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The two owners on the top floor of an old block of 6 have installed ducted air conditioning in the roof space above a fire rated ceiling. ( double layer gyprock rated to resist fire for one hour ). There is no party wall in the roof space which is common to both units.
The air conditioning is unapproved, no bylaw registered, although the body corporate has allowed them to exist, and won’t take action to compel them to indemnify the owners.
To make matters worse, it would seem that they have compromised the integrity of the fire retardant ceiling by cutting holes in it for air outlets or diffusers. They have refused to provide any information as to whether they have taken any steps to prevent the spread of fire into the roof space via the unprotected diffusers. After enquiries from fire officers it would seem that what is needed are fire dampers to maintain the integrity of the ceiling.
To make matters even more worse, the owners corporation voted at a general meeting against allowing even an inspection of the installation in the common property to see if there was a fire safety issue.
As an individual owner I am therefore forced to pursue this matter through mediation and possibly NCAT.
What I would like to know is 1. Can I arrange my own inspection at my cost and hope to get an order against the BC for my expenses if it proceeds to the tribunal?
2. Would it be unusual to get an order for the 2 owners to pay for use of the common property, if the BC does not support such a payment?
3. Is it a valid argument for the owners to say in this case that they want their installations to come under a blanket or generic bylaw applying to all renovations in the block? I tend to think that major renovations like these are in a different level of seriousness than renovations contained within the lot .
4. Can the tribunal take action against the BC for negligence on the two counts of failing to protect all owners from incurring future expenses for maintenance etc of the illegal installations and also failure to maintain the buildings fire safety?
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