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NSW Climate and Energy Action

Making your residential strata building EV ready

The Drive electric NSW EV ready buildings residential strata quick reference guide provides an overview of the main charging solutions available for residential strata buildings.

 

NSW strata legislation and EV charging

NSW strata legislation requires that changes to common property - in this case changing the electrical services and/or infrastructure in your building - require specific steps to be taken as noted in Section 108 of the Strata Schemes Management Act (SSMA 2015).

You need to read this along with the Strata Schemes Management Amendment (Sustainability Infrastructure) Bill 2020. This categorises the installation of EV charging infrastructure as a sustainability infrastructure upgrade and replaces the special resolution previously required under section 108 of the SSMA 2015.  

Voting requirements for these types of works to proceed are that ‘less than 50% are against the resolution’ and also require the owners corporations to have a 10 year capital works fund (CWF) which budgets for provision of capital works.  

To make it easier, under step 5 of the process, we have provided example motions and by-laws that can help guide your strata legal representative.

Stakeholder responsibilities

Owner responsibilities

Owners must contact the owners corporation for approval to connect any EV charging equipment. Enquire with the Secretary of the strata committee, strata manager or building manager to get started. 

If your building is already EV-ready, follow the process provided by the strata committee to connect your EV supply equipment to the building EV charging infrastructure. 

If your building is not EV-ready, you should: 

  • understand the building renovation process steps - installing EV charging infrastructure is generally a change to common property - refer to legislative information above  
  • understand the capital works fund plan and find out if there is designated budget for EV charging infrastructure 
  • use the renovation process steps required in your building to make an application – our EV charging request form may provide some assistance. 
Tenant responsibilities

Tenants must seek landlord’s approval, who can then act on your behalf with the owners corporation. 

Under NSW legislation, tenants have limited ability to change common property and must work though the owner of the property. 

Contact your agent to either connect you with, or pass on your request to, the owner to investigate having EV charging installed. 

Owners corporation responsibilities

The owners corporation is responsible for running all aspects of your building, including any budget decisions.  

The owners corporation must have a strata committee made up of owners or owner nominees. The owners corporation may delegate some of its responsibilities to a strata manager or building manager.  

The owners corporation must select which EV charging option suits your building.  

The owners corporation receives applications for EV charging from owners and arranges installation and payment of the EV charging infrastructure.  

They may also help develop and execute an EV charging strategy and assist with the connection of EV supply equipment (EVSE). 

In most cases, it is the responsibility of the owner or tenant to pay for the EVSE. 

The 5 steps to EV readiness

When an owners corporation (or the strata committee on its behalf) is ready to start planning to make a building EV-ready, there are five important steps to consider. 

    Step 1 – Survey

    Carry out a resident survey to gauge EV charging needs and attitudes of the tenants and owners. Survey results can help decide the best way forward, including timing and scale of the infrastructure needed. 

    Our resident survey template will help you get started.  

    Step 2 – Energy assessment

    Reach out to an energy auditor to obtain a building energy assessment to understand the impacts of EV charging and help plan for the new electrical load.  

    Critical elements of an energy assessment include identifying: 

    • existing circuit breaker sizes 
    • historical peak energy loads 
    • energy usage patterns 
    • energy efficiency actions to reduce load and create extra electrical capacity (such as lighting upgrades). 
    • and calculating spare electrical capacity to accommodate EV chargers.  

    Our building energy assessment for EV charging template letter will help you to obtain quotes for an assessment.

    Step 3 - Evaluate options

    There is no single approach, but the following considerations can help you select the right strategy for your building.

    Individual approach - no existing EV charging infrastructure 

    This approach is best suited to the first couple of EVSE applications in small buildings where resident’s meters are easily accessible. It is like installing EV charging in a standalone house and can usually be completed by your local electrician. 

    This approach can be cost effective, but parking spaces that are a long way from a switchboard may make it expensive and difficult.  

    This approach does not provide any additional building EV charging infrastructure to future installations and will contribute to the building’s peak electrical demand. 

