As the summer months in the Lower Mainland continue to get hotter and hotter, strata corporations are receiving more requests from Residents to install air conditioner and heat pump units.
There are four key considerations the strata must review before allowing these systems to be installed.
Change of use resolution
Per Section 71 of The Strata Property Act, a 3/4 Vote Resolution passed by the Owners at a General Meeting is required to allow for a change in use and appearance to the exterior of the building. The compressor component of the air conditioning unit is typically placed on common or limited common property.
The responsibility for repairs and maintenance is contained in the Strata Bylaws. A 3/4 Vote Resolution passed by the Owners at a General Meeting is required to amend the bylaws. Any new bylaw should consider the approval process for installation, how the system will be maintained, where the exterior components can be placed, and in some cases, the specifications for the type of system that will be allowed. Councils should also consider existing bylaws related to noise and nuisance, as the installation of these units can impact other residents.
If the building is still within the 2-5-10 year warranty program, penetrating the building envelope may void the warranty to that area of the building. Even if the original engineer will provide specifications for sealing the penetration, it does not guarantee that the developer, or the warranty provider will honor the building enveloper warranty. This would not apply to buildings no longer under 2-5-10 year warranty programs.
Engineering & Electrical
Depending on the age of the building, an electrical review may be needed to determine if the electrical system will allow for the addition of air conditioning units. Generally, systems that only provide cooling will not exhaust the system; however, if a system that allows for heating and cooling is allowed, a management system may be needed. Some municipalities require the management system to be installed when applying for an electrical permit.
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