How to Get Strata Approval to Install a Split or Ducted Air Conditioning System

Air conditioning is a godsend during the blistering summer months. If you’re planning to install one in your home in the Hornsby area, we’re behind you 100% and happy to be of service.

But if you live in a strata scheme building (like many people in Sydney),  installing an air conditioning unit isn’t as straightforward. Strata scheme buildings require you to get approval to install your unit. If you are unsure of the process, we’ve written a helpful how-to to get you started and confident to apply. Let’s begin!

Submitting the requirements

According to the Strata Schemes Management Act 2015 No 50, installing or replacing a new reverse cycle air conditioning falls under “minor renovations” which means it would require the approval of an owners corporation. 

Some buildings have a special by-law that regulates the repair and maintenance of existing and/or new air conditioning units in the owner’s unit and if it affects common areas of the building. This special by-law defines an “Air Conditioning Unit” as:

(A)       Any existing air-conditioning unit and/system serving a lot and originally installed within an Owners lot and/or the common property (including ancillary equipment such as external condensers and piping installed on the lot or common property

(B)       Any replacement air conditioning unit installed by an Owner within their lot (including ancillary equipment such as external condensers and piping installed on the lot or common property

 (C)       Or any new air conditioning unit/system installed by an Owner within their lot (including ancillary equipment such as external condensers and piping installed on the lot or common property)

Comply with the bylaws around air conditioning

In order to get approval to get your unit installed, you have to make sure your unit is in accordance with the by-law’s conditions. Some of the items in the by-laws are as follows:

The owner must ensure that the Air conditioning unit meets the Australian Energy Efficiency Regulations.

Many by-laws require a minimum of 4 star rating. There are some provisions and restrictions in terms of the power consumption in many by-laws. For example, the combined power consumption of all the air conditioning units for 1 and 2 bedroom apartments must not be greater than 6 Amps per apartment. The combined power consumption of all air conditioning units for 3+ bedroom apartments must not be greater than 10 Amps per apartment.

The owner must ensure that the operation of Air conditioning does not unreasonably disturb the other owners.

The owner must ensure that any replacement or new Air conditioning Unit is in a construction and colour scheme that matches the overall appearance of the building.  Any external condenser units that are part of any replacement or new Air conditioning Unit are not mounted on an external wall of the scheme.

The owner is responsible for ensuring that any water from the Air conditioning Unit is drained appropriately. And the Owner is responsible for any damage or loss caused as a result of water draining onto common property or into any other lot.

It can take some time to get your air conditioning approved by Strata, so if it’s summer, and extremely hot in your apartment, you may wish to consider portable air conditioner rental until your fixed system is approved.

Getting the documents together, so you get permission for your air conditioner

Let’s assume that your building has this special by-law and you’re looking to get approval for your unit installation. Once you’re sure your unit meets the above conditions, you can start putting together documents containing information about your unit.

Make sure these documents are clear and easy to understand. According to many by-laws, these documents include but not limited to:

  1. Type, make , model, colour of the Air Conditioning Unit
  2. Plans showing the dimensions and proposed location of the Air Conditioning Unit
  3. Performance specification of the Air conditioning Unit including max wattage required
  4. The Owner must ensure the installation of any new or replacement of Air conditioning The air conditioning unit is installed by a duly licensed and insured contractor and is completed in a proper and workmanlike manner.

You will then submit all these to the Owners Corporation for approval which they should get to you within 21 days of receiving your application.

What if my building has no by-law regarding the installation of air conditioning systems?

If your building DOES NOT have a special by-law regarding AC installation, don’t worry because it’s not the end! The procedure for application remains the same. The process may take longer though, as the by-law still needs to be drafted during a General Meeting or Annual General Meeting. 

What if my application gets rejected?

If your application gets rejected, the Owners Corporation will provide the reason in writing. You can review whether your work plan did adhere to the by-laws. If you feel the rejection is unreasonable, you can take your application to the NSW Civil Administrative Tribunal.

For a more cost-effective and energy-efficient installation, consider talking to the owners of your strata scheme building about having a ducted system installed for the whole building. 

Remember, your air conditioner is a long-term investment, with air conditioners lasting up to 20 years, so it’s important to get this process right, and not just install an air conditioner without strata approval, as you could be forced to remove it from your home.

Ready to install an AC system in your home? Aircon 4 You can help! We work with real estate agents around Hornsby, Wahroonga, Pymble, Turramurra and surrounds to assist you in obtaining approval for the installation of your air conditioning system. So, click here and let’s have a conversation!

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Aircon 4 You

Aircon 4 You are an airconditioning installation, service and repair business based in Waitara NSW 2077. We provide air conditioning service to Hornsby, Sydney North Shore, Hills District and Ku-ring-gai.