Abestos

With asbestos you can never be to careful, so if your after an expert then we are the company for you. We will make sure this is all done with 100% safety and with minimal hassle

With asbestos you can never be to careful, so if your after an expert then we are the company for you. We will make sure this is all done with 100% safety and with minimal hassle

What is Asbestos?

Asbestos is a mineral which has been widely mined and processed throughout the world. It is a natural fibre that comes in three basic forms: white (chrysotile), blue (crocidolite) and brown (amosite). Asbestos was exploited commercially for their desirable physical properties. They all have in common their asbestiform habit, long, (1:20) thin fibrous crystals. The most commonly found building materials that contain asbestos are asbestos cement products. The use of all forms of asbestos has been banned nationally since 31 December 2003.

If your Building was built or renovated Pre 1990 then its likely to contain asbestos in some form.

Removal of Asbestos

Asbestos is a mineral which has been widely mined and processed throughout the world. It is a natural fibre that comes in three basic forms: white (chrysotile), blue (crocidolite) and brown (amosite). Asbestos was exploited commercially for their desirable physical properties. They all have in common their asbestiform habit, long, (1:20) thin fibrous crystals. The most commonly found building materials that contain asbestos are asbestos cement products. The use of all forms of asbestos has been banned nationally since 31 December 2003.

If your Building was built or renovated Pre 1990 then its likely to contain asbestos in some form.

Legal Responsibilities for Owner/Controller of Premises

Who is classified as the controller of the premises?

As per the Code of Practice for the Management and Control of Asbestos in Workplaces [NOHSC:2002(2005)], the “person with control” may be:

  • The owner of the premises

  • A person who has under any contract or lease an obligation to maintain or repair the premises

  • A person who is occupying the premises

  • A person who is able to make decisions about work undertaken at the premises

  • An employer at the premises

Persons with control of premises have a duty of care to:

  • Develop, implement and maintain an asbestos management plan

  • Investigate the premises for the presence or possible presence of asbestos containing material

  • Develop and maintain a register of the identified or presumed asbestos containing material, including details on their locations, accessibility, condition, risk assessments and control measures.

  • Develop measures to remove the asbestos containing materials or otherwise to minimize the risks and prevent exposure to asbestos

  • Ensure the control measures are implemented as soon as possible and are maintained as long as the asbestos containing materials remain in the workplace.

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Dangers of Asbestos in your Roof

Asbestos is an extremely hazardous material that poses risk to health by inhalation when the fibres become airborne and are subsequently inhaled. Asbestos is made up of very fine fibres, but the most dangerous are those naked to the eye, yet penetrate the deepest areas of the lungs.

Exposure to asbestos fibres is known to cause Mesothelioma – a deadly disease caused by inhaling the particles of dust as the asbestos degrades; eating away at the lining of the lungs and developing into a deadly cancer. It is known to cause diseases such as asbestosis, lung cancer, pleural plaques, and pleural thickening.

For More information on Mesothelioma contact the Asbestos Foundation at : http://adfa.org.au/

Donate now to ADFA http://adfa.org.au/services/how-can-you-help/

What does Asbestos Look like?

Asbestos can be difficult to identify visually. Sometimes the only way to be sure is to get the material tested. If you are uncertain then treat the item as contaminated.
There are two classes of asbestos types:

  • Friable or loosely bound asbestos materials are not commonly found in residential properties and were primarily used in commercial and industrial settings for fire proofing, sound proofing and insulation. Asbestos is classified as any material found under ground level, as well as a few older forms of insulation used in domestic heaters and stoves and in ceiling insulation products. Ceiling insulation containing asbestos was generally used in commercial buildings.
  •  Bonded Asbestos is a fibre-cement product. The asbestos in firmly embedded in a hardened matrix. The bonded sheets are flat, corrugated or circular tubes.

Commonly Used Asbestos Materials

The following list are common areas where asbestos is likely to found in buildings. This is by no means a definitive list of products as there are over 3,000 products that asbestos was used in.

