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Asbestos guidance for Real Estate sector

By 27 June 2014 10

Real estate agents, landlords and homeowners of Mr Fluffy houses will have a better understanding of their obligations in regards to asbestos management, duty of disclosure, documentation with the release of new asbestos guidance material for the ACT real estate sector.

Minister for Workplace Safety and Industrial Relations, Simon Corbell, today announced release of the new material.

“This guidance material is the first part of a range of measures which will assist those in the real estate sector, as well as homeowners, buyers and other stakeholders to manage the risks associated with asbestos,” Mr Corbell said.

“Real estate agents have a number of legal obligations across a variety of legislation. With an issue as complex as asbestos, it is understandable that these obligations may become confusing.

“This guidance material covers the relevant requirements, as well as general asbestos management, duty of disclosure, documentation and background information to ensure a clear and consistent approach can be taken.”

The guidance material has been developed by the ACT Office of Regulatory Services in consultation with the Real Estate Institute of the ACT and includes information on homes with remnant loose-fill asbestos insulation, also known as ‘Mr Fluffy’ asbestos.

“The ACT government has worked in partnership with the Real Estate Institute of the ACT in developing this important resource.

“This document clearly outlines the expectations for those in the real estate sector when it comes to managing properties containing asbestos, and the continued cooperation in this area by the institute is valued.

“The issues associated with Mr Fluffy asbestos have caused a great deal of distress amongst ACT residents, and it is important to address what can be done to help those affected.

“This guidance material will be followed by further measures to inform and assist members of our community who are dealing with the difficulty of asbestos issues.”

(Simon Corbell Media Release)

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10 Responses to Asbestos guidance for Real Estate sector
#1
Zan8:29 pm, 01 Jul 14

What about the house that were built in the 60s and 70s that had asbestos sheeting in the bathrooms and used on the eaves? Has anyone or anything been done about them?

#2
Maya1239:53 am, 02 Jul 14

Zan said :

What about the house that were built in the 60s and 70s that had asbestos sheeting in the bathrooms and used on the eaves? Has anyone or anything been done about them?

That likely means most houses built in the 60s and 70s. My understanding is they are generally considered safe if the sheeting is not disturbed and in good condition, ie. painted, not cracked, etc. I think this fibro is also made from the least harmful form of asbestos, although all can be dangerous, so don’t disturb it. Tenants are given information by the real estate agent saying asbestos might be present. When these houses are renovated/removed a licensed asbestos person must be used. The fibro sheeting is bagged and taken to the asbestos disposal. That’s what happened to my old house when I replaced it with another. The old house had its fibro sheeting removed from the wet areas and eaves, plus the old garage, by licensed removalists, before the remaining wooden house was put on a truck and taken to a country town to be reassembled. The country council wouldn’t let it in without its fibro being removed. My neighbours on the other-hand removed the fibro in their bathroom themselves when renovating it, and then had a fit when they saw the overall clad professionals removing the fibro off my old house, terrified they were going to be contaminated.

It’s more than only wet areas in old houses and their eaves; whole houses have been built with fibro. There are suburbs and suburbs full of these houses around Australia. Can you imagine the cost of removing all these!

#3
Zan11:03 am, 02 Jul 14

How do the people know that the house they buy has asbestos sheeting? That is the question. Your neighbours obviously did not know.

#4
Maya12311:29 am, 02 Jul 14

Zan said :

How do the people know that the house they buy has asbestos sheeting? That is the question. Your neighbours obviously did not know.

They should have. Any house built in that era almost certainly has asbestos sheeting. It’s well advertised.

#5
watto234:25 pm, 02 Jul 14

I’d have thought any building report before buying a home would at least point this out. Not sure if they do though, but personally if I was buying a house and got a building report, that is something I’d want included ion the report.

#6
JC5:19 pm, 02 Jul 14

watto23 said :

I’d have thought any building report before buying a home would at least point this out. Not sure if they do though, but personally if I was buying a house and got a building report, that is something I’d want included ion the report.

