Many sectional title schemes have invested a lot of time, energy and money into their gardens. With strict water restrictions limiting non-essential water uses such as watering gardens, filling swimming pools and washing cars, there has, understandably, been a substantial increase in the interest shown in alternative water sources. But how would bodies corporate go about authorising the installation of boreholes in their schemes?
The borehole will need to be sunk deep into the ground, and will require certain infrastructure to function. The infrastructure would include, but not limited to, pipes, a pump, a power supply, a control panel, a tap and a storage tank. Inevitably this will mean that the borehole will take up some space within the scheme – it could be placed on common property, or within exclusive use areas.
Authority for installation on common property:
The installation of a borehole on common property could be justified as a reasonably necessary improvement to common property, in light of the severe drought and water shortages.
The Prescribed Management Rules (“PMRs”) contained in Annexure 1 to the Regulations made under the Sectional Titles Schemes Management Act 8 of 2011 (the “STSMA”) contain the procedure to be followed to authorise improvements to common property that are reasonably necessary. PMR 29(2) states that:
“(2) The body corporate may propose to make alterations or improvements to the common property that are reasonably necessary; provided that no such proposal may be implemented until all members are given at least 30 days written notice with details of —
(a) the estimated costs associated with the proposed alterations or improvements;
(b) details of how the body corporate intends to meet the costs, including details of any special contributions or loans by the body corporate that will be required for this purpose; and
(c) a motivation for the proposal including drawings of the proposed alterations or improvements showing their effect and a motivation of the need for them;
and if during this notice period any member in writing to the body corporate requests a general meeting to discuss the proposal, the proposal must not be implemented unless it is approved, with or without amendment, by a special resolution adopted at a general meeting.”
Authority for installation on exclusive use areas:
The holders of exclusive use rights over parts of the gardens within the scheme may wish to install boreholes to service their section and exclusive use areas. This can be achieved by following the procedure for authorising the construction or placing of any structure or building improvement on an exclusive use area that set out in PMR 30(g), which states:
“The body corporate must take all reasonable steps to ensure that a member or any other occupier of a section or exclusive use area does not construct or place any structure or building improvement on an exclusive use area which in practice constitutes a section or an extension of the boundaries or floor area of a section without complying with the requirements of the Act and the Sectional Titles Act; provided that the body corporate may by ordinary resolution —
(i) give consent for such a structure or building improvement, if they are satisfied that it does not require compliance with such requirements;
(ii) prescribe any reasonable condition in regard to the use or appearance of the structure or building improvement; and
(iii) withdraw any consent if the member or other occupier of a section breaches any such condition.”
Other important procedural steps:
- Before anyone decides to install a borehole they should first investigate whether there is an aquifer (underground water source) on the proposed site.
- Before a borehole is installed, it may also be wise to get a geotechnical surface and subsurface site inspection and investigation done, to ensure that the borehole will not cause any subsidence problems.
- The body corporate or holder of the exclusive use right should inform the body corporate insurer of the borehole installation, which may affect the body corporate insurance premium.
- Finally, either the body corporate, or the holder of the exclusive use right will also need to register their boreholes with their local municipalities.
The procedure for registration is usually a two-step process:
Send an email with certain information such as your name and contact details, the address and erf number where the borehole will be situated etc.
Once registered, the local municipality will send a free sign to display on the property.
The sign, that is clearly visible to the public, is a legal requirement during water restrictions and is necessary to avoid fines issued by water inspectors.
This article first appeared on Paddocks