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Glass Breakage in Strata – What to do?

Glass breakage in strata buildings is not only inconvenient but can pose a number of safety concerns to strata residents. Glass often covers large areas of a building’s external surface and is a crucial part of a building’s overall structure, yet it is also a commonly overlooked element. If a resident is aware of glass breakage within their scheme, whether it be windows, doors, shower screens or awnings, repair work should be organised as soon as possible. If broken glass is left unattended it can risk further damage to the building, cause security breaches or may result in injury to other residents and visitors. So who is responsible for glass repairs? Generally speaking, the lot owner is responsible for anything within the boundary of their unit, and the body corporate are responsible for maintaining the main structure of the building, including fixtures and fittings. Furthermore, the body corporate is also responsible for the repair and maintenance of the building’s common property. Below we have provided more tips on what to do with the occurrence of glass breakage in strata:

• To determine who is responsible for repair, a first step to consider is which survey plan the property is registered under (i.e. Standard Format Plan or Building Format Plan) to determine the boundaries of the lot and the common property
• Once you know the boundaries of the lot and common property (i.e. following confirmation of which survey plan applies), it will become clear what the body corporate is responsible to maintain and what each lot owner must do to maintain their lot
• A body corporate may be considered liable if it does not maintain common property in good working order, subsequently resulting in damage to a lot. However, it is equally important that lot owners ensure they advise their strata manager immediately following glass breakage/damage to ensure appropriate action is taken
• Where possible, photos should be produced and passed onto your personal insurance company and/or strata manager
• Depending on the circumstances some matters cannot wait, therefore it might be necessary to arrange immediate temporary repairs, hence immediate consultation with your strata manager. This ensures action is taken to prevent any further damage, especially if the damage poses a potential risk to the unit owner or the general public
• It is important to note that external cleaning of windows is most often the responsibility of the lot owner, however always refer to the by-laws as a first point of call. For example, some by-laws may have an additional clause that may stipulate, ‘The Body Corporate is responsible for cleaning regularly all exterior surfaces of glass in windows and doors that cannot be accessed by the owner of the lot safely, or at all.’
• If at any time you are unsure following the discovery of broken glass, contact your strata manager immediately and they will be able to assist you on the best course of action

This article was contributed by Melissa Braney. Melissa has been a part of the Archers team since 2008 and began managing the Whitsundays office in 2011. She has extensive experience in the Strata Management industry and specialises in management of large prestige properties on Hamilton Island, which are governed under Company Law. Her in-depth legislative knowledge provides clients with expert and professional advice.

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