How to manage your asbestos issue
You’re finally ready to start planning your development or renovation project, but you know the building inspector mentioned there was some asbestos somewhere. What’s your first step?
What’s all the fuss (fuzz : – ))
Asbestos is a naturally-occurring fibrous silicate mineral. It was considered a versatile product, because it is able to withstand heat, erosion and decay and has fire and water resistant properties. Asbestos is a naturally-occurring fibrous silicate mineral. It was considered a versatile product, because it is able to withstand heat, erosion and decay and has fire and water resistant properties.
It becomes a health risk when asbestos fibres are released into the air and breathed in. Asbestos building materials are described as either ‘non-friable’ or ‘friable’.
Non-friable asbestos is any material (other than friable asbestos) that contains asbestos. Non- friable asbestos cannot be crumbled, pulverised or reduced to a powder by hand pressure when dry. Common uses for non-friable asbestos in buildings include flat (fibro), corrugated or compressed asbestos cement sheets; water, drainage and flue pipes; and floor tiles.
If fire, hail, or direct activities such as water blasting and drilling damages bonded asbestos, it may become friable asbestos material.
Friable asbestos material is any material that contains asbestos and is in the form of a powder or can be crumbled, pulverised or reduced to powder by hand pressure when dry. Friable asbestos was not commonly used in residential properties. It was mainly used in industrial applications such as pipe lagging, sprayed limpet and asbestos cloth and rope.
Friable asbestos can only be removed by a licenced asbestos removalist with a friable asbestos licence.
Know asbestos health risks and safety requirements
If you need to – or have decided to – remove any asbestos from your property, make sure you’re aware of how it should be handled. Although some people can follow the regulations and safety requirements to remove small amounts of asbestos themselves, you should ideally retain a licenced asbestos removal professional who is equipped to protect you and your family from the dangers of asbestos dust.
Loose-fill asbestos found in homes in NSW and the ACT
Loose-fill asbestos was sold as ceiling insulation. In the 1960s and 1970s, for residential and commercial premises mainly by one company trading in the ACT as Mr Fluffy. Most properties impacted are located in the ACT, however a small number of properties in south east NSW have also been identified as containing this type of insulation.
- In Australia, a complete ban of asbestos and its products became effective in 2003.
- Most people can’t tell whether building materials contain asbestos just by looking at them. Only scientific testing of a sample of material by an accredited National Association of Testing Authorities (NATA) asbestos testing laboratory can confirm the presence of asbestos. For a NATA Lab List call 1800 621 666 or refer to their website at nata.com.au. When searching for an asbestos testing facility use a capital A in Asbestos.
- When working in and around the home or renovating, if in doubt, assume you are dealing with asbestos and take every precaution
- The safest way to manage the removal of asbestos is to hire a licenced asbestos removal contractor
- Where asbestos fibres are friable (loose and not bonded into building materials), only licenced friable asbestos removalists are allowed to remove it
- If you do need to work with any material that may contain asbestos, ensure you take all the necessary precautions to protect yourself and minimise the release of dust or small particles from the asbestos materials that may affect others including children
Find out more about managing asbestos
- Asbestos Management & Removal in the Home
- Asbestos Disposal
- SafeWork NSW Asbestos and Demolition Licence Holder Search Facility
- Asbestos – A guide for householders and the general public
- Hotline: 1800 Asbestos (1800 272 378) provides free advice and guidance on asbestos-related issues in NSW and is operated by the SafeWork NSW Customer Contact Centre.
- For information on loose-fill asbestos ceiling insulation material installed by Mr Fluffy during the 1960s and 1970s please contact Service NSW on 13 77 88 or visit Loose-Fill Asbestos Insulation Taskforce.
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Crave Property Advisory is a unique property strategy and buyers agent service. As the only independent and unbiased advisory that can help you use any property strategy Australia-wide, Crave’s services extend to home, investment and commercial property. A highly client focused organization, Crave developed the Modular Investing System (MI System) to provide clients with the ability to use a tailored mix of strategies and efficiently build profitable portfolios that create lifetime income.
Debra Beck-Mewing is the CEO of Crave Property Advisory, and has more than 20 years’ experience in property investing, Australia-wide. She has used a range of strategies to build her property portfolio including renovating, granny flats, sub-division and development. Debra is skilled in identifying development opportunities, and sourcing properties that have multiple uses and multiple exit strategies. She is a Qualified Property Investment Advisor, licensed real estate agent and also holds a Bachelor of Commerce and Master of Business.
Disclaimer – This information is of a general nature only and does not constitute professional advice. We strongly recommend you seek your own professional advice in relation to your particular circumstances.