    Under this approach, the owners corporation responds to each individual request as it arrives. Each request needs detailed investigation and is treated in the same way as a renovation application that involves changes to common property, so will require an individual by-law for each application. 

    The owners corporation will decide whether the power point will connect to the resident’s meter, and if possible what billing arrangement for the use of common property power will be used. The resident pays all costs. 

    Charging level options and considerations: 

    • Level 1: standard power point 
      • load control such as timers or peak demand management may be required.
    • Level 2: dedicated EV supply equipment (e.g. 7 kW wall mounted charger): 
      • conditional on the electrical capacity of switchboards and wiring 
      • load control such as timers or peak demand management may be required.

    Individual approach – use existing circuits and meter 

    This approach is best suited for apartments and town houses that have individual distribution boxes and metering as part of the residence – similar to a standalone house.  

    As such, you may simply be able to add an additional circuit or reuse a circuit from your distribution board. It resolves any question of access or usage charges as the EV charging is included in your existing meter and therefore electricity billing.   

    Charging levels are determined by the available power from these existing circuits. It may be that load control is required to manage the overall load from the building once chargers are installed.  

    Normally your local electrician can advise and perform this work. 

    Note, some individual distribution boards also have high-powered power circuits like air conditioning or stove circuits. EV charging cannot be performed whilst this equipment is in use without tripping the board. An automated interlock switch can be used to allow the high-power device to take preference. When the high-power device is not operating, the EV charger, which is connected to the secondary part of the interlock switch, automatically starts charging. 

    Caution: there can be an impact on the electrical capacity of the building, requiring owners corporation approval to ensure any increase in peak demand is understood and managed by the owners corporation. 

    Shared use on common property 

    This approach is best when access to owner car spaces is limited and/or the owners corporation has enough common property car spaces. 

    EV charging stations are usually limited to a fixed area such as visitor parking spaces. This allows installation to be much simpler but creates other problems -  notably the fair management of the spaces.  

    To help ease access issues and help control costs, it is advised you schedule and manage user access needs. You may find parking signage or enforced time limits useful. 

    Charging level options and considerations: 

    • Level 2: dedicated EV supply equipment (e.g. 7 kW / 22 kW wall mounted charger)            : 
      • owner’s corporation decides that it can fairly manage charging sessions up to 8 hours in duration.  
      • charging in individual car spaces is impractical or too expensive. 
    • Level 3 – dedicated DC ‘fairly fast’ charging station (25 kW to 50 kW): 
      • suitable when demand for charging is likely to be high and charging sessions must be limited to no longer than 2 hours.  
      • requires relatively high dedicated electrical capacity.

    Before moving ahead with works you will need to: 

    • determine if there is sufficient electrical capacity in all switchboards and wiring (in particular for level 3 DC charging)  
    • identify peak demand electricity costs and building supply issues as load control may not be possible
    • determine the cost recovery method: 
      • a flat rate per EV per quarter or year is simple to implement and avoids costs to a third-party service provider.  
      • pay-as-you-go based on usage may require additional monitoring and is often outsourced as a subscription to a charge management provider.   
    • obtain approval of sustainability infrastructure resolution through owners corporation. 

    Normally your local electrician can advise and perform this work, although an EV charging operator is another option.

    Modular (phased) approach 

    This approach is best for small and medium buildings with limited budget, where demand is expected to be low over the next decade, providing a quick and easy start. 

    A phased approach allows you to install an ’EV charging backbone’ as required, helping support spend and/or ensure there are sufficient users to pay off the cost of the EV charging infrastructure over time. This low cost, yet expandable infrastructure helps future proof the building. 

    Before moving ahead with the works, the strata committee will need to seek approval from the owners corporation. Strata then proceeds to install modular components of the EV charging backbone. Owners then need to obtain individual approval to connect additional equipment to the common infrastructure.  

    Final-circuit EV supply equipment and connection costs are normally paid by the relevant owner or tenant. 

    This approach enables dedicated level 2 charging to each charging point and is scalable in discreet phases (e.g. 6 x EVSEs per infrastructure step).  

    It also has the advantage of managed load control and simple billing and cost recovery.  

