Asbestos is present in many buildings constructed before the 1980s. Generally, the presence of asbestos materials do not pose a health risk unless the material is broken, deteriorating or disturbed in such a way that dust containing asbestos fibres is produced (such as during sanding or sawing).
It is difficult to tell whether a material contains asbestos. The only way to be certain is to have a sample of the material tested in an accredited laboratory. If you do not want to test the material then it should be treated as though it contains asbestos.
Asbestos was used in material such as:
- Exterior fibre cement cladding (Fibro), weatherboards (pre-1984) and artificial brick cladding
- All corrugated cement roofing
- Flue pipes (pre-1988)
- Vinyl floor tiles or coverings.
- Ceiling insulation
- Brakes, clutches and gaskets
As a guide, homes built from 1988 onwards should be asbestos free, while homes built before that may contain significant amounts of asbestos.
Generally, asbestos removal should be undertaken only by a licensed removalist. Unlicensed removal of limited amounts of asbestos is permitted in certain circumstances. To find out more, visit www.worksafe.vic.gov.au.