Asbestos Removal

 

Safety Alert | 11/08/2015

This safety alert provides advice on building products that have been imported and found to contain asbestos.

ASBESTOS IN IMPORTED BUILDING PRODUCTS

 

BACKGROUND

A prohibition notice has been issued to a building site in Sydney, following the discovery of asbestos in fibrous building panels imported to construct a residential building.

The panels were imported from China and were thought to be asbestos-free, but subsequent testing by the National Association of Testing Authorities (NATA) has shown they contain chrysotile asbestos.

The expanded polystyrene (EPS) panels have been cut, and therefore significantly damaged on-site, with the builder ordered to engage a licensed asbestos removalist to remediate the site and remove the remaining panels.

Imported wall panels containing asbestos
Figure 1: Imported wall panels containing asbestos

While asbestos has been a prohibited product in Australia since December 2003, in many countries it is still used in manufactured products. Certification provided to importers from overseas manufacturers that goods are asbestos-free have sometimes found to be wrong for the purposes of our regulations.

Local standards in some supplier countries may classify goods ‘asbestos free’ where they meet a certain low level of asbestos content. In Australia, a product found with any level of asbestos is prohibited for import or use.

Importers should be aware of the varying definitions and standards applied in the country of origin and/or supply. Australian regulations apply at the border.

The importer must ensure they do not import asbestos into Australia. They should:

  • request certification from the manufacturer that the goods are asbestos-free
  • obtain evidence from the overseas supplier, eg product testing results that the product/material does not contain asbestos
  • arrange a competent person to sample the goods/materials for testing by a laboratory prior to shipping (It is recommended that a NATA accredited laboratory, accredited for the relevant test method (AS 4964 Method for the qualitative identification of asbestos in bulk samples), or internationally equivalent laboratories be used)

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When it comes to handling Asbestos you want to know that you have professionals on the job. Complete Demolition is an Asbestos Removal Licenced Contractor and experienced specialist.

The crew wear protective clothing and fully adhere to all safety requirements. Know that you are in the best hands when it comes to keeping you and your environment safe.

Personal Protective Equipment required when dealing with asbestos:

  • Coveralls
  • Boots
  • P2 Mask
  • Gloves

We provide the following Asbestos Removal Services:

  • Asbestos Surveys & Analysis
  • Asbestos Removal
  • Site Decontamination
  • Asbestos Containment
  • Asbestos Disposal
  • Commercial, Industrial & Residential

Common places you might find asbestos in residential premises.

Bathroom, toilet and laundry

  • asbestos cement sheet walls and ceilings
  • floors
  • backing to tiles
  • if solid brick, hot water pipes in the wall may have asbestos lagging insulation around them

Kitchen

  • vinyl floor tiles/sheets and the backing to cushion vinyl flooring
  • underlay sheeting for ceramic tiles
  • if solid brick, hot water pipes in the wall may have asbestos lagging insulation around them

Living areas / bedrooms

  • insulation in wood heaters/asbestos cement sheeting beneath wood heater hearths and between layers of the flue
  • asbestos cement sheeting in walls
  • inside of cupboards

Backyard / exterior

  • flat, patterned and corrugated wall and roof sheeting
  • imitation tiles/imitation brick cladding
  • lining under eaves
  • garden sheds
  • garages/carports
  • electrical meter boards
  • fencing
  • Roof
  • Gutters
  • Old storm water pipes

INFORMATION ABOUT ASBESTOS

Asbestos is the name given to a group of silicate minerals that occur naturally in the environment as bundles of fibres. These minerals are either of the serpentine group or the amphibole group.

Serpentine asbestos includes the mineral chrysotile, or ‘white asbestos’, which has long, curly fibres that can be woven. Chrysotile asbestos is the form that has been used most widely in commercial applications. Amphibole asbestos includes the minerals actinolite, tremolite, anthophyllite, crocidolite, or ‘blue asbestos’, and amosite – ‘brown asbestos’. Amphibole asbestos has straight, needle-like fibres.

Asbestos minerals occur widely in the environment. They may be found in large natural deposits or as contaminants in other minerals e.g. in talc.

Because of asbestos’s many advantageous qualities such as strength, flexibility, heat stability, insulation properties, adsorption capacity and resistance to degradation, it has been used worldwide in numerous ways.

Asbestos use in human culture dates back at least 4,500 years. The actual commercial use of asbestos began in the late 19th Century. Asbestos has been used in roofing, insulation and flooring materials, cement, gaskets, brakes, plastics, textiles and so on. Workers in mining, construction, shipbuilding, automotive industry and manufacturing of asbestos products have been exposed to asbestos.

Areas we service: