Strata Plumbing: What you need to know

If you live in a townhouse or apartment building, your plumbing is in fact an intricate network of connected pipes, pumps and fittings designed to get water to you when you need it. That means maintenance, repairs and installations should be handled by a plumbing professional with experience in strata work.

In this article, we discuss some of the finer points of strata plumbing, as well as the benefits of regular maintenance and support.

What is Strata?

When you buy or rent an apartment that is part of a strata title, it means that you have ownership over your own unit (known as a lot), as well as shared ownership of some common areas like driveways and gardens. These areas are managed externally by entities often referred to as strata managers, body corporates or owners corporations. 

How does it work?

Residents of a strata title property pay fees into a fund that goes towards the maintenance and repairs of the building, including plumbing. Having a fund that is regularly contributed to minimises the risk of a massive outlay if a problem occurs to repairs need to be made. 

There's a problem: who is responsible?

When it comes to plumbing issues, there is no hard or fast rule who is responsible. However, according to the NSW Department of Fair Trading, “the basic rule is that everything inside the airspace of the unit… is the responsibility of the lot owner.”

Put simply, it means that everything inside a tenant’s ‘lot’ or apartment (shower heads, taps and fixtures) are their responsibility, and the common areas (large pipes, drains, external waterproofing and leaks) are the responsibility of the strata manager. 

Here's a few examples:

Plumbing IssueWho is responsible?
Leaky shower headOwner (internal fixture)
Blocked drainStrata Manager/Body Corporate
Water damageDepends - if it’s coming from a leak or issue in a common area it’s the Strata Manager/Body Corporate’s responsibility
Leak or plumbing emergencyStrata Manager/Body Corporate (until the cause is determined - then it may fall to the Owner)
MouldOwner, unless the source of the water is from an external leak.

Your body corporate or strata manager is responsible for the ongoing maintenance of your building’s plumbing, which is the best method of picking up issues before they become a catastrophe. 

Regular maintenance checks include looking for:

  • Active leaks including signs of water damage
  • Blocked drains
  • Safety valve operation
  • Water heater functionality

At the end of the day, strata plumbing is a hot topic that is often debated. However, ensuring regular maintenance from trained and certified professionals is the best way to keep the plumbing in check. Get in touch with us for your strata plumbing needs; our expert team will be happy to help! 

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