Who replaces balcony tiles in strata

22 Jan Who replaces balcony tiles when a waterproof membrane fails?

Who replaces balcony tiles when a waterproof membrane fails?

As buildings get older more and more maintenance is required – in particular – rectification of failed waterproofing membranes, which are discovered generally when an occupant calls complaining of a watermark/damage to their balcony ceiling or walls.

Immediately – questions are raised “Who is responsible for the waterproofing membrane?” and “The balconies are tiled (or has another type of floor covering), if we need to replace the waterproofing membrane, who pays for the removal and reinstatement of the tiles/floor covering?”

Let’s tackle the first question initially…….

Section 159(2)(iii) states:

To the extent that lots included in the community titles scheme are created under a building format plan of subdivision, the body corporate must:

(a)Maintain in good condition –

(iii) roofing membranes that are not common property but that provide protection for lots or common property.

This would be the case in multistorey buildings where a balcony is over balconies below it or Common Property of the scheme. Even though the balcony forms part of the lot, the balcony forms a “roof” over the balcony below and as such, the waterproofing membrane of the balcony becomes the responsibility of the Body Corporate to maintain & repair / replace.

Now for the tricky question – who is responsible for the removal and replacement of the tiles/floor covering if a waterproofing membrane needs replacement?

In this month’s Adjudicators Order, under point 25, the Adjudicator noted:

While an owner is required to maintain their own floor coverings, the body corporate cannot access the concrete balcony slab to replace the waterproofing membrane without removing the balcony tiles and screed. If a body corporate has to pull up tiles and screed to replace a defective waterproofing membrane, then the body corporate may also be responsible for the cost of replacing the tiles.

However – in this case, the Adjudicator ruled that the cost associated with replacement of the balcony tiles was the responsibility of the Lot Owner, contrary to the statement they made above. What was their reasoning behind this? Let’s review the application further.

In the response received from the body corporate it was noted that in a previous adjudicators order in 2010 a ruling was made for Lot 6 that the body corporate replace the defective waterproofing membrane and the owner pay for the replacement of the balcony tiles because it had been determined that the existing tiles were in poor condition – a breach of Section 170(2) of the Body Corporate and Community Management (Standard Module) Regulation 2008 “The owner of a lot included in the scheme must maintain the lot in good condition”.

The argument from the Committee in this case was that the tiles on the applicants balcony were also in a poor condition, supported by a report from a tiler that the tiles were not in a good condition or serviceable for a number of reasons and also confirmed by the applicant who noted that he had to grind down the cracks and apply sealant before recarpeting the balcony with outdoor carpet.

As a result, the Adjudicator ruled that the owner had failed to maintain his lot under Section 170(2) of the Standard Module and dismissed the owners request that the Body Corporate pay for the replacement of the balcony tiles.

The full order can be read –

http://www8.austlii.edu.au/cgi-bin/viewdoc/au/cases/qld/QBCCMCmr/2018/627.html