Asbestos Testing & Removal
Asbestos Site Clearance
Under the latest rules every asbestos removal project must be independently checked by a Licenced Assessor who will take Air Samples and check for precise cleanliness of the site. Their tests are checked by an independent accredited laboratory certified in testing for asbestos. Once the standards are met the Assessor will issue a Clearance Certificate which allows the site to be re-occupied.
A survey is a structured plan of assessing a total property for the presence, nature and quantity of asbestos and the immediacy of risk to the users associated with the site. Surveys follow a structured guideline of reporting and when completed form an Asbestos Register which becomes a reference for conducting any maintenance work or determines how the affected area can be used.
Asbestos Registers are required.
For whatever reason pre or post event asbestos hazards may occur. These will be measured against a set of national safety guidelines. Abatement is the process of returning the specific asbestos risk zone to acceptable levels or guidelines dependent on the nature of the circumstances.
Air Testing for Asbestos Particle levels
The national recognised standard for safe levels of asbestos is 1 part per million. This is determined by running an Air Pump attached to a Cassette filter at a determined airflow rate for a specified period. The filter is microscopically checked and an Air Sample Certificate is issued.
The site cannot be re-occupied until the air sample record readings below .01.
Sampling and Testing Materials for Asbestos content
To be recognised all asbestos tests are conducted by an IANZ accredited laboratory.
Asbex Asbestos Removal Services
Asbex (NZ) is a local, NZ owned, and operating throughout the country (background listing of towns and provinces)
Asbex Asbestos Removals is a specialist division with fifteen technicians holding Certificates of Competence to supervise asbestos removal.
Have you got a question about asbestos? Call us on 0800 747273 or email office @asbex.co.nz
If unsure of the presence of Asbestos call the helpdesk 0800 747273 (24/7) and Asbex will arrange a sample to be taken and then tested by an IANZ accredited Laboratory.
Quality Control Measures
Minimum Standards in our Quality Control Program
- Individuals are regularly attending health & safety awareness training
- Teams members have an individual mask fitness test
- Team members have a regular health and fitness checkup
- Team members are trained and certified in asbestos removal
- Working from static and mobile elevated work platforms
- Working from heights
- We run internal training sessions to ensure excellent product, equipment and systems knowledge
- Team members also hold A & B class asbestos removal licences for New Zealand & Australia.
- Each Job has a prestart SSSP (Site Specific Safety Plan) checked over with and signed off by you
- Each asbestos removal Job bas a unique Control Plan designed to monitor & measure all activities on site to ensure they are safe and reliable and meet best practice standards.
- All Jobs are notified prior to commencement to Work Safe NZ which enables Safety Inspectors to come on site at any time and without notice to monitor our work practices and compliance standards.
- All work is signed off by an independent assessor who audit the nature and quality of work undertaken
- Sampling and testing is undertaken by independent contractors and Internationally accredited NZ laboratories.
- Our work quality is checked under a unique high performance microscope.
- Site records are retained for 10 years
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I know if there is asbestos in my property?
Asbestos containing materials are common and while asbestos materials are no longer being made in New Zealand there are still building materials being imported containing asbestos. Soffits, gables, roofing, water proofing membranes, flooring materials, insulation, sealants, fence and wall claddings, pipe laggings…these are the most common areas to check. However asbestos content is often not visible and verification will require sampling and inspection under a special purpose microscope.
Can I remove asbestos from my building or house?
Your priority is containing and controlling the release of asbestos fibres. Asbestos removal specialists utilize proven techniques and modern equipment to manage the entire process to a very high standard. Friable
asbestos needs to be removed by a certified asbestos removalist. Non-Friable asbestos requires precise handling, preparation, packaging and disposal. You are permitted to remove up to 1Om2 of non-friable asbestos. However, this requires careful attention to detail.
What are the health hazards?
The jagged fibrous nature of asbestos particles enables them to easily lodge in the lungs or intestinal cavities. Over a period of time even small levels of asbestos fibres can initiate scarring or cancerous tumours.
The delay period may be from just a few years to several decades. Approximately 3 people a week die in New Zealand from asbestos related illnesses. This is absolutely preventable.
How much does asbestos removal cost?
The costs of asbestos removal vary for the type of building material, product accessibility and friability affects the control systems being put in place. In short each job will have unique characteristics so while price guidelines are
quickly available, a site visit is usually necessary to confirm the quantity condition, accessibility and the removal control systems appropriate for the project.
How Do I Know if the Asbestos Removal has been done to a High Standard?
- Are the Removal Technicians trained and certified?
- Are the removal technicians running through the safety control program with you?
- What is the safety and control equipment being used.?
- Does the equipment have a current certificate of Fitness?
- Are the Removal Technicians using independent monitoring of air and surface testing samples?
- Am I being issued with Certificates of Air Clearance and Surface Testing?
While not an exhaustive list by any means, these checks will give you a good idea of how well the Technician (s) is undertaking your work.
Can we Operate in another part of the house or building while asbestos is being removed?
Yes, you may. Many asbestos removal projects require creating an enclosure which safely contains the work area and air monitoring will measure the quality of the air outside of the enclosure. However, the bulky enclosures and decontamination chambers will probably disrupt access so being out of the work place will probably be to your advantage and assist the technician in the smooth running of the project.
The Steps in Removing Asbestos from Inside My Property
Firstly, undisturbed asbestos in building products is not harmful. Disturbing these products however raises the potential for serious delayed harm. Drilling, cutting, scraping, sanding, hammering etc. are all activities that will release the fibers into the air
[ Note there are many different applications and the scale of the project whether, residential, commercial or industrial will involve variations in the applications of containment and control processes]
Asbestos in the interior of your property is commonly found in decorative and fire retardant coatings vinyl flooring, fire proof panels, power distribution boards, sealants, plaster and sometimes pipe lagging. The steps are broadly the same and we will describe a building interior process.
- The building product is sampled and then tested by an Independent IANZ laboratory accredited for testing for the presence of asbestos. Testing and reporting takes approximately 3 days.
The test result will describe the type of asbestos found. Whether the tests are positive or negative the laboratory certificate will become valuable and be required by tradesmen and if you are selling or leasing your property then for your agents or for purchasers due diligence as they evaluate your property.
- There are 3 options:
- do nothing
- where possible cover the building material containing asbestos
- remove the material containing asbestos
Option 1 Do Nothing, leave as is.
Even if the tests return positive this can work and if no maintenance or alterations occur your home is almost certainly quite safe.
If you subsequently forget about the test or simply take a chance and undertake some work you will contaminate your dwelling. Further you risk reducing the value of your home.
Option 2 Cover the Area Containing Asbestos
A quick fix as the process of removing asbestos is avoided and some immediate savings may occur. In some instances, especially in ceiling and floor cavities, this may be the only option. In such cases it is wise to put place a sign adjacent to the manhole entrance alerting anyone servicing these areas.
The asbestos is still present. You will be responsible for notifying tradesmen of the presence of asbestos. Later on the costs of correcting will be greater.
Option 3 Remove The Material Containing Asbestos
Remove risk of subsequent asbestos contamination
Peace of mind
Protect the value of your property
There are no negatives to removing the risk of asbestos contamination. However, the process is inconvenient as you will likely need to be out of your property for the period of the work.
- Meanwhile Back to The Process of Removal
Worksafe NZ Are Notified
Site management documents are prepared to record, measure and monitor the process and people involved. The property has signage alerting to the process.
Barriers to access points on the property will be in place. The rooms being treated are fully enclosed and the area is completely sealed off. Once the enclosure is completed a vapor test is run to ensure there are no
uncontrolled air movements where asbestos particles could escape.
A Negative Air Unit with a current WOF is fitted to the enclosure and continually filters out all the enclosure.
The surfaces are prepared lined off by technicians using full-body protective equipment including special breathing apparatus.
All waste material is bagged and sealed inside the enclosure
H Class Hepa Vacuums with a current WOF are used to vacuum the inside of the enclosure.
Once the Enclosure and the waste bags are thoroughly cleaned the area is meticulously wiped down and a particle bonding agent sprayed in the enclosure
- Quality Control. During the removal process access to and from the working enclosure is via a decontamination chamber.
After removal is completed an independent assessor centers into the enclosure taking swab and air samples which are tested at an independent accredited laboratory. Once the lab results are approved a clearance
certificate is issued and the enclosure may be dismantled.
All waste material is taken to an approved asbestos waste bonded area and a receipt issued verifying safe disposal.
Site documents are updated and retained on the project file.
Our goal: – “working for safer, healthier living spaces”.
Asbestos testing is necessary in many homes to avoid the risk of asbestos exposure when undertaking renovations or redecorating. Asbestos reports are essential before asbestos removal and very useful when selling your home or engaging a tradesman to undertake maintenance or modifications. A tested sample is important before proceeding with an asbestos removal quote.
Many earlier styled garages were constructed using fibre cement cladding in the walls If used on the roof then it was known as super six or super seven depending on the number of corrugations per sheet), spouting and downpipes. A lab tested sample is important before proceeding
with an asbestos removal quote.
Asbestos roof coatings may be fibre cement or bituminous. The Questions you need to ask:
- Is the water draining directly on to the ground?
- Do I want to paint the roof?
- Does the asbestos roof have moss or build’-up on the surface or in the gutters?
- What is the condition of the roof?
You need to be aware if the water is draining onto the ground from asbestos containing roofs, the ground around the structure may also require checking for asbestos contamination. A lab tested sample is important before proceeding with an asbestos removal quote to assess the cost of asbestos removal from your roof.
Asbestos in Ceilings & Roof Cavities
Roof cavities (the space between the internal ceiling and the exterior roof) are unexpected traps for asbestos residues. Overtime fragments of asbestos roofing will drop onto the ceiling. Another asbestos trap to consider is lagged pipe work through the ceiling. When disturbed these are very
friable and can disperse quickly if service personnel are working in the ceiling cavity. A lab tested sample of dust residue is important before proceeding with an asbestos removal quote.
Asbestos containing cladding may be concealed behind Imitation brick veneer claddings. In other cases, “rough cast” plaster finishes were fixed to wall framing that had been firstly overlaid with fibre cement cladding containing asbestos. When undertaking renovations or demolition a sample of the outer layer needs to be carefully removed to check the base fixing method and the potential presence of asbestos.
Other exterior wall types include wall tiles, fibre cement weatherboards, and the very common plain fibre cement sheeting. A lab tested sample is important before proceeding with asbestos removal quote.
Asbestos was a popular ingredient serving both as a fire retardant and a binding agent for textured coatings applied in the 60s 70s and most of the 1980s. All textured coatings need testing for asbestos in order to prevent follow on consequences. A lab tested sample is important before proceeding with an asbestos removal quote.
Asbestos Ceiling Tiles Removal
Earlier styled acoustic tiles and panels from suspended ceilings contained asbestos for its bonding and fire retardant properties. However, even if these do not contain asbestos, it is still important to test the dust layer on the top surface of the tiles as dust containing asbestos residues will gather if there is asbestos material in the higher up roofing materials ~ A lab tested sample is
important before proceeding with an asbestos removal quote.
Textured Ceilings (Popcorn Ceilings)
The popular “stippled coating” applied to the ceilings of residential homes (aka “popcorn ceilings”) frequent has asbestos content and should not be sanded, cut drilled or in any way disturbed. A lab tested sample is important before proceeding with an asbestos removal quote.
“pop Corn” Ceiling Coatings were a popular application style adopted from the USA and extensively used in commercial buildings, church buildings etc. due to their appearance, acoustic effects and as a fireproofing. A lab tested sample is important before proceeding with an asbestos removal quote.
Usually found in commercial buildings over structural beam-work, pipework and air conditioning structures and coating between Doors in multi-level buildings. A lab tested sample is important before proceeding with an asbestos removal quote.
Insulation around hot water pipes especially in structures from the 1950’s and 60’s needs careful checking. The material if disturbed is highly friable and can cause extensive contamination if not processed correctly. A lab tested sample is important before proceeding with an asbestos removal quote.
The Presence of asbestos.in flooring is easily overlooked, particularly where multiple layers of floor finishing have been applied over time. The asbestos content is usually found in the backing material and to a lesser extent in the actual polymer coatings. A lab tested sample is important before proceeding with asbestos removal quote.
Contamination may occur for a variety of reasons including the mishandling of asbestos removal, water draining onto soil from asbestos roofs, disturbance of concealed pipework, waste disposal or redevelopment of land was earlier had structures containing asbestos such as garages, Processing sheds, chicken farms, or fencing containing asbestos etc. A lab tested sample is
important before proceeding with an” asbestos removal quote.
Below Ground Pipework
Ground disturbance should proceed with care where pipe work installation occurred around earlier industrial sites, local authority services and building sites from the 1940’s to 1960’s. A lab tested sample is important before proceeding with an asbestos removal quote.
Tanking coatings and bituminous membranes have in the past had asbestos content and any such material requires testing for asbestos as a precaution. A lab tested sample is important before proceeding with an asbestos removal quote.