testing & Surveying
Asbestos was commonly used to make a range of products in housing in the early 1940's through to the 1990's this includes any renovations or new builds during this time. After the 2000's products containing asbestos were still being imported in New Zealand until 2016. Asbestos is considered a risk to workers on domolition sites but it can also affect people doing simple renovation work on properties.
Conducting work on a structure built between 1940 and 2000?
If you are planning to complete work on a property built or renovated between 1940 to 2000's, then it may be a good time to consider the presence of asbestos. Knowing the risks and procedures when working on a site that contains asbestos will protect your health and those working onsite, as well as achieving compliance with the Health and Safety at Work (Asbestos NZ) Regulations 2016.
If you are completing the work on your own home then there is no regulations around surveying the home before you start work. However the health risks involved with Asbestos should be seriously considered. If your property has asbestos then MethSafe recommend contacting a specialist to remove it. This is because, if it is not done correctly then the risk is spreading the fibres through your entire home which can be inhaled by future occupants. There are also strict recommendations on how to dispose of asbestos and an expert will follow these. If you are not sure where to begin or even how, book in an Asbestos nz test with MethSafe today.
If you are working on a work site then the regulations directly apply to you. An Asbestos Management Survey will identify where asbestos is (as far as practicable) and what actions are to be taken whist working on the dwelling, will need to be completed before work commences. It is also mandatory to have an Asbestos Register for the workplace to provide to any parties entering the property.
Investment properties are required to follow the Health and Safety at Work (Asbestos) Regulations 2016. This is because you become a PCBU (person Conducting Business or Undertaking) and are responsible for anyone entering the property. Therefore when you are wanting to have renovations or repair completed, you must have a register of the building materials and whether they contain asbestos or not. If a tenant has damaged your property or the materials have degraded, asbestos may be disrupted and the dwelling may become dangerous for you and your tenant. Make sure you complete an Asbestos Management Plan with MethSafe.
Demolition and house removal companies
When working on a dwelling you become a PCBU (Person Conducting Business or Undertaking) therefore you are responsible for the Health and Safety of anyone coming onto the work site. It is also your responsibility to ensure that the survey's instructions are followed to minimise the risk of disturbing asbestos. If you do not have a Certified Asbestos Surveyor, you should get one in to help you manage the risk that asbestos presents. (If the dwelling you are working on has asbestos you will need workers with either class A or class B removal licence.)
For more information: Work Safe - Asbestos
Contact us to get an Independent Asbestos Survey
Why is asbestos dangerous?
Asbestos in NZ is the number one killer in the workplace today, that is because the workers are only starting to see the effects of working with asbestos, which can take 20 years for symptoms to be known.
Asbestos is extremely harmful when precautions have not be taken to prevent exposure. Asbestos becomes dangerous when the products are disturbed and very small fibres are released into the air. When it becomes airborne, it is extremely dangerous to inhale. When inhaled the fine fibres enter the lungs and are difficult to be removed, causing serious health risks.
The health risks increase when; People inhale more fibres, exposure is more frequent and exposure occurs over a long period of time.
The health risk include:
Asbestosis disease (scarring of the lung tissue)
Pleural Plaques (Thickening of the membranes around the lungs which may lead to further disease.)
Mesothelioma (malignant cancers developing around the linings of either the chest or the abdominal cavities)
A good rule of thumb with asbestos is that if the materials are in good condition; have not been wet, disturbed, damaged, or degrading they will not release asbestos fibres and therefore constitute a health risk. Once the material is disrupted then the danger of releasing fine fibres into the air increases.
There are three main kinds of asbestos
White asbestos (Chrysotile) - from the serpentine group of asbestos. It has curly, long fibres which are flexible enough to spin into fabrics. It is the most common type of asbestos in building products.
Brown asbestos (Amosite) - from the amphibole group of asbestos. It has harsh, spiky fibres that were mostly used insulation boards, ceiling tiles and thermal insulation.
Blue asbestos (Crocidolite) - from the Amphibole group of asbestos. It has straight, thin and blue fibres and known for its excellent heat resistance and ability to repel water. It is also know as the most dangerous asbestos, being that the fibres a smaller and easier to inhale as well as the building products being brittle that have the potencial to malfunction.
What does Asbestos look like?
Where are you likely to find asbestos in the home
Asbestos in NZ was used until the late 90's, some products can be easily spotted whereas others may be difficult to determine without an experienced eye.
The areas you may find asbestos are:
Roof sheeting, floor ventilators, skylights and manhole frames
Door and window mouldings, exterior louvres blades, side flashing, and cement down pipes
Exterior wall sheets and cement cladding
Interior wall sheets, soffits, baseboards and shingles
Lino, flooring tiles and and adhesives
Insulation around pipes, lagging and water tanks