The only way to determine if asbestos is present is to have an asbestos consultant to inspect and collect a sample for asbestos testing.

Asbestos can be located within the duct work of Air Conditioning re-heating units. This is more specifically located around heating elements.

Asbestos was carried in hessian bags from Wittenoon in Western Australia which was then subsequently used in some carpet underlay. Also asbestos was used in the adhesive to glue down the carpet underlay which is usually a black bitumous material.

Asbestos ceilings can be found in many forms which include asbestos fibre cement sheet (fibro), vermiculite spray applied ceilings. The vermiculate look like popcorn and many of you might remember your old high school science lab with this material. Asbestos ceiling tiles are also commonly used.

Cloth linings can be found around material that may require thermal insulation such as a fire cabinet and around flues. Fire blankets can also be made of asbestos.

Closets may be lined with asbestos to increase the fire resistance. This may be in the form of mainly fibre cement sheeting (fibro), softer insulation board and sometimes millboard to ceiling linings.

Asbestos cowls to flue pipes may contain asbestos cement.

Metal ductwork as well as containing millboard to the reheating elements may contain asbestos to the gasket material lining the flange joints to provide an airtight seal. The asbestos was introduced to hinder the spread of flame within ductwork.

The majority of eaves to all buildings built before 1990 will have asbestos. This is one of the most commonly tested material for asbestos. Typical asbestos eaves which are made of asbestos fibre cement sheeting otherwise known as fibro.

Fibre cement sheet is the most prominent and common form of asbestos that people recognise as being potentially hazardous. True fibre cement sheet is a very hard material. Caution should be applied in determining whether the sheet material is cement or insulating board. insulating board is a softer material and releases fibres much more readily than the stronger cement counterpart. A good indication of true asbestos cement is a golf ball or dimpled pattern on the back of the sheet. Asbestos insulating board will generally have a smoother finish to the back.

These are also commonly found asbestos containing materials which are of a resin or bitumous type material. One distinct sign (by no means definitive) is a strong smell of bitumen or tar, the smell of newly made road. While these are fairly stable composite materials, there is usually asbestos dust within the fuse box due to electricians drilling holes into the board.

Asbestos fire damage is caused as a result of exposure to temperatures of about 1000 ºC where the effects of charring, spalling, loss of structural strength, etc to the asbestos materials is observed. The major issue with asbestos fires is the debris left behind which can be very fine pieces and/or bundles of asbestos fibres which can be spread to a large area as a result of spalling. Asbestos contamination can be found within ash and dust after and during an asbestos fire.

Fire doors can comprise of friable asbestos core material within the door which can be released into the air when fixing door handles, locks and hinges. When observed from the top of most fire doors the core is visible, being a white millboard material. Other fire doors can have fibre cement sheet lining the inside of the fire door. 

There are many different types of flooring material that contain asbestos. The most common are fibre cement sheet and vinyl sheet or tiles. In many cases the floor may be hidden by carpet and tiles. A pre-demolition survey is required to identify these materials within the house.

Flue pipes which exhaust hot air from boilers and heater may contain gaskets and pipes containing both stable bonded asbestos such as cement pipes or friable rope gaskets to flange joints and plates.

The pitched side of the roof otherwise known as gables can contain corrugated moulded asbestos products and flat asbestos cement sheet.

External garages can contain asbestos cement walls, eaves and corrugated asbestos roofs. Newer garages that are part of the house can have asbestos sheet or fibro to assist in hindering the spread of fire, if a fire were to start in the garage.

Asbestos gaskets are used in applications such as hot water pipes, exhausts and boilers. Gasket material is generally friable.

Insulating board is considered to be friable as the material can liberate asbestos fibres into the air much more easy than asbestos cement. In many cases most asbestos consultants will assess insulating board as a cement product, however asbestos insulating board is a much lower density than cement. Ensure that your asbestos inspector is NATA accredited or a certified occupational hygienist.