Building reports are non destructive, so makes it a bit hard to identify any asbestos. The only two ways to tell for sure is to drill it and send of a sample for inspection or be able to see the back and read the markings. Of course experts in the field may well be able to tell just by looking at it too, but building inspectors are not necessarily experts in anything (going by some of the reports I have read) let alone asbestos.

Besides for the most part asbestos it is just bloody common sense. Any house built before the mid 80′s potentially has asbestos in it, though if in the eves and walls and not damaged it poses no danger. The only real area for concern is of course Mr Fluffy where common sense may not help and people do need to be specifically advised the government should be able to help there.

#7
JC5:26 pm, 02 Jul 14

Zan said :

What about the house that were built in the 60s and 70s that had asbestos sheeting in the bathrooms and used on the eaves? Has anyone or anything been done about them?

Do what exactly? Removing it would not be trivial in any way shape or form and if in fact may actually pose more of a risk than leaving it where it is.

Also when new laws were introduced about 10 years ago the government did have an education campaign highlighting to owners and tenants the risk of non friable asbestos and the obligations of home owners and tenants to tradespeople working on homes. The laws basically state if you have had an asbestos report done you must provide it, if one hasn’t been done then you are meant to advise tradespeople and it is then up to them to refuse work if they suspect asbestos.

That was of course 10 years ago and before the home renovation boom, which IMO is where the biggest risk of exposure to non friable asbestos lies. Maybe with Mr Fluffy raising asbestos concerns again it would be an ideal time to rerun the program .

#8
Maya1236:35 pm, 02 Jul 14

watto23 said :

I’d have thought any building report before buying a home would at least point this out. Not sure if they do though, but personally if I was buying a house and got a building report, that is something I’d want included ion the report.

When I gave away an old house (to be trucked away to a new life in a country town) the people getting the house had a building inspection done. The town’s council insisted on it. The report came back with no asbestos found, which surprised us all, considering the era of the house. Another inspection was done and this time the bathroom, kitchen and laundry walls were found to be asbestos cement, as well as the eaves. This had been expected all along, but the first inspection was a dud. Don’t necessarily believe a negative report.

#9
JC6:49 pm, 02 Jul 14

Maya123 said :

watto23 said :

I’d have thought any building report before buying a home would at least point this out. Not sure if they do though, but personally if I was buying a house and got a building report, that is something I’d want included ion the report.

When I gave away an old house (to be trucked away to a new life in a country town) the people getting the house had a building inspection done. The town’s council insisted on it. The report came back with no asbestos found, which surprised us all, considering the era of the house. Another inspection was done and this time the bathroom, kitchen and laundry walls were found to be asbestos cement, as well as the eaves. This had been expected all along, but the first inspection was a dud. Don’t necessarily believe a negative report.

I am willing to bet the report had a get out of jail card saying the report was based on visual inspection only, and no asbestos seen. That isn’t saying the house has no asbestos.

Building inspectors do the same with more or less everything. Termites for example, the report may say no termites, that’s not to say the house doesn’t have them, just the inspector didn’t see them (and probably didn’t go looking).

#10
Maya1237:26 pm, 02 Jul 14

JC said :

Maya123 said :

watto23 said :

I’d have thought any building report before buying a home would at least point this out. Not sure if they do though, but personally if I was buying a house and got a building report, that is something I’d want included ion the report.

When I gave away an old house (to be trucked away to a new life in a country town) the people getting the house had a building inspection done. The town’s council insisted on it. The report came back with no asbestos found, which surprised us all, considering the era of the house. Another inspection was done and this time the bathroom, kitchen and laundry walls were found to be asbestos cement, as well as the eaves. This had been expected all along, but the first inspection was a dud. Don’t necessarily believe a negative report.

I am willing to bet the report had a get out of jail card saying the report was based on visual inspection only, and no asbestos seen. That isn’t saying the house has no asbestos.

Building inspectors do the same with more or less everything. Termites for example, the report may say no termites, that’s not to say the house doesn’t have them, just the inspector didn’t see them (and probably didn’t go looking).

I never saw the report, but likely so.

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