Roof Painting & Strata

Great to see roof painting contractors undertaking their work on a strata complex in a professional and safe manner.

There has been a lot of debate over the years since the introduction of the latest Work Health and Safety Legislation in 2012 about the obligations of Owners Corporations and Bodies Corporate.

It is generally agreed that purely residential strata are not covered by the WHS Act and are not deemed to be a “Person In Control of a Business or Undertaking” (PCBU). However when there is a commercial component to the scheme, it is still likely that the definition of a PCBU can NOT be met. But the site now maybe classed as a “Work Place”.

This is where the whole WHS Act gets complicated. It was originally designed to make specific persons responsible, the PCBU, for all safety at a Workplace. It even goes further to specify that there may be more than one PCBU responsible on any workplace.

This is all well and good when you think of a painter going to a property to undertake a re-paint. It is clear that the painter is the PCBU and the place they are painting is the Workplace.

However a clear and definite answer cannot always be given on the subject of responsibilities when works are undertaken on common property.

Thus even though the Owners Corporation is not the PCBU in most cases, the common areas may in fact be, or become workplaces.  The actual lots may also be workplaces full time.

Although not defined in the WHS Act we tend to classify the strata site as being or not being a “PCBU Site” in an attempt to assist the strata to understand their responsibilities.

 

Body Corporate
Classed as a workplace
Internal of lots Common areas
Responsibility under WHS ACT
Residential only – all long term residents (> 6 months) No No Nil
Residential only – all long term residents (> 6 months) – with a Resident Manager No Yes Full for common areas as these areas are now the workplace for the resident manager, cleaners, tradesperson, rental agents, etc.

The Resident Manger is the PCBU unless this person is an employee of the BC/OC which then makes the BC/OC the PCBU.

Residential only – Short Term Rentals Yes – Short Term Rentals only Yes Full for common areas as these areas are now the workplace for the cleaners, tradesperson, rental agents, etc.

Internal of lots are responsibility of individual PCBU’s

Residential with Commercial lots Yes – commercial lots only Yes – to any common areas to commercial lots and common areas shared by both Full for commercial and sheared common areas as these areas now the workplace for the site’s staff, cleaners, tradesperson, rental agents, etc.
Commercial Complex Yes Yes Full for common areas as these areas are now the workplace for the site’s staff, cleaners, tradesperson, rental agents, etc.

Internal of lots are responsibility of individual PCBU’s

 

Do purely residential complexes have any responsibility?

Yes

Even though they may not have a specific responsibility for safety covered by the WHS Act, they still must abide by the requirements of Strata legislation. Plus they also have responsibilities under Common Law Duty of Care.

Statute Law

All legislations covering Strata in all states and Territories have a specific requirement for “common property” to “properly maintain and keep in a state of good and serviceable repair”.

The Act also states that no decision on common property repairs is to be taken if that decision will affect the safety of any building, structure of common property. Thus the common property must be kept in a safe condition at all times.

Common Law

The Strata has a “Duty of Care” to take reasonable care for the safety of all persons using common property.

This “Duty of Care” has been proven many times over in the courts and through financial payments to persons injured on common property.

How then do residential complexes meet their responsibilities?

  1. Accept that you have these responsibilities
  2. Have a professional conduct a safety audit on a regular basis – at least yearly
  3. Abide by the requirements of the WHS Act and Regulations.
  4. Ensure trades persons performing works on site abide by the WHS Act and Regulations
  5. Keep the common areas properly maintained and in a safe condition.

Find out more about roof painting and strata. Contact QBM today!