Asbestos based building materials were used in the construction industry during the 1950's, 1960's, 1970's and 1980's. These materials can no longer be produced, or used in the Australian construction and manufacturing industries due to known associated health risks.
Existing older buildings may contain building elements/materials that contain asbestos. Undisturbed, undamaged and intact asbestos materials are generally considered safe.
Asbestos based materials are potentially dangerous when people build or renovate and start removing, cleaning, cutting, sanding, drilling, grinding or pulling up materials that contain asbestos as asbestos fibres can be released into the air where they can be inhaled.
Building Demolitions and Renovations
A Bonded Asbestos Licence is required to remove, repair or disturb more than 10 square metres of bonded asbestos material such as fibro, corrugated asbestos 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.
The NSW Government has developed some practical information specifically for renovators and homeowners to assist in dealing with asbestos based materials in older buildings.
The NSW Governments publication Asbestos - A Renovator and Homeowner's Guide contains a safety checklist, guidance on safe disposal of fibro and some general tips about what to do if fibro is damaged.
In addition, the SafeWork NSW publishes guidelines and Workplace Health and Safety Regulations concerning working with or handling asbestos.
Any development and/or works being undertaken as "Exempt Development" that may involve the disturbance and/or removal of asbestos based materials is to be undertaken in accordance with the provisions of the SafeWork NSW guidelines and in accordance with Demolition work code of practice 2015 (catalogue WC03841).
When determining a Development Application or Complying Development Certificate, Council imposes appropriate conditions to advise applicants/homeowners of the requirements that apply in NSW in relation to removal of these materials.
Licensing for Asbestos Removal
SafeWork NSW issues both bonded asbestos and friable asbestos licences.
Licences are issued under the NSW Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (WHS Act 2011) and the NSW Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011 (WHS Regulation).
License application forms together with other information in respect to the demolition, health effects, legislation and working with asbestos, are available on the SafeWork NSW website.