What is a Major Works By-law?

A Major Works By-law is a strata by-law which sets out the process for lot owners seeking the approval from the owners corporation to carry out Major Works to their lot and common property.  This type of strata by-law is also known to exist under different names such as “Building Works By-law”, “Works Approval By-law”, “Major Renovations By-law”, “Renovation Works By-law” and “Works Program By-law” just to name a few.

Some common examples of Major Works that are approved under a Major Works By-law include:

  • Bathroom renovations including waterproofing;
  • Works involving structural changes to common property e.g. the removal of an internal load bearing wall, removal and replacement of tiling, reallocation of plumbing, etc;
  • The installation of solar panels and skylights in a roof;
  • Attic space conversions; and
  • Works involving altering the external appearance of an owner’s lot e.g. the installation of awnings and pergolas.

Typically, a Major Works By-law contains the following conditions a lot owner must comply with:

Before commencement of the Major Works 

Before commencement of the Major Works, the lot owner must:

  • provide a complete proposal concerning the Major Works including but not limited to plans, drawings and specifications of the proposed works, the manufacturer’s or supplier’s brochure regarding same, a diagram depicting the location of or proposed installation points of all parts of the works, engineering plans and certifications, approval from local council (if required), structural engineer’s report and certification concerning the impact of the major works on the structural integrity of the building (e.g. for the removal of a load bearing wall);
  • if requested, provide to the owners corporation a dilapidation report prepared by a structural engineer having reviewed the Major Works;
  • obtain written consent to the date for the commencement of the Major Works from the owners corporation/strata committee;
  • cause insurances to be effected and maintained for the duration of the Major Works e.g. contractors all risks insurance, insurance under the Home Building Act 1989 (NSW) and workers compensation, as required; and
  • if considered necessary by the owners corporation/strata committee, pay a bond to the owners corporation in an amount approved by the owners corporation or the strata committee.

Notice of Major Works 

  • Normally the lot owner must give notice of the commencement of the Major Works to the owners corporation and each owner in the building.

During Construction

  • Given the nature of Major Works, an owners corporation would ordinarily expect a lot owner to use duly licensed employees, contractors or agents to conduct the Major Works and ensure the Major Works are conducted in a proper and workmanlike manner and comply with the current Building Code of Australia and the Australian Standards.  These are some of the many conditions that are required.

After Construction

  • After the Major Works have been completed the lot owner is required to notify the owners corporation that the Major Works have been completed and notify the owners corporation that all damage, if any, to lot and common property caused by the Major Works and not permitted by the strata by-law has been rectified. There are many other conditions which must be included.

Ongoing obligations

  • The Major Works By-law normally passes on the maintenance and repair of the Major Works to the lot owner and also contains conditions regarding indemnity and costs.

How Can We Help?

Unlike some other providers who may claim that their strata by-laws are not legal services, or are unable to provide legal advice on the drafting of a Major Works By-law, Pobi Lawyers has a proven track record of drafting and advising on Major Works By-laws for owners corporations. If you need a Major Works By-law quote or are after some preliminary legal advice on your drafting, we are here to help.

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