FAQ’s

Specialist Asbestos & Hazardous Materials Consultants. Servicing Sydney & NSW

What is asbestos?

Asbestos is a naturally occurring silicate mineral that was widely used in building materials in Australia and around the world for its durability, fire resistance, and insulate properties. The asbestos fibres were often mixed with other materials to form the building products we see in homes and workplaces today.

When was asbestos material used in building products?

Asbestos production started during the post war boom and was used in building products in various forms up until it was phased out in 1987. It wasn’t until December of 2003 when asbestos was totally banned from imports, production and installation in Australia.

As a general rule of thumb, if your building was built after 1990, there is a very slim chance that in contains asbestos. Conversely, if your building was built before 1990, there is a very high likelihood that it contains asbestos.

What is friable and non-friable asbestos?

Friable Asbestos -Friable asbestos products are generally quite loose and, when dry, can be crumbled into fine material or dust with very light pressure, such as crushing with your hand. Friable asbestos is generally referred to as the high-risk form of asbestos, some examples of friable asbestos include:

  • pipe lagging
  • boiler insulation
  • linoleum flooring backing paper

Non-friable Asbestos – Non-friable asbestos products are made from a bonding compound (such as cement) mixed with a small proportion of asbestos. Bonded asbestos products are solid, rigid and non-friable, and cannot be crumbled, pulverised or reduced to powder by hand pressure. Non-friable asbestos is generally referred to as lower risk form of asbestos, some examples include:

  • asbestos cement sheet (fibo)
  • asbestos cement moulded products
  • asbestos vinyl floor tiles

Is asbestos safe if left undisturbed?

Yes, if the asbestos in your home or workplace is in good condition and undisturbed then there is no risk to your health. Ensure you inspect the asbestos regularly to confirm that the condition is not deteriorating.

What are the risks of asbestos exposure?

Asbestos is only a risk to health when the asbestos fibres become airborne and are inhaled into the lungs. Most fibres are removed from your lungs by your body’s natural defences (e.g. coughing); however, some fibres can remain in the lungs. The fibres that are lodged in the lungs scar the inner tissue and can lead to diseases such as asbestosis, lung cancer, and mesothelioma when individuals are exposed to asbestos over a prolonged period of time.

What is Mr Fluffy / Loose-fill asbestos?

Loose-fill asbestos insulation is made from raw unbonded asbestos. In the 1960’s and 1970s this asbestos was pumped into the ceilings in an unknown number of NSW properties. The asbestos insulation was commonly referred to as “Mr Fluffy” as the common commercial supplier of the product. The airborne nature of the product was a major concern as insulation and fibres can migrate over the years to wall cavities, floor spaces, and air conditioning ducts affectively contaminating a large area of the property.

Loose-fill asbestos insulation is among one of the highest risk asbestos products in Sydney, if you wish to have your property tested give us a call today.

I have cut/drilled/demolished an asbestos wall or ceiling, what should I do?

First thing is to remove any contaminated clothing that was warn during the work, collect it in a plastic bag and place it in the area. Isolate the area to make sure no one can access the it and potentially contaminate the area further.

DO NOT use a regular vacuum cleaner to collect the dust and debris. Domestic vacuum cleaners don’t have the proper filters and will further contaminate the area. Once the area is isolated, call a professional like Envirovision Consulting and we can assess the area, take samples, and provide recommendations on the remediation process.

How do I know if the building I own/occupy contains asbestos?

The only definitive way to tell if you have asbestos is to have the material tested at a NATA accredited facility. If you have suspicions that you may have asbestos in your home or workplace Envirovision Consulting can conduct an asbestos survey report which identifies all the asbestos present.

What is an asbestos survey report?

The purpose of an asbestos survey is to identify all accessible asbestos material in the premises. The survey will involve a suitably trained consultant to inspect the premises and take all necessary samples of any suspect material for the presence or absence of asbestos.

The survey is carried out systematically, methodically and diligently to ensure that all relevant areas of the premises are inspected and nothing is missed. The survey will include a tabulated register which lists the location of asbestos present, extent, condition, photographs, as well as recommendations.

How much is an asbestos survey report?

Our surveys are quoted based on the property size, age, and survey requirements. If you would like to request a free quote, fill out the online quote request or alternatively call our Sydney office on 02 9188 0877.

I have received a much cheaper quotation, is there much difference?

Not all surveys are made the same. Many of our competitors in Sydney may draw you in with attractive low quotations, however, they usually have a limit on the number of samples they take to reduce the cost and then charge you for additional samples. We often find these reports are imprecise, vague, and miss important areas.

We don’t work that way. We take the necessary number of samples of suspect material to ensure that your report is accurate and detailed all for the quoted price.

What is an asbestos clearance certificate?

Asbestos clearance certificate inspections are conducted following the asbestos removal works to ascertain whether the materials have been adequately removed from the work area. The inspection will be conducted by one of our licensed asbestos assessors registered under SafeWork NSW.

Ensure that your clearance certificate is independent i.e. one that is not done by your asbestos removalist contractor.

Does Envirovision Consulting provide asbestos removal services?

We are an asbestos and hazardous materials consultancy; therefore, it is a conflict of interest if we also provide asbestos removal services.

We understand that it is hard to find a reputable removal contractor without being in the industry so have a list of well-respected asbestos removal contractors that we can happily refer to you.

How does asbestos air monitoring work?

Asbestos air monitoring collects a sample airborne asbestos fibres to assess the removal control measures. Static air sampling pumps are placed around the work area and collect dust within the filter for between 4-8 hours. These filters are then sent to a NATA accredited facility for analysis. Once the fibres have been analysed, the results will be tabulated and the report for that day’s air monitoring shift will be sent.

Is it required to have asbestos air monitoring during the removal work?

Air monitoring requirements will vary depending on the type of asbestos being removed, the location and position of the asbestos.

Friable asbestos – Asbestos air monitoring is mandatory for all friable asbestos removal.

Non-friable asbestos – Asbestos air monitoring is not required, however, if the removal area is within a close proximity to public places, schools, or neighbours it is always recommended to have air monitoring conducted to satisfy all parties and keep our communities safe.

Is Envriovision consulting licensed and insured to conduct this type of work?

Of course! All our consultants have Science or Occupational Hygiene degrees and are licensed asbestos assessors (LAA) under SafeWork NSW. Additionally, we have all applicable insurances.

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