Asbestos is a fibrous mineral that was widely used in the manufacture of building materials and other products. Asbestos cement products were commonly manufactured in WA from 1921 to 1987. In Australia, the use of asbestos was phased out in the manufacture of building products during the 1980’s, and completely banned in 2003.
The most common product used in residential properties was asbestos cement, which typically contained 10-15% asbestos. Asbestos cement products pose little risk to health when they are in good condition and undisturbed. However, homeowners must take precautions when removing the products, renovating or carrying out maintenance works.
Where were asbestos products used in homes?
Asbestos was added to building products to increase their strength durability, fire resistance and insulation properties. It is commonly found in:
- asbestos cement roofs and eaves
- indoor and outdoor asbestos cement wall sheeting
- external feature cladding materials
- asbestos cement fencing
- paper backing material on sheet linoleum
- backing panels in meter boxes
- textured paints – especially in wet areas
- vinyl floor tiles
- thermal insulation boards around fireplaces
- gaskets and rope door seal in wood stoves
- Carpet underlay
Who Can Remove Asbestos
The removal of more than 10 square metres of asbestos may only be carried out by persons whom have obtained an asbestos removal license. Please refer to the Worksafe website for a list of restricted and unrestricted license holders.
The removal of less than 10 square meters of asbestos is not required to be carried out by a person holding an asbestos removal license. However, compliance with legislation is still required. The following document Asbestos – A Guide for Householders the General Public, produced by the Environmental Health Standing Committee (enHealth), provides useful information to enable householders to sensibly and safely manage the risks arising from any occasional encounter with asbestos materials in and around their homes.
There are a number of agencies and regulations that govern various aspects of Asbestos. The following information can assist you in directing your query to the appropriate agency.
Department of Water and Environmental Regulation
Regulates and provides advice on the safe transport and disposal of asbestos materials.
Phone: 6467 5359. Visit the Department of Environmental Regulation
Department of Health – Environmental Health Hazards Unit
The Department of Health (DoH) regulates and provides advice on the safe handling of asbestos materials in both the public and residential sectors. Guidance is also provided on the management of asbestos contaminated soil. Phone: 9388 4999
Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety
Regulates safe asbestos practices in the resources industry. Phone: 9358 8079. Visit the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety website
The Town of Bassendean Health Services enforce the Department of Health asbestos regulatory requirements and provide advice on local asbestos issues.
Department of Commerce - NOW IN MINING - NEED TO AMALGATE INFO – WorkSafe
- regulates and audits all aspects of asbestos in workplaces;
- licenses asbestos removalists;
- conduct periodic audits of licensed persons.
Department of Education
The Department of Education (DoE) manages asbestos issues in school buildings and other facilities under the control of the Department.
Phone: 9264 4111
Manages asbestos issues associated with its properties.
Visit their Reporting Maintenance webpage
Phone: 1300 137 677 (maintenance issues)
Department of Finance – Building Management and Works
Building Management and Works leads the planning and delivery of new government buildings, such as schools, hospitals, prisons, courts and police stations. Phone: 6551 1000.