Frequently Asked Questions about Asbestos

Asbestos: Frequently asked questions

What is asbestos?

Asbestos is a naturally occurring material that was widely used in building materials up to 1987. It is commonly found in materials such as:

  • Roofing, shingles and siding
  • Fencing
  • Exterior wall cladding
  • Backing material on floor tiles and vinyl flooring
  • Textured paints
  • Water or flue pipes.

When such materials are left undisturbed they are relatively harmless. However, if the material is damaged or disturbed it may release fibres into the air which can eventually be fatal.

How do I know if a material contains asbestos?

We are licensed with SafeWork NSW as an asbestos removal and demolition company and can help with the identification of asbestos.

If in doubt, treat the suspect material as though it does contain asbestos.

A person cannot determine whether a material contains asbestos simply by looking at it but we can often see that the building material in question does not contain asbestos. Careful examination using a specific instrument is the only way to verify the presence of asbestos which is why a licensed assessor is required.

I am buying an older house. How do I know if it contains asbestos?

Where can you find asbestos in a house - asbestos identification, testing, removal and disposal in Newcastle, Lake Macquarie and Central CoastMany houses built or renovated before the mid-1980s were made from asbestos products. Have the house assessed by a qualified occupational hygienist or other suitably qualified professional.

See this image outlining the different places in a house where asbestos has been used in the past and where it still may be present.

If I buy a house which contains Asbestos does it need to be demolished?

There have been news articles which exaggerate stories about Asbestos however it is best to be fully informed. If the property contains Loose-Fill Asbestos Insulation there would be serious health issues and if discovered this information would need to be disclosed to tenants and any potential purchasers if you are looking to sell it. There is also a State Government Register for this risk and you can learn more about Loose Fill Asbestos Insulation here.

Most types of Asbestos found in a house are “non-friable” which means that as long as the products aren’t disturbed, cut, drilled etc the risk of people getting exposure to Asbestos fibres is very low. IF you are doing a renovation or just want to be sure we can test it for you and give you a quote to remove and dispose of the Asbestos properly.

Are houses with asbestos roofs safe?

Never walk on an asbestos cement roof as they are weak. If asbestos cement products are in sound condition and never disturbed, they do not pose a significant health risk. Weathered roofing requires replacement, as structurally poor roofing fails to be waterproof. A licensed asbestos removalist is required to remove and transport asbestos-containing materials.

Are asbestos-containing materials with a small volume of asbestos OK?

Treat all products containing any amount of asbestos as potentially dangerous if disturbed. A licensed asbestos removalist should remove all asbestos containing material.

Can I bury asbestos on my property?

No. It is unlawful due to the health risks should the material become disturbed in the future. It must be taken to a regulated facility that can receive and treat asbestos waste. Details are discussed further in the questions below.

Where and how do I dispose of asbestos sheeting?

  • Contact your local council for waste facilities in your area.
  • The Environment Protection Authority in your state can provide information on transporting and disposing of asbestos waste.

Learn more about how we professionally remove and dispose of asbestos

I am renovating my bathroom, kitchen and laundry. Should I be concerned about asbestos?

Asbestos products were often used in wet areas of older homes built or renovated before the mid-1980s such as bathrooms, kitchens and laundries. If in doubt, have the material tested by a qualified professional and/or removed by a licensed asbestos removalist — which we are.

Where do I find an asbestos removalist, and how can I be sure that they are licensed?

  • Asbestos removalists are listed on the SafeWork NSW website — our licence number is AD213065

Who to contact about safe management of asbestos in your home

  • General asbestos safety issues — local council.
  • Derelict properties — local council.

Complaints about unsafe work at a residential property

  • Work conducted by a neighbour — local council.
  • Work conducted by a contractor or worker — WorkCover, WorkSafe or Comcare.
  • Licensed removal work at a residence — WorkCover, WorkSafe or Comcare .
  • Removal work carried out by the home owner or tenant as part of renovations or demolition work — local council.
  • Small removal and maintenance jobs able to carried out by the home owner or tenant — local council.

Information from this page comes from the Australian Federal Government

Other resources regarding the testing and removal of asbestos:

Information regarding the testing and removal of asbestos in Western Australia

Information regarding the testing and removal of asbestos in Queensland