    A suitable “EV charging backbone” includes: 

    • a feed from the main switchboard to one or more intermediate EV only distribution boards (or equivalent) 
    • a timer for load control and a meter to measure usage 
    • cable trays or busways to facilitate cabling to each the owners’ car space. 

    This equipment can be installed and maintained by your local electrician with little training. 

    Whole-of-building approach 

    This approach is best for large buildings or when you have (or expect) high demand and/or you wish to add value to your building by having the ability to install EV charging at every car space.  

    This future-proofs the building but can have a high upfront cost. It is important to ensure the owners corporation has sufficient funds to cover the costs. 

    Whole-of-building infrastructure installation is typically much lower cost in new builds compared to retrofits. Use the EV infrastructure cost estimator to get an indication of the overall costs. 

    Before moving ahead with the works, the strata committee will need to seek approval from the owners corporation. Strata then proceeds to install a comprehensive “EV charging backbone”. Owners then need to obtain individual approval to connect additional equipment to this common infrastructure.  

    Final-circuit EV supply equipment and connection costs are normally paid by the relevant owner or tenant. 

    This approach enables dedicated level 2 charging to all resident car spaces.  

    It also has the advantage of managed load control and typically has comprehensive billing and cost recovery (usually outsourced). 

    A suitable “comprehensive EV charging backbone” includes: 

    • a high-capacity feed from the main switchboard to one or more intermediate distribution panels 
    • installation of cable trays or busways to facilitate cabling to the owner’s car space. 
    • installation of load control, normally a demand management system. 
    • installation of detailed usage charging capability (billing services). 

    Normally it is installed and maintained by an EV charging operator. 

    Growth forecast and building sizes

    The EV Council forecasts 10% of new vehicle sales in NSW will be EVs by about 2030. This growth needs to be considered when selecting the right approach for your building.

    • Small buildings (up to 10 apartments) account for around 75% of apartment buildings. Based on an average of one EV per building, small buildings may favour an individual approach.
    • Medium buildings (11 to 100 apartments) account for around 24% of apartment buildings. Even for buildings with 100 apartments, one or 2 modules would support 12 EVs, which exceeds the estimated 10% take up over 10 years. If there are sufficient car park spaces, and the owners corporation is able to manage a scheduling system to control access to the charging stations, a common property approach may be suitable. Alternatively, a modular approach would allow EV charging to be provided to each car space.   
    • Large buildings (over 100 apartments) account for around 1% of apartment buildings. If there are sufficient car park spaces and the owners corporation is able to manage a scheduling system to control access a common property approach may be suitable. Alternatively, a whole of building approach will provide sufficient infrastructure to allow for EV charging to be provided to the owners’ car space as required; this is a long-term investment aimed at future-proofing the EV charging requirements.
    Step 4 - Evaluating payment options

    There are two types of EV charging costs that may be recovered in residential buildings: 

    • usage billing (kWh based) for electricity consumed 
    • cost recovery of strata-provided EV charging infrastructure 

    Each has its own set of financial options. Any option must be agreed between the owners corporation and owners, via a sustainability infrastructure resolution and be clearly stated in the EV charging by-law. 

    EV charging from the common property electricity supply is not considered to form a component of the minimum energy coverage for NABERS. This means it can be excluded from future ratings if a kWh meter is installed. The meter should be validated in accordance with the NABERS rules

    Usage billing options 

    No usage fee  

    • used when there may not be the ability to measure usage and/or it is not worth the cost of administering billing 
    • individual approach using a single power point, which is connected to common property power 
    • common property approach where the owners corporation decides to absorb the costs. 

    Flat fee  

    • often the calculation of a usage charge is difficult and may not involve a significant amount of money, so a flat fee, such as $1 per day, may be enough 
    • suitable for common property (depending on the number of requests to connect), individual and modular approaches 
    • may be easier than either providing a meter or reading the meter and calculating a kWh based fee. 

    Metered rate 

    • where usage meters are provided, you can calculate a usage charge based on a kWh rate 
    • suitable for modular and whole-of-building approaches 
    • provides fairly accurate figure for cost recovery 
    • meter needs to be read on an ongoing (usually quarterly) basis. 

