Can I change the flooring in my townhouse or unit?

Changing the flooring

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obligation-free proposal

We offer an obligation-free quote.

The first step is a short phone or in-person meeting to better understand the needs of your committee and scheme. This will only take around 10 minutes.

From there, we’ll put together a tailored proposal, including our easy-to-understand fee package.

Submit our proposal form, including the best contact time, and we’ll be in touch.

Receive an obligation
free proposal

We'll need to get some details about your building. Let us know the best time to contact you.

Receive an obligation-free proposal

We offer an obligation-free quote.

The first step is a short phone or in-person meeting to better understand the needs of your committee and scheme. This will only take around 10 minutes.

From there, we’ll put together a tailored proposal, including our easy-to-understand fee package.

Submit our proposal form, including the best contact time, and we’ll be in touch.

Receive an obligation
free proposal

We'll need to get some details about your building. Let us know the best time to contact you.

Considering changing the flooring in your townhouse or unit? Opting to replace carpet with laminate or hardwood is a common renovation decision and one that many lot owners make without consulting the body corporate.  

In this article, we look at changing the flooring in a townhouse or apartment, and why it’s important to consider potential noise disturbances to your neighbours.

Check your by-laws

Before diving into any renovations, it’s crucial to understand the regulations of your body corporate. These by-laws govern what can and cannot happen in the scheme, including renovations and noise.

While flooring may seem like a low-risk update, in multi-story apartment buildings, one person’s floor is often the next person’s ceiling and changes can have a noise impact on the apartment below. These buildings typically implement flooring by-laws to ensure any changes from carpet to tiles, wood, or laminate, adhere to specific sound rating standards.

Townhouses or free-standing homes are less likely to have a flooring by-law, but you should still check. If there is no flooring or acoustic by-law, interior flooring changes generally do not require approval.

Flooring changes to an external area like a balcony or entrance porch, however, can often be seen by other lots and may require body corporate approval. 

Noise by-laws

While your scheme may not have an acoustic by-law, it most likely will have a noise one.

If a neighbour can prove there is unreasonable noise traffic from a lot that has hard floors installed, adjudicators can order the reinstallation of the carpet, or the installation of impact and noise absorption materials to reduce the disturbance. This would typically be at the expense of the owner who installed the hard flooring, as they are deemed responsible for the noise disturbance.

When in doubt

  • Speak to a flooring expert about the appropriate amount of sound insulation for your property
  • Ask your neighbour what, if any, noise currently comes from your flooring
  • If necessary, have an acoustics engineer inspect and provide recommendations or an acoustic test in your lot

The body corporate Commissioner’s Office suggests the following measures to reduce noise transference:

  • Floor rugs and carpets, with insulated backing for high-traffic areas
  • Felt pads under furniture legs
  • Soft closers on cupboard doors
  • Removing shoes when inside the apartment
  • Minimising noisy activities and keep the volume on electronic devices as low as possible

For more information about hard flooring by-laws or the process in your body corporate, contact one of our experts today.

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