New Asbestos Removal Regulations in NZ

August 16, 2018

Asbestos removal regulations and how they could affect you in 2018

Asbestos has been around in New Zealand since the second world war and was a key component in many building and heat protection products across the country. Discovered by the Greeks in ancient times, asbestos captured their attention by its amazing ability to resist heat. When mixed with clay it provided robust cooking utensils, some of which are still around 3000 years later.

In the 1970’s the effects of exposure to asbestos fibres on humans (asbestosis) was brought into the spotlight and the use of asbestos containing materials restricted in 2000. The importation of Asbestos containing materials was banned in 2016.

Roll forward to 2018 and asbestos is still a big problem in many countries including New Zealand. On the recommendation of the Minister for Workplace Relations and Safety, a regulatory document was published in New Zealand in 2016 as a guide for the asbestos abatement programme happening throughout the country. Coupled with the Approved Code of Practice gave solid guidelines for all asbestos removal. It was intended to support the asbestos testing, surveying and removal industry by providing foundations for training and certification.

This certification also allowed building owners to engage professional companies to help prepare a plan to identify asbestos and dispose of safely and efficiently: http://www.legislation.govt.nz/regulation/public/2016/0015/latest/DLM6729706.html

The document is known as “The Health and Safety at Work (Asbestos) Regulations 2016” and has paved the way forward for safety in the industry. It provided a stable platform for interested parties to train people appropriately and become licenced in many aspects of asbestos removal. Building owners are also undertaking management plans for their asbestos risk.

We have seen professional asbestos consultancy firms, asbestos testing companies and professional asbestos removal companies formed to help with the programme. Cake Commercial Services' Hazmat division was set up in anticipation of the legislation change to service new and existing customers with a high level of Quality and Services, which we are able to achieve through our extensive experience and triple rated management system. As part of the triple rated management system we hold the highest accreditation for a certified Asbestos management system being OHSAS 18001.

Important note for property owners and PBCU

In April 2018 the regulations were passed into legislation carrying severe penalties for non compliance, particularly if any asbestos is detected as airborne particles. Part of the problem for building owners is identifying asbestos containing material (known as ACM) and Asbestos Containing Dust (ACD) to form an Asbestos Management plan undertaken by a competent person or a licensed Asbestos Assessor.

With fines of up to $50,000 it is important for building owners to engage a certified experienced asbestos surveying company to identify where the asbestos is located and ensure nothing is missed.

A PCBU is a person conducting a business or associated with that business. It's a broad saying used throughout the asbestos industry to describe all types of people and property owners who we commonly refer to as businesses.

Asbestos removal companies work closely with asbestos surveying and testing firms to help ensure the legal requirements for property owners and PCBU is met and also so the government have an audit trail for the disposal.

Cake Commercial Services' Hazmat division has undertaken many projects to successfully remove and dispose of asbestos. This includes asbestos located in ceilings, roofs, and underground. In the case of asbestos being located underground, the contaminated ground was separated with Bidim cloth and the asbestos dust and asbestos in the soil removed successfully. Asbestos can be found in a range of areas such as external cable ducts for example, hence why having an experienced Licenced Asbestos Assessor is critical.

The classifications of the asbestos removal licences falls into two parts.

Having a Class A certificate means the Licensed Asbestos Assessor can dispose of asbestos dust and fibres safely, whereas a Class B licence allows solid objects only. At Cake Commercial we are certified as a Class A and Class B provider. Class A is any amount of friable or non friable Asbestos over 10m2. This is for such circumstances as asbestos containing dust pipe lagging, textured ceilings and asbestos insulation board. Class B is bonded non friable sheet material such as super six roofing, asbestos fibre cement sheeting commonly found on building soffits and wall claddings. Asbestos containing dust can be Class B if it is associated with the removal of class B bonded material.

Before Abestos Roof Coating
Before Asbestos Roof Coating
After Asbestos Roof Coating
After Asbestos Roof Coating

Asbestos roofs. Replaced or repaired?

When dealing with asbestos roofs, many building owners assume they need to remove and replace the roof straight away. This is not always the case. A professional and experienced asbestos removal company may be able to encapsulate the roofing material as a way to make the area safe.

Encapsulation is stated as being a temporary solution by the approved codes of practice and encapsulated material needs to be inspected every 5 years to ensure the area is safe. The encapsulating company may be able to provide a warranty on a case by case basis however the asbestos roof product may still need to be removed in the future.

It always pays to get a opinion from a professional certified consultant first. For more information please click here.

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