Wednesday, February 12 2014
Asbestos materials of various types were commonly used in Australian property construction between 1940 and 1990. Asbestos materials were embedded in wall cladding, roofs, gutters, drain pipes, vinyl flooring, electrical wiring thermal insulation, boilers, exhaust pipes, switchboards, thermal insulation and inside fire doors.
The new National Work Health and Safety Act of 2011 requires owners of buildings constructed before 2003 to conduct an asbestos survey. Where asbestos materials are identified, this triggers the mandatory requirement for an asbestos register and asbestos management plan (AMP). Some property owners appear to be unaware of this new obligation.
An asbestos register is necessary to track of asbestos materials remaining (or removed) in investment properties. Asbestos may also be located in inaccessible areas and unfortunately discovered during re-development with sometimes disastrous and costly results. Asbestos materials if disturbed can cross contaminate internal areas of the buildings, requiring evacuation, loss of rent and potential occupant litigation.
Asbestos removal is a legally notifiable project, which can result in extremely costly asbestos removal projects. Careful investigation during due diligence can forewarn investors, revealing the true cost of asbestos removal. Armed with detailed information and cost options, investors can then more accurately evaluate if they wish to proceed with the purchase or avoid the risk.