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Electric vehicle surge a minefield for apartment complexes

Jane Wilson Apr 17, 2024

Original link: https://www.realestate.com.au/news/electric-vehicle-surge-a-minefield-for-apartment-complexes/

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There has been a steady increase in enquiries on the location, running costs and who should pay for power infrastructure upgrades to accommodate electric vehicle (EV) chargers in older apartment complexes.

These issues will amplify as the state works towards a zero-emissions target and high-density living becomes more prevalent over the coming years.

For newer apartment complexes, those constructed in the past few years, many, if not all, have been future proofed for EV requirements. However, they are a small minority.

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Electric car charging points in Brisbane CBD after an ambitious federal plan to increase EV sales was announced two years ago.
Picture: Sarah Marshall

There are thousands of apartment complexes across Queensland facing expensive retrofits for individually metered charging stations and power load upgrades.

It’s just not as simple as a lot owner plugging an EV charger into a regular power point even if it is in their own garage or parking space that is connected to an individual electricity meter.

There are also concerns over EV chargers being a potential fire hazard, but I will touch on that later as it does not fall under the auspices of the BCCM.

A lot owner will need to check if their EV charger will cause supply issues with the electrical utility infrastructure.

It is an offence to interfere with utility infrastructure or utility services in a way that may affect the supply of utility services to another lot or common property.

Jane Wilson is Queensland’s Body Corporate and Community Management Commissioner.

Owners wanting to install an EV charger in their allotted car park, or bodies corporate wanting to install one on common property, may need professional advice about whether the existing utility infrastructure can support the power load of one or multiple EV chargers.

Some bodies corporate may consider adopting, or have already adopted, by-laws requiring lot owners to seek consent to install an EV charger or to regulate the installation of EV chargers with guidelines for their use, location and even type of charger.

If an owner wants to have an EV charger installed on the common property, or in an exclusive use area for their benefit only, they will need approval from the body corporate. This is because it would be considered an improvement under the legislation.

If a lot owner doesn’t get approval when required under the legislation or by-laws, they may be held responsible for property damage.

There are a multitude of issues to consider when adapting apartment complexes for EVs.
Picture: Sarah Marshall