Adapting strata and community title buildings for climate change

Climate change Housing Urban planning Australia
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This report outlines the findings of a study that has sought to inform policy making concerned with preparing strata titled communities to deal with challenges that are expected to result from climate change. The report develops and analyses 24 recommendations designed to advance the capacity of strata titled communities to cope with climate change.

The report provides a description of five research phases that have informed the study. Initially a literature review was undertaken. This review focused on climate change impacts on buildings and also issues surrounding the management of strata titled complexes. Next a review of the most pertinent Australian legislation relating to insurance, property maintenance and the funding of common property capital expenditures in strata titled schemes was undertaken. The study’s first empirical phase involved a meeting with an eleven person industry reference group. This group met on two subsequent occasions and represented a valuable sounding board that informed the study’s evolution. Next, eighteen interviews were conducted with individuals representing a range of strata title stakeholder groups. The study’s final empirical phase involved the conduct of an on-line questionnaire survey. This survey was designed to investigate the current climate change preparedness of strata title communities and also to gauge the relative merit of sixteen recommendations developed during the interview phase. The survey was also used as an opportunity to generate further recommendations. Following an analysis and distillation of feedback provided by 450 questionnaire respondents, eight further recommendations were developed.

Analysis of data collected during the study’s interview phase resulted in the distillation of six thematic issues that should be considered when seeking to better prepare strata titled communities for a world of climate change. These six themes are: 1) Facilitating unit owner awareness of climate change implications; 2) Facilitating information availability to key decision makers; 3) Facilitating strata and community title complex decision making; 4) Funding building adaptation work; 5) Weather event emergency management; and 6) Insurance as risk management.

The 24 recommendations advanced in the report cover a wide range of facets relating to strata title building, living and management. The range of issues addressed in the recommendations include factors relating to building construction and resilience rating, improved climate change education of strata title stakeholders, insurance, emergency management, building decision making issues, and bank lending. The breadth of the recommendations is also evident from the fact that they are directed to a broad range of strata title stakeholders that include unit owners, strata managers, resident managers, state and federal governments, insurance companies, sinking fund forecasters and banks.

By: Chris Guilding, Jan Warnken, Francesco Andreone and Dawne Lamminmaki

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