Standing on the Manly Corso, having finished my morning ocean swim, I was asked ‘a quick strata question.’ The new committee at my swimming friend’s building had the pool furniture removed and locked away due to ‘concerns about safety.’
Having been some time since the last reported case of mass poolside impaling’s on poor quality Balinese deck chairs, I advised my friend that I thought it would be ok to bring back the furniture. If not happy to assume that risk, I further advised the committee to pull down the building in case someone fell from one of the balconies.
Hysteria and bizarre thinking about risk is common in strata land. Paradoxically, sensible measures and recommendations to promote safety about common property like asbestos reports and fire safety checks are often dismissed as ‘over the top.’ The truth is that locking up the furniture doesn’t cost anything; removing asbestos and attending to fire orders does.
Safety is of course important and because volunteers manage common property, strata schemes are by law obliged to have public risk insurance – something not compulsory for suburban houses.
Risk management involves balancing the likelihood of harm and the seriousness of injury against the cost and inconvenience of protection. Bad things do happen in apartment buildings, pool furniture is not likely to be the cause.