Common Questions about Risk Management for Strata Businesses

Managing Risk in Strata

In a recent SCA NSW fortnightly webinar, Wal Dobrow, Director from BIV Reports, answered common questions and provided insights into effective risk management for strata businesses.  

Here are some common questions addressed during the session, as well as key documents: 

Can an Insurer Conduct Risk Assessments? 

Strata managers may feel uncomfortable performing on-site risk assessments as it is beyond their role responsibilities. However, insurers or other work health and safety professionals can undertake these assessments. In the event that hiring such experts is too expensive, strata managers can do a quick 30-second assessment to mitigate legal liabilities. 

Should Work Health and Safety Reports Be Conducted for All Strata Schemes? 

Yes, work health and safety reports should be conducted for all types of strata schemes, including commercial, industrial and residential schemes. 

Can Strata Managers Be Held Liable If the Owners Corporation Declines Safety Recommendations? 

Yes, strata managers are accountable for ensuring the safety and well-being of occupants in the strata property. To mitigate further liability, strata managers should take proactive measures. This includes documenting the recommendation in official communications sent to lot owners and minute-taking during meetings.  

Can the Owners Corporation Choose Not to Implement Safety Recommendations? 

While strata managers can offer guidance and advocate for necessary safety measures, the ultimate authority to enact changes lies with the owners corporation. Should the owners corporation opt not to proceed with recommended safety measures, they assume responsibility for any legal or financial consequences that may result. 


Is Ignorance a Defence for Not Undertaking Safety Inspections? 

Strata managers often encounter resistance from owners corporations when recommending safety inspection reports for commercial, industrial and residential schemes. One common argument posed is, “If we don’t know what to fix, we don’t need to fix it.” However, claiming ignorance is not a valid defence.  

As lot owners, individuals are obligated to address potential hazards and maintain a safe environment for occupants. The core of the matter lies in the principle of duty of care. As part of the owners corporation, Lot owners have a duty to ensure the safety and well-being of all occupants in the strata property. This duty extends to identifying and addressing foreseeable risks, regardless of whether they are immediately apparent or not. 


Can a Safety Report Substitute a Work Health and Safety Risk Management Plan? 

No, a safety report provides insights into general risks, but a work health and safety risk management plan covers specific risk management processes, procedures, responsibilities and best practices.