perhaps look at minutes from previous meetings. If you're lucky there'll only be a couple of people who ever bother to vote - and you might be able to discuss it with these people first, some people aren't good at saying no directly to your face.
 
Which is why you should word the motion in concise, affirmative language.

I once saw a similar motion worded with language that made it sound as simple as changing a light bulb!

Which goes back to the point I made earlier.

if everyone in your unit block has no idea, dont care or too stupid to understand anything, then you may have a chance.

Majority of people will question it no matter how you word it.

If it looks too good to be true, it usually is. So if someone ever said knocking down a wall is as easy as installing a light bulb or words to that effect, its definitely something a majority of people will question (i dare say 99% of people who visit this forum would question it!).

So you hopefully you got a block is full of lazy people who dont bother to show up to the general meetings.

That said, these are just my opinions and assumptions. I guess its better to be prepared with answers to negative questions so that you have a better chance of winning the skeptics over.
 
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Thank you for all of your comments and suggestions.

I think i will spend a lot of this week drafting up my proposal to the body corporate.
 
HI Kieran,

How did you end up with this proposal and Strata reaction? Did you end up gaining approval etc? Would love some further insight into the resolution of this thread.

Thanks in advance, Jacob
 
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