Strata Plumbing Maintenance

  • William Demirdonder
  • October 6, 2021
  • No comments
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Any experienced Strata Manager will know the value of preventative plumbing and routine maintenance when it comes to the buildings they manage.

This stands especially true for strata managers who are responsible for handling multiple properties. An emergency plumbing problem can set the busy Strata Manager back in time while costing money as well.

Most often than not, common strata plumbing problems can be easily avoided. For Strata properties, it is important to ensure regular maintenance to prevent common plumbing problems from taking place.

Strata companies mostly work with reputable plumbing businesses to have access to a preventative maintenance plan. The plan ensures that plumbing for both residential as well as commercial properties are efficient throughout the year.

Common Plumbing Issues In Sydney Strata Blocks

Blocked Drains

Clogged drains are the most common plumbing problem in any strata. For identifying who is responsible, it is imperative to spot the location of the blockage. Usually, a blocked kitchen drain or a clogged toilet drain will be the sole responsibility of the lot owner. This is because blockage will be located within the strata property.

However, in a strata where all pipes and drains lead to the main drain, it can become near impossible to know exactly which individual is responsible for some clogged drains.

Burst Water Pipes

The responsibility associated with the repair of a burst pipe in a strata block will depend on the function and location of the pipes. Generally, the pipes located underneath the floor are the direct responsibility of the respective strata management company. On the other hand, the pipes that are situated underneath the floor will be the responsibility of the lot owner.

Leaking Fixtures

Fixtures like showerheads and taps are usually sealed properly to prevent leakage. With time, as the seals will deteriorate, it could lead to potential leaks. As these are a part of the internal components of the lot, it will always be the responsibility of the individual lot owner to fix such issues. Based on the overall extent of damage caused, you can consider simply repairing or replacing the seal to ensure its proper working again.

Balcony Leaks

In case water is running down from the roof or a burst pipe occurs in the area, it will be the responsibility of the corporation of the strata owner to look into the given plumbing issue.

Sewer Line Issues

In Sydney, it’s not uncommon to see sewer line issues with strata blocks. Usually as a result of consistently blocked drains leading to massive blockages, the use of “flushable wipes” by residents, creating a fatberg. And the accumulation of tree roots in the pipe system, so much so that it leads to cracked, broken and completely blocked pipes.

Water Pressure Loss or Loss of Water All Together

Loss of water pressure can come about due to a number of reasons. Loss of water all together is a plumbing emergency and needs to be dealt with ASAP by a professional.

Hot Water Heater Issues

More common in the cooler months when more people in your strata are using the hot water heaters. A must to inspect routinely!


What Happens During a Proximity Plumbing Strata Inspection?

Overall site inspection

Our team of expert plumbers will walk around the property looking for potential plumbing issues and assessing anything they can ‘see’.

Gutters and Roofs

We will inspect all outside drains, gutters, roofs, stormwater drains and downpipes. Giving the gutters a good clean and clear.

CCTV Pipe Inspection

Even with no potential signs of a blockage, small cracks in the pipes can allow seepage to occur AND tree roots to infiltrate. With a regular CCTV drain inspection, you can also observe signs of corrosion, debris, vegetation and observe any buildup of oils and fats in the pipes. All of these factors could damage the pipes entirely in the future when left undetected or unrepaired. Our cameras allow us to see exactly what is happening inside the pipes.

Drain Clearing 

We will most likely use a high-pressure jetter to give the building’s pipes a thorough clean and clear of any debris. We will make an effort to remove any large or small blockages that could become an issue for your main drain.

Recommendations

If we find any plumbing issues that need to be dealt with we will make an effort to either do so on the day or book in a suitable time if it’s a more extensive issue.

Routine Inspection Booking 

We will make an effort to book in your next routine inspection so that we both know when the strata needs to be assessed next. We recommend that we vsit you seasonally (quarterly) so that no small problem has time to turn into a bigger issue.

Hot water heater

If the strata has a central hot water heater or gas heater line we will inspect that for any signs of damage, rust or erosion.


Next Steps 
For Your Strata

If there is anything that needs immediate attention or fixing, we’ll provide you with a details quote and a ‘next best steps’ action plan.

To talk with our team about everything that is included in your strata plumbing maintenance inspection, please call our office on 0420 102 394 today.

Deal With Issues When They Arise

In most cases, the insurance company will not be covering damages that might be the result of regular wear and tear or poor plumbing maintenance. Especially if the problem has been left unattended for quite a long time.

Water problems tend to go unnoticed unless there is some strong evidence like dampness, leakage, mould or smells. The overall impact of these smaller, unnoticed plumbing issues can turn serious (and dangerous) rather quickly. That’s why we recommend regular strata plumbing inspections to make sure all the ‘usual suspects’ are inspected, with a report prepared on any minor issues that could become major plumbing issues very quickly.

 

Who is Responsible for Strata Plumbing Maintenance?

In a community scheme or strata setting, you can find it complicated to determine who you should refer to in the case of water damage and who will be responsible for the overall maintenance.

  • When there is some loss or damage to the common property, the corporation of the owner will be responsible for ensuring the repairs. It will also include repairs to the items that might be damaged, including a clogged gutter, a leaking pipe, or a failed roof.
  • In case there is property damage in more than a single strata lot, the cost of the overall damage might exceed the insurance deductible of the corporation of the lot owner. In such a case, the affected parties can submit the insurance claim through the corporation policy of the lot owner.

This means that all repairs within the damaged property or lots (excluding enhancements) will be paid for by the corporation of the owner. The corporation then gets reimbursed by the respective insurer.

  • In case there is water damage originating from one lot to the other lot, the corporation of the owner can consider assigning the responsibility to the respective lot owner. The corporation can ask the lot owner for the reimbursements of the insurance deductibles. Most corporations of owners go forward with endorsing the ‘chargeback’ by-law. It allows them to claim the insurance deductible from the lot owner who is responsible. There is no involvement of court here.
  • In case there is some plumbing emergency, like a water leak happening in the middle of the night, the corporation of the owner will be summoned by the building manager for taking quick action on the issue. At the given time, the source of the water leak might not be ascertained.

It is, therefore, unreasonable to expect the owners to resolve the problem at the right given moment. The corporation of the owner should aim at arranging for an emergency plumber or a Sydney strata plumber, or any other professional for stopping the leak right away.

Bottom line: ensure proper strata maintenance to avoid common plumbing problems.

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