Understanding survey plans in a body corporate

Building format plan

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Understanding survey plans in a body corporate

In any body corporate scheme, survey plans play a crucial role in defining the responsibilities between the lot owner and the body corporate in relation to ongoing maintenance and repairs.  

Many owners are unaware of their responsibilities, so in this article we focus on understanding the how survey plans work and why they are so important. 

What is a survey plan and what is its purpose?

The survey plans are the registered legal document and a body corporate record that establishes the boundaries between the ownership of lots and common property within a strata scheme.

The plans also provide additional information such as total lot area, balcony, patio, and garage areas as well as any common facilities such as lifts and fire stairs which are located within a building or adjacent to lots.

The purpose of a survey plan is to:

Determine the plan of subdivision of the body corporate

The survey plan identifies the specific plan of subdivision under which a body corporate scheme is registered. This knowledge is essential for understanding the rights and responsibilities of both the lot owner and the body corporate in every strata scheme. 

Identify common property and lot boundaries

By clearly identifying the boundaries between common property and individual lots, the survey plan provides clear differentiation between areas owned by the body corporate and areas owned by individuals.

Determine maintenance responsibilities

The survey plan plays a vital role in determining the responsibility of maintenance and repairs between areas owned by the body corporate and areas owned by individuals as well as providing guidance on how improvements to lots and/or common property are to be carried out. This knowledge can limit disputes and ensure timely upkeep of a strata scheme.

Types of subdivision plans in Queensland

Building format plan

The most common type of survey plan is the building format plan, more commonly referred to as a BFP. The BFP is commonly applicable to high rise or multi-unit buildings. Boundaries in this format are measured from the centre of walls, ceilings, floors, and doors. Owners of lots are responsible for maintaining everything within the boundary of their lot. The body corporate is responsible for the boundary of the lot itself as well as the structural integrity of the lot and anything located on common property.

Standard format plan

The standard format plan (SFP) of subdivision is not as common as the BFP however many communities are surveyed under this plan of subdivision for several different reasons. Boundaries under the SFP are measured from survey pegs in the ground which identify clear lot boundaries, often encircling the entire unit or townhouse. Owners are responsible for maintaining everything within their lot boundary, while the body corporate maintains scheme land outside the boundaries of individual lots.

Volumetric format plan

Less common is a volumetric format plan (VFP) of subdivision. This type of survey plan is commonly applied where there are multiple uses of scheme land, within the scheme land. A VFP extracts that space volumetrically which regulates the maintenance of the VFP lot only which may have significantly different uses to other parts of scheme land. This is commonly seen in mixed use developments where a podium or base level(s) is developed with the sole intention of commercial/retail use only and then an apartment building is developed above the volumetric lot.

Accessing your body corporate plan

It’s important to understand that the responsibility for maintenance and repairs can differ from one strata scheme to another.

When purchasing your lot, you should receive a copy of your body corporate’s survey plans along with the scheme’s Community Management Statement (CMS). Alternatively, you can obtain a copy of your survey plan by contacting your body corporate manager or you can purchase a copy from the Queensland Titles Office.  

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