Asbestos Inspections Melbourne
For homes in Melbourne, an asbestos inspection is an absolute must - especially if you're about to renovate. Greenlight offer a fast 24-hour asbestos inspection service by tertiary qualified licensed asbestos assessors. Be wary of inspections by unqualified companies, some are actually asbestos removalists trying to drum up business. These companies have a deep conflict of interest and are unqualified to make safety assessments.
Need a commercial asbestos register? Greenlight also offer commercial asbestos inspection services in full compliance with the Occupational Health & Safety Act.
We are always happy to talk over asbestos issues in your home and answer questions in detail on 03 9048 4411.
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Types of Residential Asbestos Inspection
A Pre-purchase Asbestos Inspection - A thorough check of your potential purchase for any asbestos items with extents, conditions and in-line photos. Negotiate any asbestos problems before you settle.
Pre-Renovation Asbestos Inspections - An intrusive investigation of any areas you plan to renovate including behind tiles and beneath floor coverings. Recommendations and ongoing support for any removal work provided.
Home Safety Asbestos Inspection - For your own ongoing maintenance of the property it is important to know the location and condition of any asbestos items. Most asbestos materials are perfectly safe so long as you do not drill, cut, sand, water-blast or otherwise disturb them mechanically. Identification and a document that clearly communicates locations and extents is the most effective control of asbestos risk - identification is key.
Loose Fill Asbestos Insulation Inspections - While rare in Victoria, any loose insulation within a ceiling cavity should be checked out. Our inspection cost includes two samples analysed in a NATA accredited laboratory and a clearance certificate by a licensed asbestos assessor.
Outside Melbourne Metro? we can provide pricing on request. As a rough guide - add 160.00 + GST for each hour of driving from your property address to the outskirts of Melbourne.
The benefits of an asbestos inspection with Greenlight
Unlike other companies we have a minimum standard of qualification and experience for all consultants. You consultant will be:
A licensed asbestos assessor vetted by one of the states Work Safe regulatory bodies;
Tertiary qualified in either science, occupational hygiene or engineering; and
Have a minimum of 5 years asbestos auditing experience.
Compare that to what you might get elsewhere - you may get: an asbestos removalist completely unqualified in safety assessments and with an inherent conflict of interest; a consultant with no formal training in occupational hygiene as with some generalist building inspection companies; or, a new consultant with insufficient experience to identify the full range of asbestos materials that may be present. There are many pit-falls to hiring an asbestos inspection company in Melbourne - make sure in particular that your consultant is qualified and not an asbestos removal company.
2. Great value & fast turnarounds
You will also get great value, - a comprehensive report in 5 business days with samples analysed in a NATA accredited laboratory.
3. A clear, concise and useful report
A Greenlight report will clearly identify the location, condition and extent in square metres of any asbestos materials in your home with in-line photos. If asbestos materials are found not to be present in a given room, we will provide a description of materials, so you can be sure what is safe and what is not.
Where asbestos materials are identified, we will make a formal risk assessment and make specific recommendations for each item identified in view of your planned use for the site (for example it may be prior to a renovation).
What are the legal requirements around asbestos in homes?
Asbestos removal in homes
In most circumstances, asbestos removal work can only be carried out by a licensed Class A or Class B removalist. You must also obtain a clearance certificate from a company independent of the removal company.
Be careful on this point - some asbestos removalists will offer a clearance certificate to go with their removals, however this practice is against Work Safe Victoria Regulations which require complete financial and contractual independence between the two companies.
As the person that commissions the asbestos removal work you are legally obligated to engage the two companies independently, one to remove the asbestos and another qualified company such as Greenlight to check their work.
The only exception to the requirement to use a licensed asbestos removalist and obtain a clearance certificate are if the materials are both:
Bonded, non-friable asbestos (material is not soft, crumbly or can break easily under hand pressure); and
Less than 10 square metres in total.
Both conditions must be met - then you are legally permitted to carry out asbestos removal works yourself. However please note that firstly, it is not recommended to remove asbestos yourself and secondly you must still dispose of all asbestos in an asbestos waste receivable facility. The EPA Victoria has a list of landfill sites that will accept asbestos waste for domestic premises.
