Renovating your Home in Strata


In strata, there can be a little more to sprucing up your apartment than deciding on a colour scheme and selecting fittings and furniture. Depending on whether your project is classified as a cosmetic, minor, or major renovation there may be additional hoops to jump through.

Cosmetic renovations in strata

Superficial changes to the look and feel of your apartment are straightforward and do not need approval from the owners corporation. Of course, you will be responsible for any damage to common property including floors, walls, and ceilings as a result of the renovations. Examples of cosmetic work include:

  • Hooks, nails, screws for hanging on the walls
  • Handrails
  • Built-in wardrobes
  • Internal blinds and curtains
  • Filling minor holes & cracks in internal walls
  • Painting
  • Laying or replacing carpet

Minor renovations in strata

Many types of renovations within your property, while also relatively minor, do require owners corporation approval because they may directly or indirectly impact other owners and residents. A common example is replacing carpet with hard flooring that may change the acoustics of your apartment and noise transmission outside. Minor renovations include any:

  • Reconfiguration of internal walls
  • Renovating a kitchen or bathroom
  • Works affecting the safety of a lot, including fire safety systems
  • Any other work affecting waterproofing or the plumbing or exhaust systems of a building
  • Changing recessed light fittings
  • Work involving reconfiguring walls
  • Installing or replacing wiring or cabling or power or access points
  • Installing or replacing wood or other hard floors
  • Removal of carpet from floors
  • Air conditioner condenser units (not on common property)
  • Installation of a rainwater tank, a clothesline, reverse cycle split system air conditioner, double or triple glazed windows, a heat pump, ceiling insulation
  • Works requiring consent or approval under any other Act
  • Work authorised by any by-law

The by-laws for your scheme may prescribe additional work that is to be considered a minor renovation such as storage stands in car spaces.

Approval of minor renovations

You will need to submit in writing to the owners corporation:

  • Details of the work, including copies of any plans
  • Duration and times of the work
  • Details of the persons carrying out the work, including qualifications to carry out the work
  • Arrangements to manage any resulting rubbish or debris

Approval can be given by either:

  • Ordinary resolution (majority vote) at a general meeting; or
  • A strata committee resolution if the bylaws permit this.

It is important that strata committees agree on the level of “details of the work” to that can be applied consistently for all owners.

Major renovations in strata

Major renovations are the kind that could impact the very structure and framework of the property and require a more stringent approval process. Typically, this will be work that directly impacts common property. The work needs a special resolution vote before it can proceed. Unlike minor renovations, the owners corporation cannot delegate approval to the strata committee.

The owner must then give written notice at least 14 days before work starts describing the proposed alteration in detail.

Major renovations could include:

  • structural changes
  • waterproofing
  • fire-safety
  • cladding and insulation
  • changes affecting the outside appearance of the property, such as an access ramp
  • work that needs council approval.

Where an individual owner is to be responsible for maintenance and repairs once the work is completed, a new bylaw authorising the project and establishing responsibility for maintenance and repair will be also required.

Additional approvals required

In some cases, additional approvals will be required, including planning development consent, or complying development certification, a construction certificate and occupation certificate from Council or a private certifier and plumbing approvals from a water services coordinator.

The architect who designed the building may, in some cases, need to be notified where the architect’s holds moral rights under the Copyright Act 1968.

Community Association approval, where the property forms part of a community title scheme or Building Management Committee (BMC) approval, where the owners corporation is a part of a strata management statement structure, may also be needed where, for example, modifications to roofing, balconies or windows affect the site’s aesthetic theme.

Renovations and legislation

Key legislation for minor renovations: Sections 109 & 110 of the Strata Schemes Management Act 2015 (NSW), and Clause 28 of the Strata Schemes Management Regulation 2016 (NSW).

Work on strata schemes is also covered by the Design and Building Practitioners Act 2020 and the Residential Apartment Buildings (Compliance and Enforcement Powers) Act 2020. Depending on the nature of the works, additional approvals and certifications may be required from qualified practitioners including lodgement of plans with the NSW Government planning portal. The Department of Planning and Environment has provided this fact sheet.

If you have any questions, simply contact your Strata Plus strata manager.

Updated: July 2023

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