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K2 Consulting Group is leading asbestos, occupational hygiene consultancy and environmental consultant in Sydney and has completed over 400 projects since 2019. We are a team of scientists and engineers, and we aim to provide pragmatic and innovative solutions to our clients. We assist our clients throughout the project and support them through the completion of the project.
There are 6 types of asbestos based on their mineral structure. Chrysotile (white asbestos), amosite (brown asbestos), crocidolite (blue asbestos), Actinolite, Tremolite and Actinophyllite. In Australia, the first three varieties of asbestos were widely used.
Over 4000 people die every year due to asbestos-related diseases in Australia. Yes, you read it right, three times the annual national road fatalities. While most of the numbers were related to past occupational exposure to asbestos, the remaining people were never exposed to asbestos in an occupational setting and were mainly victims of accidental exposure caused by someone else.
It can take many years or more after the initial exposure, for the disease symptoms to become evident. Asbestos-related diseases include mesothelioma (which takes about 20-40 years to develop), asbestosis – an asbestos-related cancer of the lung, asbestos-related pleural disease, pleural plaques, pleural effusion and atelectasis. Well, they do not sound pleasant, do they?
Remember, there is no safe level of asbestos exposure. The degree of asbestos-related risk increases with the duration of exposure and the concentration of the airborne asbestos fibres.
DIY renovators and some builders with little knowledge about asbestos are the group of people likely to be exposed to asbestos fibres during renovations. Asbestos is hidden in some locations and hence it is not always readily visible. If you are concerned about asbestos materials in your residential premises, talk to an experienced builder or an asbestos professional like us.
If you are someone thinking about starting that project you have been thinking about for a long time, have you considered the presence of asbestos at your house?
We present to you some facts related to asbestos in homes:
● 57% of Australians are ‘DIYers’.
● 40% have worked on a risky property (built between 1940 and 1990) containing asbestos in the last five years.
● At least 35% acted inappropriately when handling and disposing of asbestos, which is 3 in 10 people potentially exposed themselves to asbestos.
● Asbestos was the top health concern among 57% of the DIYers above other health risks such as electricity and gas (yes, the asbestos risk was above any electrical risk – see chart below).
● 83% of DIYers had no or little knowledge about asbestos.
● The first and second waves of exposure affected asbestos miners and construction personnel.
● This new third wave of exposure appears to affect DIY (Do-it-yourself) renovators, who may not realise that their families are being exposed to asbestos.
If you have any doubts about asbestos in your premises, refer to NSW EPA’s guidance for household renovations here.
Asbestos can be present in several locations within the house and an indicative sketch is provided below. If in doubt, asbestos materials should be tested in a NATA accredited laboratory using approved methods. There are no other approved methods outside laboratory analysis. Treat all suspected materials like asbestos, unless otherwise confirmed by the laboratory method.
To find out the location of asbestos in your property, contact us to enquire about our asbestos testing in Sydney services. If you are a homeowner, your asbestos situation should be managed by a professional, from an insurance point of view, as your home insurance will likely not cover you for any asbestos-related incidents. As a homeowner, you can be fully liable for any asbestos-related incidents to your property, your neighbours and public infrastructure, even if you engage a contractor.
Asbestos removalists in Sydney are licenced professionals who are authorised by NSW SafeWork to undertake asbestos removal. They must hold active asbestos removal licences to undertake any asbestos removal in Sydney.
An unlicenced person can remove up to 10 m2 of non-friable (bonded) asbestos or ACM, while any bonded asbestos over 10 m2 and any friable asbestos (such as asbestos in soils) shall be removed by a licenced removalist.
There are two types of asbestos licences as stipulated by NSW SafeWork:
● Class A: Removalists can remove any amount of friable and non-friable (bonded) asbestos.
● Class B: Removalists can remove any amount of non-friable (bonded) asbestos. They cannot remove any friable asbestos.
But wait… Bonded asbestos can be made friable during the removal works hence necessary controls must be implemented before the commencement of removal. The risks should be assessed by an asbestos occupational hygienist such as K2 Consulting Group.
