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By-Law Requirements and Hard Flooring Options in Strata Living
In recent times, there has been a noticeable increase in popularity of hard flooring options such as solid timber, bamboo, laminate and tiles. If you are living in a Strata Titled property and is thinking of changing the existing floor covering, please be aware that all Strata Titled properties are governed by the NSW Strata Schemes Management Act.
Impact noise such as footsteps, furniture being moved and items being dropped has the potential to affect owners living in the property directly below the offending unit. The floor covering or treatment serves to minimise such disturbances.
Noise transmission between two vertically adjacent apartments is primarily affected by three factors:
- The quality of the underlay used in the floor above
- The thickness of the concrete slab
- The cavity of the drop ceiling in the apartment below (if installed)
All Strata Titled properties are governed by the NSW Strata Schemes Management Act and all Strata Schemes are subjected to a set of By-Law. The standard Strata Title Act By-Law pertaining to Floor Coverings states the following:
“An owner of a lot must ensure that all floor space within the lot is covered or otherwise treated to an extent sufficient to prevent the transmission from the floor space of noise likely to disturb the peaceful enjoyment of the owner or occupier of another lot.”
Some strata schemes may have a different by-law on this issue, so it is important to always clarify with the Owners Corporation of your scheme the requirements of the property.
However if as an owner, you are determined to install timber flooring, for example, in your strata property, in some instances it may still be possible to both meet the conditions of the by-law and enjoy your desired hard surface floor. But how you can prove to the Owners Corporation in advance of installation that your preferred type of flooring will not affect your neighbours?
The Association of Australian Acoustical Consultants (AAAC), a not-for-profit peak body representing professionals involved in delivering acoustic solutions, has published guidelines that provide information on appropriate standards for buildings of different quality.
The Building Code of Australia (BCA) also sets a standard for impact noise transmission that is not greater than (Ln,w + CI = 62dB). This is a measure of the noise produced by the hard floor surface. The BCA standard is recognised as a minimum national standard however the By-Laws of your property may require a different condition.
In this case, it is important to know what the minimum requirements of your building are and contact an acoustic consultant to provide a recommendation for an adequate underlay. In many instances, a pre-installation impact isolation testing may be required to determine the in-situ performance of the recommended underlay in your building.
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Blackett Acoustics Pty Ltd
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