Architecture and Renovation

Brisbane apartments get a face lift

They’re becoming a fairly common site around Brisbane’s inner city: Helmeted men abseiling our towers, swinging in the breeze with a paint roller in hand. And here’s why. In the early 2000’s our inner suburbs saw the biggest surge of apartment construction this city’s ever witnessed and, 10 years on, many are due for their first face lift and repaint.

Their original builders would usually use full scaffolding, the sparkling new butterfly emerging from the ugly metal caterpillar only when construction was close to finished. But that’s just too expensive for a simple paint job, so we have ‘painters on a rope’, hanging from the side of a number of our apartment buildings right now.

As you’d imagine these paint jobs are a huge investment for a body corp, many upwards of half a million dollars, and mostly we’re hearing that they have money at the ready in their Sinking Funds. Painting’s usually the biggest expense an apartment building will incur, and it’s around the 10 year mark that it’s needed. So with good planning managers, committees and their AGM’s have collected reasonable levies over the years. Too low to cover the cost and each and every owner is hit with a special levy – or the building waits, poorly presented while funds dribble in.

Queensland law’s fairly broad on how much you must to contribute to your Sinking Fund. Your body corp must be able to “meet anticipated expenditure over at least the next nine years”. So if you’re looking to buy and the Sinking Fund balance and levies are low, maybe you need to take another look at the condition of the building’s exterior and paintwork.

So what difference does a repaint make to the sale or rental appeal of your apartment? Heaps. All of us like shiny, fresh presentation. Buyer and tenant demand definitely improves when your building’s repaint is completed. We’re tipping a busy few years ahead for those daring painter-adventurers.