Getting Real About Real Estate

What Different Options Face You If You Suspect You May Have Asbestos On Your Property?

Despite a significant publicity campaign fronted by the government in order to make people aware of the perils of asbestos, a large number of properties around Australia are still thought to contain this substance. The material was used extensively in a wide variety of construction applications up through the '90s and it continues to present challenges for property owners everywhere. If you have just acquired an older property and are not sure how you stand in relation to this material, what should you do next?

Three Options

Essentially, you have three options. If asbestos is present, then you can choose to encapsulate it, to manage it or to remove it altogether. Before you get to that point, however, you have to determine the risk. For this, you need to commission an asbestos survey, to provide you with guidance for the road ahead.

Two Scenarios

Typically, asbestos surveys are called for in two different situations. If the property owner or manager intends to demolish or to carry out a complete refurbishment, then the survey will be tailored to that end result (known as R and D). Otherwise, a management survey is the best course of action.

What's the Objective?

Any asbestos inspection will be looking for different materials that contain asbestos, in order to record what the materials are, where they are located and in what quantity. Notes will be taken to determine how accessible the problem area is, and what condition it is in. The type of asbestos needs to be catalogued as well, normally through a testing procedure.

Management Survey

If you opt for a management survey, this is certainly a lot less intrusive. None of the asbestos-containing materials will be damaged or accidentally disturbed, and the inspector will ensure that they remain in good condition. At no time will the occupants of the premises be at risk during such inspection. If it is felt that certain asbestos-containing materials could be accidentally damaged during normal activities in the property, this will be highlighted within the report, together with the level of risk to the occupants. Many people opt for this type of management survey once per year, especially in a property that offers access to the public.

R and D Inspection

When refurbishment or demolition is the objective, the survey will be a lot more intrusive and will use methods that could disturb the asbestos in certain situations, in order to provide a comprehensive analysis. Therefore, the area has to be evacuated and only operators who are prepared and dressed for the job will be allowed in. After the survey is completed, the building must be certified as safe for occupancy before it can be repopulated.

What Is Your Requirement?

Contact local asbestos services for more information and assistance.