Strata Management Group

Cleaning Ventilation Ducts Within a Building Format Plan

There is sometimes confusion within community titles schemes about responsibility for the maintenance of exhaust ventilation systems within buildings. If the vents are not maintained regularly, they may cause a fire or health risk, so it is important that regular inspections are conducted. Ducting often weaves throughout a building and up to the roof and usually the only evidence of the ducting for owners is the presence of ventilation outlets within their unit in places such as toilets, bathrooms and laundry areas.


An owner of a lot has noticed an accumulation of dust dropping from a vent located inside the ceiling. The vent is attached to a ventilation system that interconnects throughout the whole building. When they remove the cover, they can barely see through the vent because the build-up of dust is so thick.

Owner actions

An owner may want to notify the body corporate to advise that the ventilation system needs maintenance due to the high risk of a fire. Generally, ventilation systems are located outside the boundaries of a lot and accordingly are the body corporate’s responsibility to maintain. The owner should not alter the location of the exhaust ventilation systems outlets without professional advice or body corporate approval.

Body corporate actions

The body corporate may want to obtain quotes to have the ventilation system cleaned. If the costs of the quotes are more than the committee spending limit, the motion would need to be considered at a general meeting of the body corporate. The body corporate might consider checking with other owners to ascertain if they are experiencing the same issues and have the whole system cleaned at the same time.

The body corporate needs to consider any fire risks associated with blocked ventilation systems as any damage to the lot caused by the body corporate not fulfilling its maintenance obligations under the Act may result in further liability to the body corporate and possible fines under other legislation due to not having adequate safety measures in place.

This article provides information about some of the common issues that can arise in relation to utility infrastructure. Having enough information to understand responsibilities for maintenance and ownership of the utility infrastructure means that the owners and committees will be able to make decisions, rectify damage without too much delay and ensure that the repair of utility infrastructure occurs as required.

Information shared with approval from the team at SafeAir