If you don’t already have air conditioning in your strata scheme, chances are that you’re at least considering it. The permissions you will need for installation, and who is responsible for installation, depend on two primary factors: what type of air conditioning system you wish to install, and where you want to install it.
Portable air conditioning
If you wish to install a portable air conditioning unit or fan in your apartment, you will generally be the one responsible for its installation. These smaller units can be more cost-effective than larger systems, easier to install, and more environmentally-friendly. However, you will need to consider whether the appearance of such a unit in your outside window contravenes your strata’s by-laws. In any case, consult these by-laws or your owners corporation first.
Split or ducted air conditioning system
If you are considering installing a permanent split or ducted air conditioning system, gaining the approval of your strata’s owners corporation first is a must as this forms what is called a minor renovation under the new strata laws. To do this, you need to submit a proposal that includes the details regarding the system you seek to install – the brand, size, where you wish to locate the air conditioning unit, and so forth.
The owners corporation should be able to tell you whether or not there already exists a by-law about air conditioning and how it applies to your installation plans. If the air conditioning unit will require changes to common property – the drilling of holes into walls for piping, for example – a specific by-law may need to be written up before you can commence with the installation.
Maintenance and repairing of the air conditioning system, once installed, will likely be your individual responsibility. However, whether or not this is the case will be clarified during the approval process.
Air conditioning in common areas
Sometimes, the common areas of a strata scheme need an air conditioning system installed or an existing system upgraded. Though you can certainly bring this to the attention of the owners corporation, it ultimately is the responsibility of the strata as a whole. Any installation/repair work for air conditioning in common property areas of your strata should be funded by the administrative or Capital Works fund and overseen by the owners corporation or your strata management team.
It can sometimes be hard to know exactly what forms you might need when installing an air conditioner in your strata property. Thankfully, you can consult Jamesons’ Document Bank, where we have all the relevant legislation, fact sheets and guides!