Renovating Fibro Homes - Asbestos Removal

If you are planning on demolishing or renovating your fibro home, it is important to be aware that the fibro may contain asbestos. Working with materials containing asbestos can pose a serious health risk and there are rules and regulations to be aware of.

What is asbestos & what are the risks?

Asbestos refers to fibrous silicate minerals used in building products such as fibro sheeting (flat and corrugated), water, drainage and flue pipes, roofing shingles and guttering. In NSW only fibro products made before 1987 contain asbestos.

The manufacture and use of asbestos product was banned nationally from 31 December 2003.

Breathing in asbestos fibres can cause mesothelioma, asbestosis and lung cancer. It is important to note however, that your health is not automatically at risk should your home or office be made from fibro products. If fibro sheeting is in sound condition and left undisturbed, generally the fibro poses no risk and need not be removed. For more information on the health risks check out the NSW Department of Health Factsheet - http://www.health.nsw.gov/factsheets/environmental/asbestos_fs.html

However, if you plan on demolishing or carrying out renovations that involve asbestos-containing materials or fibro that you suspect may contain asbestos, you need to be aware of the harzards involved and the appropriate methods of handling and disposing of the waste. The NSW Government has developed some practical information for working with fibro and asbestos in the following guide- http://www.more.nsw.gov.au/sites/default/files/uploads/common/Fibro_Asbestos.pdf

Council Approval/Licensing Requirements?

Whether or not you will need Council Approval will depend on the nature and scope of the works being done. To find out whether or not you willneed development approval or if there are any restrictions on the intended premises, you can contact the Duty Planner or make an appointment with one of our staff to disucss in more detail what will be required. For more information on the Development Application process click here or drop by our offices and speak to one of our staff.

Any work invloving the removal of more than 10 square metres of bonded asbestos or ANY amount of friable asbestos is required to be done by a contactor licensed under the Occupational Health & Safety Regulation 2001. For a list of licensed asbestos removalists, check your local directory or the Yellow Pages. To check if a contractor is licensed, contact Workcover NSW's Asbestos & Demolition Unit on 13 10 50 or go to their website at www.workcover.nsw.gov.au.

NOTE: If it is determined that Council Approval is required, where the work involves an amount or type of asbestos that requires a licensed asbestos removalist, you will be required to provide with your Development Application evidence that a licensed contractor has been engaged to carry out the work.

Bonded asbestos means any material (other than friable asbestos material) that contains asbestos.

Friable asbestos means any material that contains asbestos and is in the form of a poweder or can be crumbled, pulverised or reduced to powder by hand pressure when dry.

For more information you may also refer to Workcover NSW's "Working  With Asbestos" - http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/resources/waste/asbestos/09235Asbestos.pdf 

Disposing of asbestos in the Mid-Western Regional Council area

As pointed out above, a licensed contractor is required for the removal of more than 10 square metres of bonded asbestos or ANY amount of friable asbestos. For the disposal of small amounts of bonded asbestos (less than 10 square meters) please refer to the following guide produced by Workcover NSW - "Safely disposing of asbestos waste from your home" - http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/resources/waste/asbestos/09235Asbestos.pdf

Please note that asbestos waste must only be disposed of at a landfill site licensed to accept asbestos waste. The licensed landfill site in the Mid-Western Regional Council area is the Mudgee Waste Facility at Hill End Road, Mudgee.

Please make sure you contact the Waste Facility beforehand to book in a time of delivery of asbestos waste on (02) 6378 2770.

Links

For more information on asbestos related issued try: