Post-2003 refurbs and new-builds may still contain asbestos

27/03/2019
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Most homeowners and premises managers will be aware that asbestos has not been used in domestic building materials since the 1980s. In addition, the 2003 asbestos ban would theoretically mean that any alterations or building carried out after this time would be free of asbestos-containing materials. Unfortunately, this may not always be the case. There are several sets of circumstances in which asbestos might have been inadvertently introduced into a modern property. We consider the main ways that this might occur, as well as what to do if you suspect that asbestos removal may be required.

Imported building materials

Although Australian-made plasterboard, insulating material and similar products are asbestos free, other countries which manufacture these materials still may include asbestos in their composition. Although the authorities exercise vigilance in preventing the import of asbestos-containing materials, some still slip through the net. They may be unwittingly sold in Australian stores, exposing buyers to the potential risks of asbestos.

Stored materials

Nobody likes to spend more than they have to on materials. Although modern materials don’t contain asbestos, it’s perfectly possible that older materials which have been in storage may do so. If a remodelling project has been completed using older products, there is a risk of contamination, even if the work was carried out recently.

Disturbing older material in order to repair or update fixtures or fittings

Although left undisturbed an asbestos-containing product in good condition presents little risk, there’s always the possibility that an upgrade or refurbishment project on an older property could result in asbestos being exposed. Rewiring, roof replacement or boiler removal are just some of the areas where asbestos could be lurking.

Luckily, there are several simple measures you can take to reduce the risk of either exposing asbestos or of unknowingly using asbestos containing materials:

– Check your supplier – if in doubt, buy Australian made building supplies.
– Use new materials that you can trust.
– Commission an asbestos inspection before remodelling. If it’s contained in any of the areas that may be disturbed during your project, get in touch with us to arrange professional asbestos removal.

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