Do Strata Complexes Need to have an Asbestos Inspection?
The Work Health and Safety Regulations state that where the complex is used only for residential purposes and is never considered being a workplace, then the legislation does not apply and an asbestos inspection is not required.
However, it is now generally accepted that all strata complexes will be a workplace at some stage. Thus the majority of Owner’s Corporations and Bodies Corporate accept the serious safety concerns with asbestos and abiding by the legislation.
When Should a Strata Complex Obtain an Asbestos Inspection?
Buildings constructed prior to 2004
If the complex was constructed post 2003, then the legislation states that the complex should be clear of asbestos. However, China is exporting to Australia building products containing asbestos due to lax controls. Therefore, although not required by legislation, buildings constructed up to today may in fact contain asbestos.
Queensland has made an amendment to the legislation stating the year as 1990 and not 2004. However, this is not to be taken at face value as it only applies to the need for an Asbestos Register, and there are 2 major rules to achieve this exception.
- No Asbestos has been identified; and
- No Asbestos is likely to be present
Thus the only way to comply to these 2 expectations is to inspect the complex for asbestos
How do you identify asbestos?
Asbestos Audit Process
The asbestos survey will be undertaken by trained, experienced and qualified personnel. All areas of the site will be inspected in detail. Each floor will be separately assessed. Photographic illustration and a detailed description of suspected asbestos materials will be supplied.
Samples of all suspected asbestos-containing materials will be taken to prove the presence of asbestos. Samples will be analyzed in a NATA-accredited laboratory by polarizing light microscopy in conjunction with dispersion staining.
Qualified and experienced professionals, in accordance with the quality management system, will interpret the survey and sample results. This process will include hazard identification, recommendations to eliminate or reduce safety hazard, and a complete management service for asbestos removal, upon your request.
The condition of the asbestos containing materials (ACMs), location and possible impact when disturbed are important details that are covered during the inspection. A qualitative risk assessment will be performed to study the priority measures that should be adopted after the necessary analytical tests are performed. This will give both the person in control and the assessor the necessary details to prepare the AMP and the Asbestos Register.
A complete Asbestos Materials Report and Register will be prepared containing detailed information on the building, the location of any asbestos-containing materials, condition assessments, health and safety ratings, detailed recommendations on actions and methods of containment and/or removal.
If asbestos is identified on site, an Asbestos Management Plan can be developed by QBM to control the asbestos on site until such time as it is removed.
Safe Work Australia August 2010
World Health Organisation July 2010