Common mistakes to avoid when designing apartments.

Thinking about Common Property and how it will be used could help you avoid some embarrassing (and costly) mistakes.

There are many important factors that go into the design of a new residential building. Developers and Architects will consider things such as the cost of materials, the environmental impact of the build and the health and safety of the community and residents while drafting up their vision for a new apartment building.

Often, foremost in a Developer’s mind during the design phase will be the Lots themselves, the parcels of land in which the future Owner will live. In order to sell their new development, the living space needs to be perfect, with all the unique selling points to make it stand out from the crowd.

With so many decisions to make, there are often cases where the Common Property and it’s uses/requirements within a build are overlooked. Common Property does not belong in any one Lot but rather is the responsibility of the Owners Corporation, to be shared by some or all the Owners at a property.

While usually not as glamourous as the high ceilings or open plan dining which an Owner might choose the apartment for, the lift which takes them from the foyer up to their apartment, or the driveway which allows them access to the car space are crucial parts of the living experience, too.

Here are a few instances where the needs of the Owners Corporation were not properly thought out prior to building completion.

The Knight are Owners Corporation Mangers with over 20 years of experience managing properties across Melbourne. Need some advice to avoid a mistake like the above? Click here.

All bins are not made equal.

All developers will be familiar with a Waste Management Plan, it is required for planning approval and an important part of the early stages of any build. Within a Waste Management Plan, the number and size of the required bins will be stated. At one property in Greenvale, there was a rude shock for the Building Manager when the specified bins required at the property were not the standard size the developer had assumed and could not fit through the doors of the Waste Room - having to knock out part of a wall to fit a new door had not been part of the project timeline.

Not quite the décor I’d have chosen.

Fixing the roof of a standalone house is a simple proposition. This is not always the case in an apartment building, where parts of the roof may not belong to a Lot but be the responsibility of the Owners Corporation to upkeep and repair. One Owner in Flemington was left extremely put out when it was discovered, as part of maintenance works at his property, that the only access to the roof was through the manhole in his living room. This owner was required to make his private residence accessible to the contractor carrying out the works, even if that meant having him climb up and down a ladder right in front of his TV.

How high can you jump?

All external windows which cannot be easily or safely reached by residents in any Strata property are generally looked after by the Owners Corporation. This will often require a window technician to abseil down the side of the building, cleaning each level as he descends. The window cleaner at a large apartment complex in Docklands didn’t have the usual end to his shift when he reached the ground floor of the building and discovered that he was trapped in a private courtyard with no external exit. Some frantic knocking at the back door secured his escape, but he might not have been so lucky if the Owner hadn’t been home.