Commercial refurbishments & demolitions
It is important to understand that if your home is being commercially refurbished by an independent company or if it is being demolished, then under these circumstances and for the duration of works your home is legally considered to be a workplace.
As a workplace, your home is then subject to the requirements of the Victorian Occupational Health & Safety Act 2004 and the Work Safe Regulations 2017. You are then required to:
Identify asbestos materials that may be present and retain an Asbestos Register on the site;
Remove any asbestos materials that may be disturbed by your planned refurbishment or demolition works by a Licensed Class A or Class B asbestos removalist (i.e. all of them in the case of demolition); and
Obtain an asbestos clearance certificate for the works by an independent company such as Greenlight.
Technically, this requirement falls on the refurbishment or demolition contractor rather than yourself as they are considered to be the 'controller of the workplace'; however, homeowners need to be aware that these industries in Melbourne are generally quite cut-throat, meaning that companies are typically operating on a small profit margin. As such they tend to cut corners.
Ensure that the quotation you have received for refurbishment or demolition includes an asbestos register or better yet, have this done as an independent exercise with Greenlight (you will have to pay for it one way or another, and this way you know it's done).
Ensure asbestos compliance for your home during demolition or refurbishment;
Protect worker, occupant and neighbours' safety;
Avoid contamination issues on your site;
Avoid any stop-work or improvement notices issued by Work Safe Victoria; and
Avoid fines for non-compliance up to $6,000.00 for individuals or $30,000.00 for companies.
Home renovations (DIY)
If you are doing your own renovations, your home is not legally considered to be a workplace and is therefore not subject to the requirements of the Occupational Health & Safety Act 2004 or the Victorian Work Safe Regulations 2017.
There are however laws around any asbestos removal regardless of the location and it is important to be aware that if you unknowingly remove asbestos materials this is considered to be the same as unlicensed illegal asbestos removal work.
And of course, there are the health implications around asbestos removal such as mesothelioma, a cancer caused only by exposure to airborne asbestos fibres.
Given the above it makes sense to identify asbestos materials prior to any renovation work, to protect yourself legally, to be socially responsible to yourself and your neighbours and to protect the health of you and your family members.
Unfortunately, the legal framework in Victoria (and Australia, generally) is quite lax around asbestos materials in residential tenancies as compared to workplaces.
There is for example:
No legal requirement for owners of residential tenancies to identify asbestos materials on the property; and
No legal requirement to make known any asbestos materials if already identified.
The one recourse for tenants is that if walls or other areas of the house are in a state of disrepair and are of an age that may contain asbestos, you can have the materials tested and if asbestos materials are present, then the tenant can treat this as an emergency repair.
While this recourse is available, please note that the walls or other building material must be in a state of disrepair (minor damage doesn't cut it) and as a first step you should always contact your landlord or agent and allow them the opportunity to address the issue. They may then have the materials tested and repaired. If your landlord or agent is not timely and asbestos materials have been confirmed, you are entitled to address the problem yourself under the emergency repair terms of your tenancy agreement (make sure you read these before acting).
It should be further noted that if your home is being used as a commercial workplace, then the home is subject to the requirements of the Occupational Health & Safety Act 2004 and Work Safe Regulations 2017. The obligations then fall on either the owner of the property or the managing agent to identify asbestos materials, label them and prepare an asbestos management plan for the property.
My home is new - do I need an asbestos inspection?
Generally, if your home is built after December 2003, you do not generally require an asbestos inspection. An exception to this may be if there is a legacy asbestos issue from a previous home built on the site such as asbestos contaminated soil or residual structures. We have encountered instances of new homes being built on the foundations of a demolished older houses with entire subfloor areas being contaminated with asbestos cement sheeting debris.
Why December 2003? This was the date that asbestos was banned from importation into Australia and from any commercial use across Australia. Buildings built after 1990 are far less likely to contain asbestos than those built prior as the material was being phased out in the lead up to the ban, however it cannot be guaranteed that there are no asbestos materials in buildings built even in the late 90's.
If you have any other query not covered above, we are always happy to answer your questions in detail.