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K2 Consulting Group is a leading and dynamic asbestos and occupational hygiene consultancy in Sydney and has over 15 years of combined experience in Occupational Hygiene and Environmental Consulting in Australia.
We receive several calls requesting ‘ready to go’ asbestos test kits or ‘instant’ asbestos test kits to determine if the building materials contain asbestos. Asbestos test kits sold in retail or on the internet are not litmus test packs and will not tell you if asbestos is present in the material or not. These kits typically contain basic items for sample collection such as zip lock bags, masks, gloves, cleaning wipes etc.
Asbestos analyser machines available on the market can provide instant results on site however they are not approved by regulators. The only approved method for asbestos testing is laboratory analysis by a NATA accredited asbestos laboratory.
Asbestos test kits from Bunnings have been popular among less experienced DIYers as they are not well informed about the health risks, and financial and legal liabilities of asbestos. A Person Conducting a Business or Undertaking (PCBU) shall be responsible to advise their sub-contractors, tenants or any person involved in the works of any asbestos-related dangers in the premises they have control over. So, it can be your responsibility to manage asbestos risks, though you have a contractor who seems to know and have control over the asbestos-related issues onsite.
If you suspect the presence of asbestos, order an asbestos inspection or an asbestos survey undertaken by one of our licenced asbestos assessors or occupational hygienists. The asbestos survey can identify all asbestos risks and can save you costs during demolition, and renovation projects and avoid lengthy time delays.
NSW SafeWork does not endorse any asbestos test kits or any other electronic onsite analysers for asbestos testing as an approved method. The only authorised method to assess and confirm the presence or absence of asbestos is a laboratory method as per the Australian Standard AS 4964-2004, ‘Method for the qualitative identification of asbestos in bulk samples’, undertaken in a NATA accredited laboratory using Polarized Light Microscopy (PLM) and Dispersion Staining (DS). So, if in doubt, call us and talk to us about the situation and we can guide you through the correct process of asbestos inspection and management.
Asbestos can be present in several locations within the buildings such as wet areas, fireplaces, cooking areas, under the tiles, under the carpet, behind the wall panels etc.
Treat all suspected materials like asbestos, unless otherwise confirmed by a laboratory method. Read here about NSW EPA’s guidance for household renovations.
Currently, laboratory analysis approved by the NATA as per Australian Standards, ‘Method for the qualitative identification of asbestos in bulk samples – AS 4964-2004’ is the only method available to confirm the presence or absence of asbestos in building materials. Onsite electronic analyzers have been used for asbestos testing in Sydney, however, they are not approved by the regulators and cannot be taken as a confirmed result.
The recommended way to test for asbestos is to collect a sample and have it tested by a NATA accredited laboratory. It is best if the asbestos survey is undertaken by an Occupational Hygienist, or a Licenced asbestos assessor and the samples are collected safely.
The asbestos inspection or asbestos surveys are undertaken by licenced asbestos assessors who are recognized by NSW SafeWork or Occupational Hygienists, who are well-experienced and trained to assess and manage asbestos-related situations. Our Occupational Hygienists can provide you with the right and pragmatic advice tailored to suit your project needs, be it a small DIY renovation or a large project where you need a trusted consultant to back you up and provide the right advice throughout the project.
During our inspection, our Licenced Asbestos Assessors also assess the condition of the material, i.e., whether the asbestos material is in a bonded or friable state. Some asbestos products are manufactured in a loose and dry form that can become airborne when minimally disturbed while some bonded products may become friable when any external forces are applied (such as drilling, breaking using machines etc).
Alternatively, drop a sample of your suspected asbestos material and we can get it tested for you in a NATA accredited facility.
If asbestos is detected in any sample, we can advise you on asbestos management or asbestos abatement via asbestos removal using licenced asbestos removalists or other methods such as encapsulation such that the condition of asbestos does not pose a human health risk or environmental risk to your site. We work with industry-leading asbestos removal contractors, and we can put you in touch with them for any asbestos abatement works before the commencement of any demolition works (Read more about our Pre-demolition surveys).
We offer tailored solutions if you have found asbestos in soils. Asbestos in soils is monitored by the local Councils or the NSW EPA in some instances and dealing with such situations can be less informative and stressful. Our Certified Environmental Practitioners (CEnvP) recognised by the NSW EPA can assist you with identifying asbestos in soils and provide you with practical solutions to manage asbestos in soils situation. Read more about asbestos contamination in soils on the NSW EPA Website.
When asbestos is detected in or on soils, asbestos testing will usually involve laboratory analysis of the asbestos fragments and the soils on site. The soil depth and the number of samples will be determined by the Environmental Consultant based on the extent of asbestos contamination. An Environmental Site Assessment report can be prepared based on the findings for the proposed or the current use of the land.