The builder in this case study had been working on the main bathroom in a residential home for a full week before Safe Environments became involved. The fittings had been stripped, flooring removed and walls destroyed in preparation for a brand new bathroom. The home owners trusted that this registered builder knew what he was talking about, unfortunately, he did not. The builder wrongfully assumed the walls of the bathroom were free of asbestos.
Safe Environments was hired to identify possible asbestos containing materials within the bedroom and ensuite of this residential home before continuing with the renovation. Upon arrival our asbestos consultant noticed dust and debris throughout the house as a result of the main bathroom renovation. Upon further inspection it was confirmed that the wall lining within the bathroom was an asbestos cement product which had been completely torn down by this point. The builder had informed the home owners that the product did not contain asbestos because “it was not labelled as asbestos containing”. Unfortunately, he was wrong and did not confirm, through asbestos testing to AS 4964 as whether the material contained asbestos. By the time Safe Environments arrived asbestos contaminated dust and debris could be found in almost every room of the house. Thankfully the home owners had not been living in the house which was now full of friable asbestos.
Friable asbestos removalist had to be called in to clean up the asbestos dust and debris, an expensive and lengthy process. The builder had exposed the family whom owned the home and himself to airborne asbestos fibres as a result of his incorrect assumption regarding asbestos. Don’t let this happen to you. Unless a material is tested in a NATA accredited laboratory like ours at Safe Environments, you cannot be sure if it contains asbestos or not. Be safe, not sorry, have an asbestos inspection of your home before you start your next renovation. Do not wait until it is too late.
Failure to inspect this house for asbestos lead to exposure to airborne asbestos fibres, a lengthy delay and hefty price tag for this bathroom renovation
Author: Amy Morris
Amy Morris is a Property Risk Assessor at Safe Environments Victoria with a Bachelor of Science (Forensic Science) and associated Biology major and Forensic Chemistry sub-major. Having worked both nationally and internationally in her field Amy is familiar with current standards and legislation for asbestos and other hazardous substances. Trained under Safe Environments NATA endorsed training program she regularly conducts residential and commercial asbestos inspections and provides consulting services to individuals and companies.