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If you are thinking about renovating, you must be aware of asbestos. It is important for home owners and renovators to be aware of how to safely manage asbestos in and around the home.

Importantly, if you suspect you have asbestos in your home, Don't cut it! Don't drill it! Don't drop it! Don't sand it! Don't saw it! Don't scrape it! Don't scrub it! Don't dismantle it! Don't tip it! Don't waterblast it! Don't demolish it! And whatever you do... Don't dump it!

For more information visit www.asbestosawareness.com.au.

What You Need to Know!

  • You can't tell whether building materials contain asbestos just by looking at them!  
  • If you are in doubt, it is best to assume that you are dealing with asbestos and take every precaution
  • The safest way to manage the removal of asbestos is to hire a licenced asbestos removal contractor
  • Where asbestos fibres are loose and not bonded into building materials, you must use a professional licenced asbestos removal service
  • There are government regulations and your local council may also have policies regarding the removal of asbestos

What is Asbestos (Naturally occurring)?

Asbestos is found as a naturally occurring mineral in many areas of NSW and may occur in veins within rock formations.

Naturally occurring asbestos is generally found when building roads, working on construction sites and undertaking excavation activities.

Parts of the Blayney Shire are considered to contain Naturally occurring asbestos.

For further information see: https://www.safework.nsw.gov.au/hazards-a-z/asbestos

What is Asbestos (manufactured building products)?

Until the mid-1980s, asbestos was widely used in a range of home building materials. If your house was built or renovated before 1987, it is likely you have asbestos in your home. Asbestos is a naturally-occurring fibrous silicate mineral. It was considered a versatile product, because it is able to withstand heat, erosion and decay and has fire and water resistant properties.

Homeowners need to know what asbestos is and what precautions you must  take if you are planning to renovate or make repairs around your home, just in case you are dealing with asbestos. 

Removing asbestos is a dangerous and complicated process best carried out by professionals who are licenced having completed the required training. If you were to consider removing a small amount of asbestos yourself, at the very minimum you would need to meticulously follow ALL of the steps described on this site in order to protect your health and that of those around you. 

It becomes a health risk when asbestos fibres are released into the air and breathed in. 

Asbestos is described as either "bonded" or "friable".

Bonded asbestos fibres are mixed into another material which binds or bonds them within the material.  Bonded asbestos cannot be crumbled, pulverised or reduced to a powder by hand pressure when dry. 

Common uses for bonded asbestos in buildings include: flat (fibro), corrugated (roofing) or compressed asbestos cement sheets; water, drainage and flue pipes; and floor tiles. 

If fire, hail, or direct activities such as water blasting and drilling damages bonded asbestos, it may become friable asbestos material.

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

Friable asbestos was not commonly used in the home; it was mainly used in industrial applications such as pipe lagging, sprayed limpet and asbestos cloth and rope. 

Friable asbestos can only be removed by a licenced asbestos removalist with a friable asbestos licence.

It is Important Everyone Knows About Asbestos Health Risks and Safety Requirements

While some people may ensure they follow the regulations and safety requirements to remove small amounts of asbestos themselves, we recommend retaining a licenced asbestos removal professional who is equipped to protect you and your family from the dangers of asbestos dust.
When working in and around the home or renovating, if in doubt, assume you are dealing with asbestos and take every precaution 

The safest way to manage the removal of asbestos is to hire a licenced asbestos removal contractor

Where asbestos fibres are friable (loose and not bonded into building materials), only licenced friable asbestos removalists are allowed to remove it

If you do need to work with any material that may contain asbestos, ensure you take all the necessary precautions to protect yourself and minimise the release of dust or small particles from the asbestos materials that may affect others including children

The NSW Ministry of Health has fact sheets about asbestos and health risks.  For more information visit www.health.nsw.gov.au.

Asbestos in the Home

Asbestos fibres were used widely in building materials before the mid-1980s. If your house was built or renovated before the mid-1980s, it is likely to contain asbestos cement building materials.

You may be surprised at the various types of products that were made from bonded asbestos cement included fibro sheeting (flat and corrugated), water drainage and flue pipes, roofing shingles and guttering, even the backing of vinyl sheet floor coverings.

In NSW, the use of asbestos was discontinued in all fibro sheets and products by the mid-1980s. After this, asbestos continued to be used principally in friction products, for brake and clutch linings. The manufacture and use of asbestos products was banned nationally in Australia from 31 December 2003.

The Importance of Safely Managing Asbestos in and Around the Home

Most people can't tell whether building materials contain asbestos just by looking at them

Unless you take the required safety precautions and follow regulations, Dont cut it! Dont drill it! Dont drop it! Dont sand it! Dont saw it! Dont scrape it! Dont scrub it! Dont dismantle it! Dont tip it! Dont waterblast it! Dont demolish it! And whatever you do... Dont dump it!

If you do need to work with any material that may contain asbestos, always work so there is minimal dust or small particles released from the asbestos materials

Only scientific testing of a sample of material by an accredited National Association of Testing Authorities (NATA) asbestos testing laboratory can confirm the presence of asbestos. For information on testing and accredited laboratories in your area, visit www.nata.com.au or call 1800 621 666  Asbestos materials that are in good condition are unlikely to release  asbestos fibres if left undisturbed

If asbestos materials are in good condition, paint them and leave them alone

For important information about working with asbestos see WorkCover NSW's Guide to Working With Asbestos, visit workcover.nsw.gov.au or contact 13 10 50

The NSW Government DIY Safe website contains information about the hazards and risks that home renovators may face from a range of chemicals and materials, including asbestos

The NSW Government has produced a website asbestosawareness.com.au.

Click the following link to view the heads of Asbestos Coordination Authorities:


Last modified: 20 Oct 2021