This was a recent incident which occurred at a set of 4 units. The incident ended up costing in excess of $100,00 for extensive water damage repairs.
An owner of one of the apartments went away on holidays for 2 weeks. Upon their return they discovered a flooded flat. Unfortunately, and unexpectedly, a tap had been left running during the length of their holiday.
The running tap caused considerable damage, with water soaking the whole of the unit. As you can imagine, the damage did not stop there. The water from the running tap had also damaged the separating fire wall shared by the unit next door.
This caused a bit of a problem as the only way to replace the damaged wall was to have the roof lifted off with a crane. Lifting the roof was the only way for the builders to gain access, allowing them to replace or repair the damaged areas.
The final water damage repairs bill was over $100,000 to replace the wall – $70,000 was to remove and replace roof (including the hiring of the crane) and $30,000 was the cost to replace the common partition fire wall, not to even mention the cost of temporary accommodation for both the lot owners during the repairs. It’s hard to live in a unit without a roof or common wall. The lot owner was also up for $20,000 to repair or replace the internal fittings in their apartment.
Now, that’s quite an expensive holiday!
This post also appears in Strata News #144
A Fire in a complex is the last thing that you need. But when it is the adjoining property, then there is a risk also. We go on about items stored in common property or outdoors with the risk. Here is a classic example of pressurised cans stored out doors in a shelving unit, Look what a fire did to a colour bond fence and the heat from a car fire and the impact on the units next door. This brings us to being aware of the risks associated with such items and how fast fire can expand. In this case the fire truck could not get access to the property, as there were items hindering fire fighters to put out the blaze. Fire regulations and building codes are in place for a reason, to protect us from these event and to minimise the risk. This all boils down to basic communication within the building.
The use and installation of large gas bottles have been a topic of discussion for a number of strata schemes in the last couple of weeks. Firstly there was a new installation of gas bottles and lines to a strata scheme to service some food providers. But the gas lines were installed in the wall of the adjoining building and did not receive approval from the strata owners of the property. This has also impacted the fire exit point of the property also, causing an increased fire risk.
The recent impact of a vehicle into a gas cylinder at the café in north Queensland (June 2015) , and the Nowra gas leak explosion (Feb 2016), and exploding gas cylinder in Spain (Oct 2016), has highlighted an increased focus on the risks of the storage of these gasses.
There is also a gas bottle refilling site on a main road that has minimal protection from an impact as well as having no records of being authorised by the strata scheme. The owners of the strata scheme are still in discussion with the lot in question, to resolve the situation. The Australian standard for the storage and handling of gas cylinders is AS4332-2014, and is used as a guide by gas installers.
With the increasing amount of drivers on the road and people foreign to the area, has increased the amount of risk to a potential impact to the strata schemes, and planning of where to install the cylinders in a safe area and manner is quite important.