Connect with us:

Commissioners Corner -Video/Teleconference Meetings

Participation in – or for the purposes of this article, ‘attendance’ at – a general or committee meeting is a fundamental component of a body corporate’s decision-making process.

While in-person attendance is arguably the ideal model, I think we would all agree that this is going to be impractical for large numbers of schemes and particularly for larger schemes with a number of interstate or overseas owners.

It is also commonplace for meetings in a variety of contexts to be held via teleconference, Skype or similar.

The Body Corporate and Community Management Act 1997 (the BCCM Act) is silent on the issue, with no explicit provisions one way or the other about use of teleconference or Skype.

That said, adjudicators in my Office have ruled in favour of their use in a number of adjudication orders. With this in mind, I will cover some of the relevant points about attendance at meetings. For the purposes of this discussion, I will be referring to provisions of the Standard Module (SM).

A motion is passed at a committee meeting if a majority of voting members present (either personally or by proxy), who are entitled to vote and are voting (SM, section 52), is in favour of it.

At general meetings, voting can be conducted by a show of hands, by sending in completed voting papers, or by appointing a proxy or representative (SM, section 86). In addition, section 86 provides that the body corporate can, by ordinary resolution, decide that voters for a general meeting may record their votes electronically.

Electronic voting must be conducted in accordance with the Electronic Transactions (Queensland) Act 2001.

The committee plays an important role in the annual administration of the body corporate, and in dealing with any matters that crop up.

To facilitate this, the regulations allow committee meetings to be conducted in a less formally-structured way than general meetings.

For example, the committee can discuss the matters on the agenda before making decisions and even introduce new matters to a meeting even though they do not appear on the agenda.

Committees operating under the Standard Module must have a minimum of three and a maximum of seven voting members.

Bodies corporate often find it hard to elect a full committee and members may not always be resident owners.

This can result in committee members being unable to physically attend an unexpected meeting where motions must be discussed before taking any action.

Under these circumstances the ability to attend via telephone or Skype would be beneficial.

A small number of adjudicators’ orders have considered the issue of attendance by telephone at committee meetings.

For example, in O’Quinn Street Apartments [2008] (, the adjudicator said:

“Many small schemes, or schemes where owners are interstate, in fact conduct committee meetings by telephone conference or linking up without being physically present. This Office has never ruled that this practice is unlawful since it is the object of the Act to allow lot owners to manage a scheme in the best way for them, albeit within the framework of the legislation…”

Where discussion is not required prior to voting, a committee may make a decision by way of vote outside a committee meeting (SM section 54).

General meetings tend to be more formal and depending on the size of the scheme could have large numbers of voters attending meetings or a large number of non-resident owners.

If a voter is not personally in attendance at the meeting they may give their completed voting papers to the secretary or appoint a proxy.

Subject to approval and practical considerations it is also possible to attend a general meeting via telephone or Skype. Practical considerations could include the number of lot owners who wanted to attend by telephone and the expense involved. While it may be relatively simple to organise the attendance of one person by telephone, it would be logistically difficult and expensive if, say, 20 individuals wanted to attend the meeting in that way.

The issue of attendance at general meetings by telephone was considered in

Apartments on the Lakes [2010] QBCCMCmr 417 (

The adjudicator ordered that a lot owner was entitled to attend committee and general meetings by telephone where practicable for the body corporate and provided that the cost, if any, was met by the owner. In relation to general meetings, the adjudicator said the Applicant should give reasonable notice of their wish to attend the meeting by telephone.

Any lot owner or committee member who wishes to attend committee meetings or general meetings by telephone or Skype should approach their committee with their request.

Should the owner’s or committee member’s request be refused they may choose to lodge a dispute resolution application with the Commissioner’s Office regarding the matter. If the matter proceeds to adjudication the adjudicator will make an order based on the specific circumstances of each case.

For further information about the body corporate legislation please contact our Information Service on Freecall 1800 060 119, or visit our website

This article was contributed by Chris Irons, Commissioner for Body Corporate and Community Management.

Leave a Reply

  1. Geoff Hatch

    I enjoy reading your updates, the information is relative to the management and operation of body corporates and often provides information that I was unaware of.

