As a sweltering Australian summer approaches you might be considering installing an air-conditioner to dial down the temperature of your unit. But before you go seeking out the best brands and installation options, there are a couple of things to consider. Here are four factors to think of when installing air-conditioning in your unit.


Any fixed air conditioner is going to require a compressor and pipes to be fitted to the exterior of your building, which means you will need permission from the body corporate before you go ahead.

The best time to talk to your body corporate is before you even examine air-conditioning options as they may have guidelines for whether they allow air-conditioners to be fitted and, if so, what type, where and by whom.

These guidelines will generally fall under your body corporate by-laws, and if you don’t adhere to their requirements you may be forced to remove your air-conditioner and pay for any damage caused by installation, so it pays to touch base about your plans first.

Depending on the total cost of the installation you may have to wait for approval at a general meeting, which would most often be the next AGM. If your AGM has just passed that means you could be waiting another 12 months before you have the necessary permission to go ahead and install your air conditioner. Talk to your body corporate manager as soon as you decide that you want to install an air conditioner.

The look

Regardless of whether you’re in a high-rise building, townhouses that sit side-by-side or a low rise apartment block, your air-conditioner will require an exterior unit to be fitted somewhere.

This means you need to consider the look, and the body corporate will require input into where that unit will be located. Some will allow air-con compressors on the balcony, some may not. You may have to go to the expense of fitting the exterior unit on the roof of the building, or have it attached at height to the rear wall.

You may also have to ensure the unit is a certain size or look to guarantee uniformity on the building’s exterior, and carefully consider exactly where any pipes will be located. All these factors may incur extra expense that you should investigate early.

The noise

Compressors make noise, some more than others, and this will need to be factored in for the comfort of other unit holders. This will also affect the type of air-conditioner you should be considering and where it needs to be positioned.

Installation access

Once you’ve obtained body corporate permission, ascertained the best position and selected your air-conditioning unit, you will need to think about access. Chances are your installer will need to use common property or other people’s property to access the installation site for your air-conditioner, and you will need to notify those unit holders and seek permission first.

That notice may need to be a prescribed period in advance, such as 14 days prior. You will also need to let them know how long works will take, and the type of impact they will have.

The final word

It’s worth remembering that while it’s your unit, any improvements that alter the exterior impact other investors. So talk to your body corporate about plans such as installing air-conditioning to ensure the best outcome for all involved.