Asbestos air monitoring by an Occupational Hygienist is recommended during the removal of non-friable (bonded) materials, as it gives you some peace of mind for a small additional cost. Upon completion of all asbestos removal works, an asbestos clearance certificate must be issued by a Competent Person or a Licenced Asbestos Assessor such as K2 Consulting Group before the premises can be re-occupied.
Some asbestos removalists in Sydney quote you based on cost per m2, while some removalists provide you with a lump sum fee (again based on the sq. plus other costs such as disposal costs).
Again, the adage, the cheapest quote is not always the suit very well in this scenario. Reputed asbestos contractors may charge you a little extra but can do an impeccable removal job.
We recommend that you obtain a few quotes and finalise an asbestos removalist in Sydney based on their previous records and references. Asbestos in soil removals will need a removalist who understands the NSW legislation and have previous experience in the remediation of asbestos in soils. To avoid costly mistakes, all asbestos in soil works must be assessed by a Certified Environmental Practitioner (CEnvP) and all soil remediation must be undertaken in consultation with the Consultant.
In recent years, the market has been flooded with asbestos removalists in Sydney, where contractors with lesser experience and knowledge about asbestos have been undertaking asbestos removal works. In some cases, NSW SafeWork has identified dodgy contractors who have been undertaking asbestos removal in Sydney without proper paperwork and sometimes without correct licences too.
The following things are what you need to ask your asbestos removalists in Sydney:
● Licences of the Company (Class A or Class B)
● Licences of the personnel involved in the removal works
● Supervisor’s licence
● Details of insurances (Public liability including asbestos liability)
● Details of relevant experience
● Business references, so you can verify their credibility
● Details of asbestos disposal receipts
● Word of mouth reference
● Have the regulators been notified of the asbestos removal works
K2 Consulting Group does not undertake any asbestos removal in Sydney. We are certified consultants and Occupational Hygienists in Sydney and cannot undertake any works that may cause a conflict of interest. However, we work with reputed asbestos removalists in Sydney, who can provide you with a reasonable quote and undertake asbestos removal in a clean and hassle-free manner.
It is always best to engage an Occupational Hygienist to undertake asbestos testing in Sydney and understand the extent of asbestos risk before commencing asbestos removal. You can engage a Consultant like K2 Consulting Group to undertake asbestos air monitoring and supervision of asbestos removal in Sydney, as it gives you additional assurance in sensitive sites such as schools, childcare, hospitals, and other public areas such as shopping centres and government buildings.
NSW Legislation and Work Health and Safety Regulation 2017, has stipulated some general duties of care to the Person Conducting a Business or Undertaking (PCBU), related to the management of asbestos, some of which are listed below.
● Must ensure that exposure of a person at the workplace to airborne asbestos is eliminated as far as is reasonably practicable;
● Must ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that all asbestos or ACM at the workplace is identified by a competent person;
● May identify asbestos or ACM by arranging for a sample of material at the workplace to be analysed for the presence of asbestos or ACM;
● Must identify the presence and location of asbestos or ACM identified at the workplace under clause 422;
● Can indicate the presence and location of the asbestos or ACM by a label, if it is reasonably practicable to do so;
● Must ensure that a register (an asbestos register) is prepared and kept at the workplace (for buildings built before 2003 or no asbestos has been identified in the workplace);
● Must ensure that the asbestos register is maintained to ensure the information in the register is up to date and reviewed as required or at least once every 5 years;
● Is not required to prepare an asbestos register for a workplace if a register has already been prepared for that workplace;
● Must ensure that the asbestos register is readily accessible to all workers, safety representatives, and all personnel using the premises;
● Must ensure that a written plan (an asbestos management plan) for the workplace is prepared if asbestos is identified on the premises;
● Must ensure that, before demolition or refurbishment is carried out at the workplace, the asbestos register for the workplace is reviewed and if the register is inadequate having regard to the proposed demolition or refurbishment;
● Must ensure that the contractor undertaking the demolition or refurbishment is given a copy of the asbestos register before the demolition or refurbishment is commenced;
● Must obtain a copy of the asbestos register from the person with management or control of the workplace before the person commences the demolition or refurbishment;
● Must ensure that all asbestos that is likely to be disturbed by the demolition is identified and so far, as is reasonably practicable, that the asbestos is removed before the demolition is commenced and an asbestos clearance certificate is obtained.