  2. Chris Irons, Commissioner

    Thanks for your comment and positive feedback Geoff. It’s pleasing to hear these articles are having some practical use.

  3. Sandra

    It is correct that many parts of the legislation that governs Bodies Corporate are out-dated. This is particularly true of legislation relating to voting at committee meetings and general meeting by persons who are unable to physically attend those meetings.
    As with all changes to legislation, such changes need to be practical and not theoretical solutions devised by some legal representatives who have little practical appreciation of the relevant issues at a basic level. Put simply, those of us at the coal face need to be heard.
    If the legislation is to be altered to allow Teleconference/Skype type participation by committee members in committee meetings then there are many practical points to consider before alterations are legislated:
    All participants in the meeting, including owner observers, have an undisputed right to be able to hear all the material under discussion by all committee members. (This provides logistical problems unlike conference calls where there are no additional observers to be considered.)
    Legislation should demand that prior to election any prospective committee member should be required to indicate if their proposed attendance at committee meetings will be via “technological” means and not personal attendance. This allows voters to reasonably consider the situation.
    Any additional costs and disadvantages to the body corporate e.g. costs of suitable meeting rooms and telephone connections, additional telephone costs related to contact with committee, caretaker and body corporate manager etc. must be clearly stated on the relevant voting papers ( in addition to any personal costs which are currently required by the candidate). In many cases these additional costs can be considerable.
    For overseas committee representatives, the difference in time zones can be significant, impractical and disruptive. Meetings can be required to be held outside normal business hours. These committee members are not present for “walks around the building”, additional informal meetings and knowledgeable discussion of current issues.
    Where local representatives who are onsite on a regular basis are available, the appointment of owners remote from the property is neither practical nor advantageous.
    CASE STUDY (which highlights various additional issues):
    In December 2014, there were 3 candidates for the treasurer position at the AGM for our building.
    The candidate elected became ineligible for the committee exactly one week later when the sale of his unit was finalized. (Most owners did not know his unit was under contract of sale.)
    The owner who purchased this unit was promoted by the caretaker and duly appointed by the new and very inexperienced committee about 3 weeks later to the position of treasurer. (There were other volunteers prepared to take this position.)
    The person appointed was an accountant but had no previous body corporate knowledge, very limited knowledge of the building, no knowledge of the Queensland Legislation, no appreciation of the basic differences between admin and sinking funds but above all resided permanently in London. (To fully clarify the situation, the property was on the Gold Coast, the 2015 chairman lived in Melbourne, the secretary in New Guinea, the appointed treasurer in London and a further committee member lived in Darwin. To be absolutely fair, the committee member in Darwin was proactive and flew to all meetings at his own cost).
    All of the inconveniences as pointed out in my original statements were experienced.
    The costs on international phone calls were considerable as the treasurer had only mobile connections so low cost phone cards could not be used. (Some costs are still in dispute.)
    Several committee members refused to phone the UK by mobile as they considered that an unexpected and unreasonable personal cost.
    As treasurer, the person in London was appointed to sign invoices. This has the additional disadvantage that they did not actually know what work had been done. The approval of invoices was delayed, and tradesmen waited far too long for payment for work completed. In 2016 the incoming committee faced a back log of unpaid invoices.
    I have given my opinion re changes to the legislation but to owners I would say be extremely careful with your votes for committee members. Your vote is a costly asset but it is your personal asset. Think carefully before you accept recommendations from a caretaker because his interests and yours may not be compatible. If a nominee sends their details via a caretaker, then question carefully who they are representing? Immediately they cannot be considered to be an independent nomination. If nominees for the committee are located remotely and are unable to be onsite on a regular basis, they may not have adequate knowledge of the true situation within the building and also be aware there is both cost and inconvenience involved. Owners should be given full details of each candidate before they cast their vote.
    It is a case of “let the voter beware!”
    Sandra (owner and ex- committee member)

  4. Carol Halkett

    Hi Chris,
    My complex recently held a EGM to remove to committee members. I sent my two votes and my colleagues 1 vote from my business email. None of the votes were handed to the meeting resulting in our motions being lost. Should I lodge an application with the adjudicator to have the result corrected. The extra 3 votes would have resulted in a successful outcome. Or, will the body adjudicator rule our motions invalid because they were sent from my email