Your Guide to Getting Strata Approval for Renovations - Strata Data

Your Guide to Getting Strata Approval for Renovations

August 21st, 2023

Strata renovations are one of the best ways to make your unit or apartment genuinely feel like your own — several well thought through changes can make the property more comfortable to live in and improve its value. The trend of strata renovations has grown significantly in recent years, with kitchen and bathroom renovations being particularly popular choices among property owners.

However, many owners are unaware of the need for strata approval. Depending on the type of renovation you have in mind, you may need to obtain approval from your strata before any work can begin. If you are planning to renovate your lot, this guide will explain what strata approval is, what types of renovation work require strata approval, and how you can apply for it.  


What Are Strata Approvals? 

Strata approvals are, in simple terms, a green light for any project or change that will affect the shared living environments. Think of it as a structured framework for property owners to seek permission before making significant changes to their lots or common property. 

Since there are multiple owners involved in strata, there is a need for community guidelines and bylaws to serve as a guide for what is allowed and what isn’t. Strata articles or bylaws vary from one community to another and dictate the types of renovations that require approval and the specific requirements following them.

Without strata approvals, renovations run the risk of violating the community’s aesthetic, structural, and safety standards. Carrying out renovation work without required strata approval can lead to serious legal consequences and disputes within the community. 


What Types of Renovations Do I Need Strata Approval For? 

Types of Renovations that Require Strata Approval

Renovations can generally be categorised into three main types: cosmetic changes, minor renovations, and major renovations. Not all of these types of renovations require strata approval, so it’s important to know which category your renovation falls into. 

Cosmetic Changes

Cosmetic changes usually refer to minor alterations that primarily affect the aesthetics of your lot and have little to no impact on the overall structure or systems of the building. Because of the unintrusive nature of these changes, they typically do not require any strata approval. 

 Examples of cosmetic changes include:

  • Repainting walls
  • Installing handrails
  • Replacing fixtures such as light switches, doorknobs, and water taps

Even though these changes might not require formal strata approval, it is always a good idea to consult your strata committee or management to ensure that they are within the accepted guidelines, especially if you are unsure. 

Minor Renovations

Minor renovations involve substantial changes beyond aesthetics that may have a slightly bigger impact on the building. While these changes might not drastically alter the overall layout of your lot, they can still affect its functionality and appearance. Depending on your strata bylaws, some minor renovations will require approval.  The key to determine whether they require approval is generally (depending on your articles or by-laws) that if the renovation will alter the external appearance of your unit/apartment or have a structural impact then it will require approval.  This approval will need to be by special resolution of the corporation, and therefore cannot be granted by the committee alone.

Examples of minor renovations that may require strata approval include:

  • Installing external window awnings
  • Installing an air conditioner

Major Renovations

Major renovations are significant alterations that can impact the structural integrity, safety, and shared facilities of the entire building. These types of renovations will require strata approval due to the potential consequences they can have on the property and its residents.

Examples of major renovations that may require strata approval include:

  • Structural changes to load-bearing walls
  • Installing new plumbing that requires modifications to shared plumbing lines

Securing strata approval for major renovations can be a difficult process that involves submitting detailed renovation plans, obtaining necessary permits, and addressing potential concerns from both the strata committee and fellow residents. 


How Do I Obtain Strata Approval for Renovations?

The process of applying and obtaining strata approval, whether for a bathroom or kitchen renovation, can vary based on the type of renovation work you have planned. Still, some general guidelines apply across all types.  Here are some steps that you should keep in mind:

  • Check Strata Bylaws and Guidelines

Each strata has its own set of bylaws and guidelines unique to the building. Be sure to check the type of renovation you are planning against them to understand the approval process and the documents you’ll need for the application.  

  • Prepare a Detailed Renovation Proposal

To give the committee a clear understanding of the work you want to undertake, create a comprehensive proposal that includes all the details of the renovation project, such as architectural plans, drawings, and technical specifications.

  • Submit the Proposal to the Strata Corporation for Decision at a General Meeting

Once you have your proposal, submit it to the strata corporation (via your strata manager) for decision by your fellow owners at a General Meeting. They will often have questions about the project, so be prepared to address concerns they may have about your renovation plans.  You are best to do this at the Annual General Meeting, however if you can’t wait until then, you can call an Extraordinary General Meeting for this particular decision.  In most cases there will be a fee that you will need to pay to cover the costs of calling this meeting, so check first with your Strata Manager.

  • Await Approval and Follow Stipulated Conditions

All that’s left is to wait for the result — you can commence the renovation work once approval is granted. Remember to adhere to any conditions or recommendations set forth to avoid any disputes later on. 

Keep in mind that these steps are a general guideline, and the approval process with your strata may involve more or different steps. By communicating clearly and listening to the concerns of the committee, you can streamline the process of obtaining strata approval for your renovations. 

Obtaining Strata Approval for Renovations

Final Thoughts 

When it comes to strata renovations, it’s important to remember that you are not the only occupant in the building — the small changes you make to your unit or apartment may affect your neighbours in a big way. Creating and sustaining a harmonious and aesthetically pleasing community to live in requires a collaborative effort between individual owners, the strata community, and a strata management company.

Strata Data is a leading strata management company in South Australia that has proudly services over 1,300 corporations and 12,000 owners, creating amicable and pleasant living spaces and communities for all residents. If you’d like to see how our professional Body Corporate services can transform your strata community, contact our team today!