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Things to consider when renovating an apartment in a high rise.

Renovating an apartment in a high rise has different considerations than renovating a standalone property.

Most high rises have body corporates that have strict guidelines for any construction that you may wish to start in the building.  This may consist of security clearance for tradespeople entering, and/or only conducting work during specific hours, for example.

When considering renovations in an apartment, usually structural changes are not permitted, nor are alterations to common areas. However, you are usually able to change things that aren’t part of the structure such as kitchen joinery, fixtures and fittings, appliances and floor coverings.

If you are considering renovating an apartment, in a high-rise building, you must consider the following:

Individual property and body corporate by-laws, even if you have renovated in another building, don’t presume the current one’s rules are the same.

Some apartment complexes also have strict rules for the individual apartments, such as what structural changes may or may not be tolerated.

It is important to maintain relationships with your body corporate managers and neighbours and let them know of anything that may affect their circumstances over the course of the renovation e.g. is the lift going to be in use at certain times, is there going to possibly be excessive noise on a particular day. Keeping neighbours happy will make the renovation process a lot more pleasant!

Make sure common property and access areas are kept safe and unobstructed at all times.

Ensure that construction hours are consistent with body corporate and council guidelines.

Ensure common areas are kept clean and tidy at all times.

Although renovations in a high-rise apartment may be more limited than those in a standalone home, progressive body corporates in Australia are embracing sustainability and may be happy to consider undertaking methods to reduce the environmental footprint.

Although body corporates may have strict rules that you feel limit your renovations, it is worth being proactive and communicating with them, and even lobbying for sustainable improvements such as solar energy or solar hot water, for example, if this is part of your renovation vision. The cost of these improvements can be shared with other unit owners, which makes them more affordable and effective for everyone.