Asbestos Detection, Testing + Management Plans
New Zealand is facing up to the significant problem that asbestos related issues present within our buildings and their surrounding environments. Substantial available research and information allows us to identify and manage the serious risks that asbestos or asbestos containing materials (in its myriad of forms), pose for people who come into contact with the substance. Building owners in New Zealand are required under the Health and Safety at Work (Asbestos) Regulations 2016, to know if their buildings and surrounding grounds contain asbestos and if so, put reasonable plans and strategies in place to ensure that anyone who accesses their property remains healthy and safe.
How our team can help
Our asbestos surveyors provide carefully considered and reasoned approaches on how to best manage and / or remove identified ACM.
We send our asbestos samples to accredited laboratories, recognised by International Accreditation New Zealand (IANZ) and Worksafe New Zealand, for expert analysis and reporting, with strict linkages between the unique sample number, where and when it was taken, and what product it was taken from, all double bagged, logged, tracked and results inserted – in accordance with the standards required by being accredited BOHS P402 Asbestos Surveyors.
Identification and ongoing management advice will be delivered as a “Management Survey Report”. If a building owner is planning to refurbish part of a building we provide a “Refurbishment Survey Report” that aims to identify and record any form of asbestos that could be expected to be encountered and disturbed as a result. Similarly if a whole building is to be demolished we provide an asbestos “Demolition Report”.
- Sampling of suspected asbestos containing Materials (ACM)
- Identification surveys
- Drawing up plans showing Locations of identified ACM
- Preparing asbestos registers
- Management/Refurbishment/Demolition reports
What the law says…
The Law places responsibility on the Person who Conducts a Business or Undertaking (PCBU), (who can be a company, business owner, school principal, body corporate, partnership etc.) to:
- Produce and retain an asbestos register for the workplace;
- Prepare an asbestos management plan; and
- Provide access to the register for anyone that may come into contact with asbestos on the premises.
commonly referred to as white asbestos is the only serpentine mineral, has fibres that are generally finer and more flexible than other types of asbestos and has a high level of heat resistance. Generally Chrysotile was used in consumer products such as brake pads, insulation, roofing materials, and claddings.
is generally referred to as brown asbestos and is considered to be the highest risk to health, out of all the different types of asbestos, although all types can cause disease. It was used due to its good heat resistance and high tensile strength, and is generally found in cladding materials, roof membranes, thermal insulation and fire protection.
is commonly referred to as blue asbestos and has very thin fibres which are more prone to lodging in the lungs than other types. It is most likely found in spray-on insulation, ceiling tiles, insulation, claddings and boilers.
is an amphibole that is usually dark in colour but can appear in many different colours such as white, grey, brown, or green. It is generally found in insulation materials, concrete based materials, claddings and fireproofing materials.
ranges in colour from white to grey to brown. It is one of the rarest types of asbestos and is used in products such as talcum powder and vermiculite.
can be brown, grey, white or green and is strong, flexible and has good thermal resistance. It is generally found in roofing materials, plumbing materials, insulation and paint.
Frequently Asked Questions…
WHAT IS ASBESTOS?
Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that has been used in the past for its strength and insulating properties. The three most common types of asbestos are Amosite, Crysotile and Crocidolite.
Asbestos has been linked to 107,000 estimated world-wide deaths per year by the World Health Organization through exposure in mining, manufacturing, installations in buildings, ship construction. Recently exposures have occurred in construction, maintenance, asbestos removal work, and work related to buildings that pre date 2000. It’s the loose fibres that can enter a person’s lungs by breathing or by being ingested that can cause serious illnesses such as Asbestosis (scarring of the lungs) and Mesothelioma (a type of cancer of the body’s linings – stomach, diaphragm, etc.). Death can result, with around 170 people sadly dying in New Zealand per year.
We now know from the medical fraternity, that there is a long delay between inhaling asbestos fibres and the diagnosis of disease, generally 15+ years later.
WHERE DID ASBESTOS COME FROM?
Significant historic producers of asbestos were Russia, China, Brazil, Kazakhstan and Canada. Figures show approximately a third of the world was still manufacturing asbestos products in 2012, with around a fifth of the world having banned its use by then.
IF IT IS SO DANGEROUS, WHY WAS IT USED?
Asbestos is made up of a number of naturally occurring silicate minerals in fibrous form and was generally mined and used for its excellent insulating properties and its strength. Imagine a building product that has good thermal insulation, is stable at high temperatures, a good electrical insulator, has high tensile strength, long flexible fibres and does not degrade over time. It is readily available, relatively cheap and as a result has been widely used for many years. When put like this, it is no surprise that asbestos, a group of naturally occurring minerals, was used.
BY LAW, WHAT IS REQUIRED OF BUILDING OWNERS?
The Health and Safety in Employment (Asbestos) Regulation 2016 came into force on the 4th April 2016. This places responsibility on the Person who Conducts a Business or Undertaking (PCBU), who can be a company, business owner, school principal, body corporate, partnership etc. to: produce and retain an asbestos register for the workplace; prepare an asbestos management plan and provide access to the register for anyone that may come into contact with asbestos on the premises.
To comply with this Regulation, the PCBU must ensure that any asbestos within the premises has been identified by a “competent person”. In other words, if you do it yourself and are not competent, or engage someone not sufficiently competent, then you could be prosecuted.
The Regulation also places responsibility on the PCBU to eliminate exposure to airborne asbestos within the workplace: new exposure limits will be significantly less than previously required. A PCBU who fails in their duty to manage and control asbestos and limit the airborne contamination of a workplace, would be liable on conviction to a fine, or possibly even jailtime.
If the fines are kept in line with the Health and Safety at Work Act reform, a fine could be up to $300,000 for an individual, up to $600,000 for a PCBU or officer, up to $3 million for a corporation, or a possible five years of jailtime. With penalties like these, asbestos is a substance that can no longer be ignored.
This legislation also states that any building (including houses), that is planned to be refurbished or demolished and where construction started prior to 1 January 2000, requires a refurbishment or demolition survey report.
THE PROBLEM HAS BEEN IDENTIFIED… NOW WHAT?
We assist our clients in engaging qualified asbestos removal contractors. If you have any questions or would like to discuss your particular asbestos issues please contact us through our website or by calling or emailing: