Because of its durability, fire resistance and insulating properties, asbestos was commonly used in many building materials before the early 1980s and consequently may still be found in some buildings.
The presence of asbestos in home building materials generally does not pose a risk to health unless the material is broken, deteriorating, or disturbed in such a way that dust containing asbestos fibre is produced for example by water pressure cleaning or the use of power saws.
If you are renovating or building you need to follow proper procedures at all times when handling and removing asbestos and products containing asbestos to minimise the risk of exposure and the escape of asbestos fibres to the atmosphere.
Council Initiatives on AsbestosThe Heads of Asbestos Coordination Authorities (HACA) group has developed a model asbestos policy for all local councils. The policy aims to provide a comprehensive, consistent and practical approach to asbestos management among NSW councils.
Assistance will be given to NSW councils in their adoption of the model asbestos policy and preparation of any supplementary information to assist councils in the process.
It is anticipated that all local councils in NSW will adopt and implement the model policy. Tweed Shire Council is currently reviewing its Policy in line with the model asbestos policy.
A bonded asbestos licence is required to remove, repair or disturb more than 10 square metres of bonded asbestos material such as fibro, corrugated cement sheeting and asbestos cement pipes.
A friable asbestos licence is required to remove, repair or disturb any amount of friable asbestos, such as sprayed limpet, asbestos cloth, millboard and pipe lagging. For licences and a list of removalists please contact Workcover NSW 02 4321 5000.
Complaints regarding the removal or disturbance of asbestos containing material on a work site should be referred to NSW Workcover 13 10 50.
Council may require a Development Application in respect to building renovations and/or the demolition of structures. Where these structures contain asbestos material council may place general conditions on any Development Application advising the applicant of provisions contained in relevant Australian Standards, Occupational Health and Safety Regulations and Guidelines produced by NSW Workcover in relation to handling or working with asbestos.
Development Application enquiries should be referred to Council’s Development Assessment Duty Technical Officer.
Council may also be contacted where asbestos containing material has been dumped or otherwise abandoned in a public place. In such circumstances where the persons responsible cannot be identified, council in conjunction with the NSW Fire and Rescue may arrange for the material to be collected once it has been rendered safe to handle and disposed of at Council’s waste disposal facility.
Generally where waste material containing asbestos is dumped or otherwise contained on private property, the material remains the responsibility of the property owner. Where a complaint is made to council in respect to waste asbestos material on private property, council regulatory officers may investigate the complaint and where considered necessary, the property owner may be required to remove and safely dispose of the waste material.
For all such enquiries and complaints contact Council’s Environmental Health Unit on (02) 6670 2400.
Who to Contact
For general enquiries contact Council’s Environmental Health Services (02) 6670 2400.
- The Workcover Authority of NSW has produced a guide for renovators and homeowners working with asbestos.
- The Workcover Authority of NSW has further information, guidelines and requirements in respect to asbestos available on its website..
- Asbestos Awareness Website
- Council’s Environmental Health Services (02) 6670 2400.