A building rewire can be appear a daunting and confusing undertaking. Nonetheless, there are strong reasons not to delay. Plus we're here to help!
Do I have to act?
Many customers we encounter are already aware they have a problem but are uncertain of the severity of the problem. They may also be unsure how to proceed, or unconvinced that they really need to act.
Some early obstacles might include:
A potentially large cost
Conflicting advice, proposed scope, or quotes from contractors
Resistance from other committee members
Time-poor strata managers inexperienced with electrical upgrade works
What’s more, the problem is often not even noticeable aside from occasional nuisance tripping.
In the face of these challenges, it may be tempting to wonder if you really must do anything. The status quo can look preferable to acting!
The truth is, old electrical infrastructure may keep working without apparent issue for years, and compliance is generally not proactively enforced. Nonetheless, there are strong reasons to act.
A good problem to avoid…
We understand no one wants to rewire. If things seem to be working, why would you take on the extra expense?
But there are seriously good reasons to get on the front foot with a comprehensive plan to upgrade your electrical services.
For one thing, the safety risks are genuine. Old services often have inadequate circuit protection, flammable and antiquated cotton-insulated wiring, flammable wooden or hazardous asbestos switchboard panels, and other fire and electrocution hazards.
All this poses a serious risk to residents, visitors, tradespeople, and the building itself.
Old services were installed with old appliances in mind, so the building’s power allocation and capacity might be under strain. This can cause routine, minor failures or a more serious major failure.
Every new appliance and increase in usage bring you closer to your building’s total capacity and increases the risk of catastrophic failure, which will cause serious inconvenience and expense, forcing an upgrade that will be far less cost-effective – and much more unpleasant!
Antiquated electrical infrastructure may affect your ability to insure your building. Many insurers already refuse to insure buildings with cotton-insulated wiring, and the requirements are becoming more stringent each year. Failure to report antiquated services may also invalidate your coverage in the event of an accident.
Noncompliance is also a consideration. Much of the electrical infrastructure in Sydney’s old apartment buildings contains electrical components and practices that have been noncompliant for decades.
Even if they are often not proactively enforced, noncompliance can attract council orders and defect notices that can impose heavy penalties if not rectified urgently, regardless of your financial position, and noncompliance can affect your liability if there is an accident.
Antiquated services and lack of compliance will inhibit your capacity to renovate, instal new appliances and service existing infrastructure.
Owners’ Corporations in Strata Title buildings have a legislated duty to maintain and keep the common property in a state of good and serviceable repair (section 106(1) of the Strata Schemes Management Act 2015 (NSW)). Not having the money is not considered an excuse.
Directors of Company Title buildings may be personally liable in instances of negligence!
A proactive vs reactive approach
The fact of the matter is most electrical fittings installed more than five decades ago will have to be replaced sooner or later. They simply were not designed to withstand modern usage and regulation.
Many people avoid updating infrastructure until they are ordered by an authority or until they have an accident, but by then it is too late to avert damage or to set your own timeline for financing and project rollout.
A proactive upgrade plan will give you peace of mind and manage your liability while ensuring you can organise the project and its financing with minimal inconvenience. This is a task you address once in a generation and, when done properly, will not need to think about again.
"It's easier to raise funds over a period of years [...] rather than waiting for the infrastructure to fail." – Tom Crook, AFE Director
The AFE way
Electrical rewires and upgrades can appear confusing, expensive, and generally overwhelming.
Advanced Fire & Electrical specialises in building electrical modernisations and offers an unparalleled level of education and support. We break the process down in to manageable (and affordable) chunks and tailor an approach to suit your needs and budget.
We are extremely experienced in this very specific field, and we know what it is like to navigate all the stakeholders in a residential apartment building. We understand that being a committee member is often a thankless responsibility. We’re here to help and make the process manageable and as pleasant as possible!
Call us today for a free, no obligations site consultation.