For a Community Titles Scheme, there are two fundamental types of plans that are used:
- a Building Format Plan; and
- a Standard Format Plan.
In simple terms, a Building Format Plan is used for vertical subdivisions of a building (eg a high rise tower) and a Standard Format Plan is used for horizontal subdivisions of land (eg a gated housing community). Each type of plan, and the responsibilities created on registration for a Body Corporate are set out below.
Building Format Plan
A Building Format Plan (previously known as a Building Units Plan) is commonly used to subdivide a building to create individual lots (eg apartments or commercial offices) and common property. The registration of a Building Format Plan, together with an accompanying Community Management Statement, establishes a Community Title Scheme (“Scheme”) and a Body Corporate for the Scheme. By way of example, a simple duplex, a row of townhouses or multi-storey blocks of residential units can all be established as Schemes under a Building Format Plan. The boundaries of each lot in the Scheme are defined on the Building Format Plan by references to the structural elements of the building, e.g. walls, floors and ceilings.
For a Scheme created by Building Format Plan, the Body Corporate is usually responsible for:
- the maintenance of the outside face of the building including the exterior building structure and the railings or balustrades on, or near to, the boundary of a lot and common property; and
- gardens, lawns and general landscaping on common property; and
- the foundations of the building; and
- generally any doors or windows, and their fittings, that are situated in a boundary wall between a lot and the common property (including common property balconies). This also includes garage doors and their fittings, unless they are located within the boundary of a lot.
The lot owner on the other hand is usually responsible for all issues associated with their lot (except those parts that are deemed common property eg utility infrastructure that jointly services the lot and one or more other lots in the Scheme). Examples include the following:
- doors and windows leading onto a balcony that forms part of the lot; and
- the kitchen and bathroom (including utility infrastructure that exclusively services the lot) and bedroom cupboards; and
- sinks, dishwashers, garbage disposal units and shower screens.
Utility infrastructure responsibilities
Utility infrastructure within a building that is the subject of a Building Format Plan is, by its nature, made up of intricate systems that service the building as a whole. In other words, it is common to all lots and common property in the Scheme. For this reason, responsibility for most utility infrastructure will usually rest with the Body Corporate (except infrastructure exclusively servicing a lot, which falls on the lot owner to maintain and repair (or at the very least, pay the Body Corporate for the costs associated with such maintenance and repair)). In some cases, responsibility for utility infrastructure can be the responsibility of a public utilities service provider. However, this depends on the arrangement reached with the relevant service providers on or before handover of the building by the developer.
- the Body Corporate is usually responsible for infrastructure that services two or more lots in the Scheme and infrastructure that services the common property (eg cold water pipes and cables located within the boundaries of the Scheme; and
- a lot owner is usually responsible for infrastructure that services their lot only, including those parts of an overall system that exclusively service the lot (eg cold water pipes and cables that are located within an internal wall exclusively servicing the lot). Examples of this infrastructure include:
- a hot-water system, including the associated pipes and wiring, supplying the service exclusively to the lot, whether or not the system is located on common property; and
- an air-conditioning system, including the associated pipes and wiring, supplying the service exclusively to the lot, whether or not the system is located on common property.
The Community Management Statement for a Scheme in most cases will provide all necessary details concerning the utility infrastructure in the building.
Standard Format Plan
A Standard Format Plan (previously known as a Group Titles Plan) is a plan that subdivides land with references to marks on the ground or a structural element (for example, survey pegs in the ground or the corner of a building). In the context of a Scheme, a Standard Format Plan is used to create individual lots (eg house lots in a gated community) and common property. By way of further example, a Standard Format Plan may also be used for a townhouse complex where the individual townhouse buildings are not connected with other townhouse buildings and each lot is made up of a townhouse building and land, usually with both front and rear courtyards.
The boundaries of each lot in a Scheme are in most cases defined on the Standard Format Plan by references to pegs in the ground, which are placed and measured prior to registration of the Standard Format Plan.
For a Scheme created by Standard Format Plan, the Body Corporate is usually responsible for the maintenance, repair and replacement of all common property in the Scheme. Typically, this includes common property such as landscaping, driveways, security gatehouses, swimming pools and community clubhouses. However, as is the case with Schemes that are the subject of a Building Format Plan, the costs for maintenance and repair of those parts of utility infrastructure in the Scheme that exclusively service one lot will usually be borne by the owner of that lot.
A lot owner is also usually responsible for:
- all other matters concerning their lot, including all lawns, driveways and gardens within the boundary of their lot; and
- the maintenance of the building structure within their lot, including the exterior walls, doors, windows and roof with the exception of some elements of utility infrastructure.
Utility infrastructure responsibilities
As is the case for a Scheme that is the subject of a Building Format Plan, the utility infrastructure for a Scheme the subject of a Standard Format Plan can also be made up of intricate utility infrastructure systems that service most, if not all, lots in the Scheme and the common property. These systems are, for the most part, located within the boundaries of the common property and facilitate the supply of the particular utility service to more than one lot. They often include underground water pipes and cables, the sewerage network, the stormwater network, the gas network and, in some cases, television antennae servicing 2 or more lots. Such systems are typically shown on the utility infrastructure plan forming part of the Community Management Statement for the Scheme and the responsibility for the maintenance, repair and replacement of these systems usually rests with the Body Corporate.
However, there are parts of these systems that exclusively service each lot. These include the parts of the system located within the boundary of the lot, servicing that lot only, and also also include those parts located on common property that provide the necessary (and direct) connection from the system network to the boundary of each lot, thereby facilitating the supply of the particular utility service to the lot. For example, water pipes, cables, guttering and associated downpipes that are within the boundary of a lot or otherwise exclusively service the lot will generally fall into this category. The costs associated with the maintenance, repair and replacement of this utility infrastructure usually rests with the owner of the lot.
The Community Management Statement in most cases provides all necessary details concerning the utility infrastructure for the Scheme.