In Queensland most multi-unit premises built before 1 January 2008 (and pre-2014 in New South Wales) have only one water meter to service and measure water usage for the entire complex.
Each unit or apartment is then billed according to the contribution schedule lot entitlements (CSLE) within the scheme, resulting in owners or their tenants paying an equal portion of the total bill, irrespective of how large the premises, how many occupants work or live within it, or how much water is consumed.
For Body Corporates wishing to install individual water meters (known as sub-meters) for each lot, there are two options:
The feasibility of each option is highly dependent on the plumbing infrastructure in place, including the location of the isolator valve for each unit. A licenced plumber is the best person to advise and quote on all available options.
Given the accessibility requirements for sub-meter reading by water providers or their agents, retrofitting these sub-meters may be impractical or prohibitively expensive. For example, if you have a stop tap that is located within your unit or lot, ordinarily you would need to reroute plumbing to locate the stop tap and meter in an approved location on common property.
Where the installation of council meters is not feasible, private metering may present an affordable and effective alternative.
As private sub-meters are not used for direct billing by water authorities, it is not necessary for them to conform to their Metering Technical Specifications. However, the sub-maters are required to have WaterMark certification and to be Pattern Approved for billing purposes by the NMI. They must also be installed by a licenced plumber in accordance with AS3500 and the PCA (Plumbing Code of Australia).
Private metering does not interfere with your council or water service provider’s reading of the main meter. Service Charges continue to be invoiced to the individual unit owner by their Council or water provider with any applicable subsidy or concession still applied to the individual’s account.
If your scheme is not already bulk billed, your body corporate enters into a new billing agreement with your council or local water service provider to issue a quarterly bulk bill for the total water usage of the complex. This is sometimes referred to as a Body Corporate All Consumption (BCAC) arrangement. Private sub-meter readings are then used by a third-party billing agent, such as Fair Water Bills, to invoice individual unit owners Water Usage Charges according to their measured water consumption.
If you are interested in finding out more about individual water meters for units/apartments, please contact the Fair Water Meters team.
*Please note that from 1st January 2008, individual meters (sub-metering) became mandatory for all new schemes in Queensland.
City of Gold Coast – Water Sub-Metering and Billing Arrangements For Community Titles Schemes Policy
“We own a flat in an older building and rent it out. Every owner is responsible for paying a portion of the water bill. It was surprising to find out that another unit, which was rented out, was actually operating a commercial laundry! We swapped to Fair Water Meters and our tenant is so grateful … we passed on the savings by reducing his rent as it was the right thing to do.”
“Sharing the bill when dining out can be fraught with danger. Sharing your water bill with your fellow apartment residents can be positively expensive! After switching to Fair Water Meters we discovered that one our fellow residents was running a day spa business from their apartment and we were subsidising them!”.
“We had a slow leak we didn’t know about in one of our units. It must have been there for years until Fair Water Meters were installed – their smart meters detected the leak in the first month and they texted us with the alert. Already they’re saving us money.”