Asbestos Analytical & Environmental Consulting
enquiries@fibres.co.nz 04 566 3311

Asbestos in the Home

If you are thinking about starting repairs, maintenance or renovations and your home is pre 2000 you should consider that there may be asbestos in some of the building products you are may be removing. What does it look like? Not all asbestos looks like fluffy insulation or textured ceilings. Asbestos was commonly mixed with other building products meaning it may be present in other building materials, flooring for example. Some products are not a significant risk when they are intact and sealed, however there is a risk that fibres will be released to the air if cutting, scrapping, sawing, stripping and removing materials. Asbestos fibres are a well known health hazard.

Asbestos containing materials or ACM's come in all shapes, sizes and colours. There are three main types — blue, brown and white asbestos, and all were used in many building products. Asbestos was often mixed with other materials so in many cases it is almost impossible to identify by eye whether or not it is present in suspect materials. The only way to be certain if your home contains asbestos is to have materials sampled and tested in an accredited laboratory.  If you are engaging builders and other tradesmen your home becomes a workplace, an asbestos management plan, ideally containing an asbestos register should be provided, your tradesmen may ask you for an asbestos survey or as at least evidence that materials have been tested. You should consider having an asbestos survey completed. We can assist.

With the changes to the New Zealand legislation that occured 4th April 2016, new Asbestos Regulations were implemented under the ‘Health and Safety at Work Act 2015. These regulations place a duty under Regulation 11 Duty to Analyse Samples to use an IANZ accredited laboratory to undertake asbestos sample testing. Capital Environmental Services (CES) is an IANZ accredited laboratory that has been accredited since 1996.

You can take your own samples - Learn how to take a sample here. Or if you are uncertain or unsure please contact us, and we can come and take a sample for you. The most important risk you should think about is that by disturbing the material to remove a piece for testing, you could be releasing asbestos fibres into the air. If you need assistance, need a survey carried out or a management plan, please send us an email for advice. We will give you call back to discuss or arrange a vist.

If you have a removal company carrying out removal works for you, CES can carry out your monitoring and clearance requirements. You should make decisions about the monitoring and testing requirement that should be carried out. They should be carried out by someone independent of the removal company, we can assist. Your removal company should have advised you about what you will need for clearance works, complete the request below and we can provide services and information you will need.

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Asbestos Information Packs

Click on the titles below to view and download some really good information for homeowners and members of the public. These links and publications are prepared by third parties, if you have any queries please contact us or the authors. 

In recent times earthquakes have resulted in an increasing awareness of asbestos throughout New Zealand. A lot of demolition, repair and strengthening is being carried out and CES believes everyone should have access to information and services that encourage the protection of public health.

We encourage homeowners to take the time and read some of the information on our website, and let us know if theres something missing, or give us a call if you have queries.

 

What to do if asbestos is identified?

Some asbestos materials can be simply identified and left in place if they are in a stable condition and/or “encapsulated”. Other asbestos will need to be professionally removed. It’s important to get the asbestos material assessed, then you can decide how to manage it. An asbestos surveyor will be able to carry out a survey for you.

Then what to do?

Leave asbestos in place

If the asbestos is on good condition and not likely to be disturbed it can often be left where it is, it should still be regularily looked at to see if the condition hs changed.

Encapsulation

Another option is to safely encapsulate it. Enclose it, paint it, seal it, box around it for example. 

Removal

If the condition is poor, the only way to remove the risk is to remove it the damaged asbestos containing material. You shoudl proabbly consider removing it if the area is used alot or the material is going to be disturbed.

If you are not sure you should seek advice from specialist asbestos laboratories, or removal companies. Its important to be satisfied that the material is safe. The resources panel above has some information which may assist.

What If It Has Been Disturbed?

If the asbestos has been disturbed, two risk factors to consider are the dosage and the length of exposure. Try not to Panic. Close up the area or isolate if you are not sure,  then contact someone who can assess the situation.