The above information was collected from various sources including Asbestos Safety Eradication Agency (asbestossafety.gov.au), asbestos.nsw.gov.au, NSW SafeWork and NSW Legislation WHS Regulation 2017 and published in good faith for educational purposes only. For accurate information, please refer to relevant sections on their website.
Have you ever considered the liability of asbestos (cost implications and health risks) when purchasing your new property?
If you have purchased a property recently or in a cooling-off period in a property transaction, it is recommended that you understand the risks from asbestos in the property. Have you considered undertaking an environmental assessment on the property?
Asbestos testing or asbestos survey involves a careful survey of all areas in the building, collection of necessary samples that may contain asbestos and preparation of an asbestos report. It is not safe to assume the presence or absence of asbestos in buildings and if in doubt it is always best to test for asbestos by a NATA accredited laboratory. Our licenced asbestos assessors can assist you with a detailed survey of the building, collect and analyse asbestos samples and issue you an asbestos report within the same or following business day.
If you are buying a large property where you are concerned about the presence of asbestos in soils, we can assist you in assessing the soils and provide you with an environmental report which you can be used in considering the purchase. Our environmental consultants are accredited certified environmental practitioners (CEnvP) to undertake contaminated land investigations (environmental assessments) as required by the NSW EPA and local councils. We undertake preliminary or detailed environmental assessments based on the requirements. We are also accredited licenced asbestos assessors and we offer a one-stop shop for all your advice related to asbestos in soils.
Alternatively, send us your samples and we can undertake asbestos testing in Sydney and issue you with a NATA accredited laboratory asbestos report.
K2 Consulting Group offers asbestos inspection and asbestos testing services across Greater Sydney and other areas in NSW. Please feel free to contact us on 1800 523 000 if you would like to talk to an environmental consultant or a Hygienist.
K2 Enviro Solutions has a team of Occupational Hygienists who are experienced and trained to undertake asbestos inspections, asbestos surveys and asbestos assessments in residential and commercial premises. Our Occupational Hygienists are licenced asbestos assessors recognised by the NSW SafeWork and can undertake asbestos inspections and provide advice on the management of asbestos in the workplace and residential premises.
We offer a one-stop solution to all your asbestos requirements and can recommend you good asbestos removal companies if you are unable to choose one.
Our typical asbestos inspection or asbestos survey involves visiting the property, careful survey of the condition of the material (bonded or friable asbestos), collection of asbestos samples and asbestos testing in a NATA accredited laboratory. The results are usually issued within the same or following business day, depending on the time of the survey. Our charges are nominal, and we aim to issue the asbestos analysis results the following day without surcharges.
Asbestos inspection and asbestos testing form a crucial part of the building works, whether you are renovating the building or undertaking complete demolition works. Any asbestos, if not identified properly, can make its way to the soil through poor material handling practices and the problem has then shifted to a bigger scale, where you must manage asbestos in soils. It is best to engage a Licenced Asbestos Assessor or an Occupational Hygienist independent of the asbestos removalist or the demolition contractor so that you can obtain an unbiased opinion of the asbestos removal work. It is also critical to obtain an asbestos clearance certificate after all removal works are completed and before any other normal works resume.
We undertake a comprehensive asbestos survey of the building materials and work with the demolition contractor to ensure that the knowledge transfer occurs in a seamless pattern and produce a detailed asbestos report to aid in the demolition works.
Asbestos test kits have been popular among the DIYers, and we receive numerous enquiries if we supply one or if a kit can be sourced from Bunnings. The short answer to this question is: NO. There is no such asbestos test kit that is available on the market that can tell you whether asbestos is present in your building or not. The only way to confirm the presence or absence of asbestos is via accredited laboratory based asbestos testing.
Asbestos exposure remains a regret for many Australians as they accidentally expose themselves to a risky situation during minor building works such as bathroom renovations, drilling through asbestos sheets for electrical and plumbing works and kitchen renovations. Once the bonded asbestos is damaged and made loose and friable, it is difficult to contain and it travels to other parts of the premises via foot traffic, air movements and material cross-contamination.
If in doubt call us and a Hygienist will visit your property to assist you further.