    Use existing meter 

    • where the EV charging equipment is connected to the apartment’s existing meter, increased usage charges are included in existing billing 
    • suitable for any approach that uses existing meters. 

    Outsourced or ‘turnkey’

    • provided by EV operators for an ongoing subscription fee 
    • suitable for common property and whole-of-building approaches 
    • simple for the owners corporation as cost of billing can be incorporated into cost recovery of the EV infrastructure costs 
    • higher cost to owners corporation and owners. 

    Cost recovery of strata-provided infrastructure 

    No cost recovery – owners corporation decides EV charging is a service they will offer to increase the value of the building: 

    • owners corporation take on the full cost 
    • suitable for common property, modular or whole-of-building approaches 
    • simple model 
    • some owners may feel disadvantaged as strata fees going to a service they don’t use. 

    Full cost to owner – owners corporation agrees they will not incur any cost and the owners pay for everything: 

    • suitable if the decision is to take an individual approach 
    • no cost to owners corporation 
    • does not consider growth in EV charging in the building 
    • limits EV uptake. 

    Cost recovery – owners corporation pays for the design and initial installation of the EV charging infrastructure and recovers cost over time as users connect: 

    • suitable for common property, modular or whole-of-building approaches 
    • allows for a cost-effective way to future proof the building with users paying over time (owners corporation needs the financial ability to fund initially) 
    • potential tax implications of the owners corporation making a profit, so cost recovery must be limited to recovering costs only. 
    Step 5 - Plan approval processes and identify funding solution 

    By this stage, the owners corporation should have a good idea what residents’ intentions are, the timing, the approach they wish to adopt and an idea of the cost, cost recovery and billing options. 

    Approval 

    Refer to the information above on legislative requirements and the disclaimer below. 

    To assist we have created a suite of general information, templates and example motion and by-law documentation:

    Click below for more detailed documentation.

    Single-lot:

    Multi-lot:

    Generic:

    Owners corporation:

     

    Common property 

    Strata committee seeks approval from the owners corporation via a motion at the next general meeting for a sustainability infrastructure resolution and to make a by-law to approve:  

    • the installation of EV charging infrastructure and EV charging equipment at the desired car spaces 
    • cost recovery arrangements 
    • usage billing arrangements 
    • approved infrastructure spending  
    • operation and maintenance plan for the infrastructure 
    • outsourcing of any components as appropriate. 

    Note, if your scheme has a by-law assigning particular use of your common property car spaces, this may need to be rescinded or modified at the same time the EV by-law is presented for approval. 

    Use of existing circuits 

    Owner seeks approval from the owners corporation via a motion at the next general meeting for a sustainability infrastructure resolution and signs a consent form to make a by-law to approve:  

    • the re-use of existing circuits 
    • notes the EV charging types, energy usage, and the proposed times they intend on charging 
    • approval of the use of additional energy 
    • installation of any load management that may be required. 

    No existing EV charging infrastructure  

    Strata committee, on behalf of the owners corporation, seeks approval form the owners corporation via a motion at the next general meeting for a sustainability infrastructure resolution and to make a by-law to approve:  

    • installation of any load management that may be required 
    • any cost recovery arrangements 
    • any usage billing arrangement 
    • approval of expenditure. 

    Owner seeks approval from the owners corporation via a motion at the next general meeting for a sustainability infrastructure resolution and signs a consent form to make a by-law to approve:  

    • installation of the proposed EV charging infrastructure 
    • connection to that infrastructure 
    • operations and maintenance of the infrastructure and connection equipment 
    • acceptance of any agreed cost recovery and billing arrangements. 

    Modular and whole-of-building 

    Strata committee, on behalf of the owners corporation, seeks approval from the owners corporation via a motion at the next general meeting for a sustainability infrastructure resolution and to make a by-law to approve:  

    • installation of the proposed EV charging infrastructure 
    • cost recovery arrangements 
    • usage billing arrangement 
    • approval of expenditure 
    • operations and maintenance of the infrastructure 
    • outsourcing of any components as appropriate. 

