This Southbank building future-proofed with EV charging, and how you can do the same.

Owners corporation managers are seeing increasing demand for retrofitting electric vehicle (EV) charging into apartment buildings. The Knight recently spoke with David Hamilton, an OC committee member at Triptych and EV charging solutions consultant. He graciously agreed to share with us his experiences with EV charging in strata.

The Knight: Starting with your Owners Corporation, Triptych, could you explain what drives your sustainability ethos?

David: Triptych was designed to be a building with extensive sustainability features incorporated into it from its conception in 2007, so it was ahead of the curve as far as Melbourne high-rise apartment developments back then, and even today.

Sustainability has been a key attraction for many owners and renters over its history but more so today with greater awareness of climate change and the need to transition to a low carbon economy. In a building where the ethos is sustainability, it is an easy step for people to understand the benefits of becoming EV ready. In fact, some of us started thinking about what would be needed as far back as 2016.

The Knight: What common pitfalls do you see other buildings fall into when looking into EV charging?

David: My experience talking with a number of owners and OC Committees is that retrofitting can be divisive because some owners and committee members do not subscribe to sustainability. This goes to deeper issues in society; we have not recognised the need to use resources efficiently and preserve the environment. But in strata, it is not a personal choice you can make like in a house. You need consensus leadership from the Committee that recognises people are living in a community which needs to embrace divergent views and constantly change and evolve.

Unfortunately, there are lots of myths and disinformation about EV charging and strata that confuse people. I am attempting to assist OC Committees on the journey to make their building EV ready by understanding just what is required and how it can be delivered in a low risk and simple fashion.

The Knight: How can we help facilitate the community wide decision to adopt EV charging?

David: OC Managers and committees need processes that bring people on the journey towards sustainability and avoid divisive debates. You need to recognise you are living in a community and there is a collective responsibility to improve the lot of all owners, rather than preserve the status quo or sectional interests.

OC Committees have a duty of care to all owners and to protect and preserve the common property in a way that enhances the value of all owners’ assets, especially their building’s image and individual apartment values.

A good starting point is to ask residents and owners their views and let them see what is possible. Engaging via surveys is great; not just about sustainability and EV but about important common property issues. Surveys educate people but more importantly, they show the committee is listening.  They also have the benefit of airing and addressing objections and revealing where the majority of residents stand on a topic.

The OC can then formulate a strategy around sustainability and not waste time on objections that are unsupported by the broader community.

The Knight: Are EV chargers really necessary? Why can’t buildings just use a general purpose outlet (GPO).

David: Plugging into GPOs can put the infrastructure at risk and become a safety issue due to the wiring standards, there is also a physical limit to the number of such installations that can occur, and it raises a raft of regulatory issues.  I help Committees understand these risks and their responsibilities in managing these risks. Plugging into GPOs is not a long-term solution, it is a stop gap for a couple of EV owners and does nothing for the total community. The role of an OC Committee is to develop interest of all owners not a few.

The Knight: What would you say to committees who want to wait and see if government subsidies will become available to install EV charging?

David:  We don’t know what any government is going to do. Retrofitting a strata building to allow for in-carpark charging is not simple or one size fits all.  Every building is different.  Committees should not use the possibility of a subsidy as a reason to delay. This is essentially leaving the problem for someone else to solve and ignores the responsibility they have to the collective community that is a Strata.

The Knight: What do you see as the future of EV charging in strata?

David: Soon, there will be two classes of buildings: those that have the facility and those that don’t. By the end of this decade, the bulk of new vehicle models available for purchase will be EV and strata buildings (including existing buildings) will have no choice but to adjust to that reality.

The National Construction Code is likely to be amended as early as 2023 requiring in-carpark EV charging infrastructure to be part of the base build.  Today’s Strata Committees should recognise the need to facilitate this now or face competition from new buildings and other developments which have made that move. Owners in those buildings will have a significant competitive advantage over buildings without EV charging.

Surveys I have run show that even owners who do not plan on owning an EV recognise this risk and are willing to support retrofitting so that the entire building is EV ready, and their apartment’s value is maintained to prospective purchasers.

The Knight: Do you have any final words on the work you do to help buildings with EV?

David: I want to help buildings get EV ready. It is too hard to work your way through it on your own. It’s not just a technical solution. It’s getting the commercials and legalities right as well and then it falls into place. I’ve stood in an OC committee member’s shoes, I’ve walked this road. I know what the pitfalls are and want to help them along it. The journey is simple, I’m just happy to be tour guide because EVs are here to stay.  There is no turning back.

David Hamilton works as an EV charging solutions consultant. You can find out more and contact him at

You can hear more from David about Triptych’s EV journey in our ‘Sustainable Strata’ webinar:

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This interview was first published by Southbank News >