By Zerlinda van der Merwe
If you are an owner of a unit in a sectional title scheme, and you wish to undertake any alterations and / or renovations within your section, you should first take a look at your scheme’s registered management and / or conduct rules, which may contain a rule governing alterations and renovations within sections in the scheme.
If your scheme has such a rule applicable, it may first define alterations and renovations as follows:
(a) Alterations shall mean any work involving structural alterations or additions to a section, including the removal, creation or modification of a wall or any structural part of the building and shall include work that affects the exterior appearance of a section.
(b) Renovations shall mean any internal redecoration or refurbishment of the existing interior of a section, including the replacement, removal or creation of internal fittings such as kitchen and other cupboards, sanitary ware, floor coverings, etc.
In terms of the rule, the trustees of the body corporate may have the authority, in their discretion, to determine whether the scope of the work proposed to be undertaken should be defined as alterations or renovations.
The procedure to be followed should an owner wish to embark on alterations or renovations within their section, may be set out in the rule, which may first require a written application to be made to the trustees of the body corporate, for their consideration and approval.
In addition to the required application, a sketch, diagram or building plan of the details, specifications and materials to be used in relation to the proposed work to be undertaken within the section, may need to accompany the application.
The trustees, in their consideration of the application, may require professional assistance, and the rule may authorise them to appoint such professional, at the cost of the applicant owner.
The applicant owner may be required, in terms of the rule, to confirm that the contractor appointed to undertake the proposed work within their section complies with the statutory requirements of the Occupational Health and Safety Act, and that the necessary insurance requirements have been met.
It may further be required that the applicant owner state the expected duration of the project to be undertaken, such that the trustees may notify the other owners and residents of the potential disruption within the scheme.
The applicant owner may be required to pay a deposit, prior to the work being undertaken, to cover any damage being caused to the common property, the amount of the deposit could be dependent on the nature and duration of the proposed alterations and / or renovations to be undertaken.
The manner in which the work may be undertaken, and the hours during which such work may take place can also be contained in the rule. The rule may further prohibit certain conduct and reiterate that the applicant owner must ensure that their appointed contractor comply with the specific alterations and renovations rule, and any other registered rule of the scheme.
As you can see from the above, it is important for a scheme to have a comprehensive alterations and renovations rule in place, which caters for the specific needs of the scheme.
Should you have any queries relating to this topic, and / or require our legal services to review or draft such a rule for your scheme, contact us via email at email@example.com or telephonically on 021 686 3950.
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