    Owner seeks approval from the owners corporation via a motion at the next general meeting for a sustainability infrastructure resolution and signs a consent form to make a by-law to approve:  

    • connection to the EV charging infrastructure 
    • acceptance of the agreed cost recovery and billing arrangement. 

    Funding

    Depending on which option is selected, thought should be given as to how much should be spent from the capital works fund and when. Approval for EV charging spending should be approved as part of other budgets and capital works fund planning.   

    The below table provides a guide on these costs, but costs will vary depending on differences across buildings.

    Approach 

    Approximate Cost 

    Who pays 

    Result 

    Individual - no existing EV charging infrastructure 

    $2,000 to $5,000 

    Owner 

    Individual EV charging Infrastructure, EVSE and potential connection to their meter. 

    Individual - use existing circuits and meter 

    $2,000 to $5,000 

    Owner 

    Individual EVSE, Load control and/or interlock switch  

    Common property 

    $20,000 to $50,000 

    Owners Corporation 

    EV charging station and EV charging infrastructure 

    Modular 

    $5,000 to $7,000 

    Owners Corporation

    EV charging backbone

    Each EV readiness box (or equivalent), supports approx. 6 x EVSEs. 

    $2,000 to $3,000 

    Each owner when installing an EV charger 

    EVSE and connection to EV charging backbone. 

    Whole-of-building 

    $75,000 to $200,000 

    Owners Corporation 

    Comprehensive EV charging backbone. 

    $2,000 to $3,000 

    Each owner when installing an EV charger 

    EVSE and connection to EV charging backbone. 

     

    If a cost recovery option is selected, then you can plan for the expected period those costs will be recovered and set a charge so that the owners pay back the original outlay from the owners corporation over time.  

    Cost recovery for the modular approach may well pay for the next installation, depending on the recovery period and number of residents who connect. 

    At the next general meeting, include: 

    • a resolution to accept a Capital Works Fund Item for funding your EV charging strategy 
    • any necessary sustainability infrastructure resolution(s) and by-law(s). 

    How to manage the installation of EV chargers

    Stage 1: Finding the right EV supplier. 

    You should decide if you want to use an independent electrical contractor or a specialist EV charging operator. 

    Then if you want to manage the installation internally or outsource the installation to a consultant or turnkey provider. Research a range of EV suppliers – a good place to start is the list of providers on Transport for NSW. 

    Stage 2: Getting preliminary advice. 

    Consider examples from other buildings that have installed chargers. If your upgrade is large or complicated, engage a specialist independent EV charging consultant. 

    Stage 3: Seeking requests for proposals. 

    • Owners corporation: ask EV charging operators to provide detailed quotes based on written specifications 
    • Tenant or owner: contact several suppliers to provide you with quotes and solutions that will meet your charging needs. 

    Stage 4: Installation of the EV charging infrastructure. 

    • Owners corporation: once you have approval from the owners corporation, engage your selected supplier to install your selected infrastructure; engage your building manager about time frames to minimise any inconveniences for residents. 
    • Tenant or owner: once you have approval from the owners corporation, engage your selected supplier to install EV supply equipment; advise your building manager about time frames to minimise any inconveniences for other residents. 

    Templates, flyers and useful links

    Disclaimer

    The by-laws of a strata scheme and the process for varying those by-laws will vary from building to building. While the guidance material and example by-laws published here have been created with all due care, they are provided as general guidance and examples only and do not constitute legal or professional strata management advice and should not be relied upon as if they were. When seeking to amend strata by-laws you should obtain independent expert or legal advice before making any decision based on the published material. 

    To the extent permitted by law, the department provides no warranty and accepts no responsibility for the accuracy, currency or appropriateness of the guidance material or draft strata by-laws. DPIE will not accept liability for any loss, damage, cost or expense that you may incur as a result of the use of or reliance on the guidance material in any way.  

    If you have any questions or concerns about the guidance material published here please contact electric.vehicles@environment.nsw.gov.au.