Asbestos insulation was used in ceiling and roof cavities, with hundreds of homes in the ACT and Canberra . Limpet spray applied thermal insulation was used to fire proof structural beams to buildings. This material is friable and an extremely high risk of exposure if disturbed.

Laundries are one of the wet areas that commonly have asbestos cement sheet and asbestos insulating board lining to walls and ceilings. Vinyl tiles and cement sheets to the floors were also used. Due to water and electricity in close proximity, asbestos lined finishes will assist to reduce the spread of flame.

The brakes to lifts will generally contain asbestos to assist in reducing heat and thereby brake fade. Most brakes produced up until about 2004 contained asbestos.

Asbestos mastic sealant is used for a wide variety of purposes from joining flange joints to ductwork to pointing material to stone and bricks, and movement joints. The likelihood of the mastic containing asbestos is increased with areas that may be subjected to fire or that may assist the structural integrity during a fire.

Movement joints to buildings can contain asbestos. These may be vertical movement joints or between concrete floor slabs. The asbestos being in a composite form is generally stable unless they have become brittle through heat. The movement joints may be generally an asbestos flexible sealant type material or a bitumous asbestos material.

Asbestos fibre cement sheet and asbestos insulating board was used to pack and jack things to the right height or place. Packing supports were widely used under pylons to house supports and used in random places such as around the pipes and in brickwork. Asbestos packing material has been found on door frames. There seems to be no limit to where asbestos sheet was used.

These materials have loose friable asbestos within fabric used to pack penetration through walls, ceilings, pipes and around cables. This is to maintain the fire resistance of walls where services are required.

Asbestos pipes may include downpipes, asbestos cement water pipes underground, asbestos cement flues for transporting hot air from boilers. They are generally made of asbestos cement, providing a hard wearing product.

Asbestos roofs are generally made of a corrugated moulded product that is generally fairly stable material. Being a brittle roof there are other significant issues which include the potential of falling through by walking on them.

Roof membranes are generally a bituminous material. They can reside at the top of the roof or underneath roof tiles in a sheet material. They are usually a black colour and the asbestos fibres can generally be seen with the naked eye.

Many people are unaware that asbestos can reside even under the kitchen sink. The square pad under the sink or bitumous spray applied coating may be made of asbestos.

Asbestos soil can be found due to old buildings and materials that have contaminated the soil. The level of risk is dependent on the type of asbestos contamination. Asbestos cement is generally bonded and maintains structural integrity compared to asbestos lagging materials that may disperse individual fibres into the air at high concentrations

Spandrel panels are the panels that are found below the windows to buildings. Asbestos spandrel panels can be of fibre cement sheet, 20 mm asbestos cement sheet or asbestos insulating board that is sandwiched between metal panels.

Most of the old telephone pits contain asbestos as a bonded moulded product and can be seen in most streets in Australia.

Toilet cisterns can comprise of asbestos moulded products either above the toilet or behind walls in cavities whilst toilet cubicle partitions can commonly comprise of 20mm thick compressed asbestos cement sheet.

Friable asbestos can be found within the insulation of valves to hot water pipes and gaskets to flanges of valves and pipes.

Asbestos cement ventilation ducts are common on older buildings with basements, laundries and cellars below ground to increase the ventilation. These unsuspecting items may contain asbestos.

Asbestos vinyl tiles commonly contain asbestos. The asbestos tiles are nominally 9 inches square. Vinyl sheet can also contain asbestos as well as the bitumous adhesive used to glue the asbestos vinyl sheet and asbestos vinyl tiles down.

Asbestos cement sheet and asbestos insulating board are used throughout buildings to increase the fire rating to hinder the spread of fire.

Window putty can contain asbestos of different types which may include a stable composite putty within old timber window frames or rope type friable window gaskets to Georgian wire frame windows. The uses of asbestos within the putty assists the fire resistance, increasing the structural integrity of the window during a fire.