Does my home have asbestos containing materials?

If your home was built before 1990 it is likely to have some Asbestos Containing Materials (ACMs).

ACMs were used in more than 3000 products and it is estimated to be in up to one-third of homes across Australia, and can be found on the inside and outside of homes. Most building materials that contain ACM in a domestic home are safe if they are in good condition, sealed and left alone.

Inside, asbestos cement wall sheeting could be painted, wallpapered or tiled. Some sheet vinyl flooring types may have an ACM backing or there could be products such as ‘Tilux’ used in the bathroom.

Outside, ACMs were often used in various profiles such as wall cladding, under eaves or as corrugated Super Six roof sheeting. Asbestos was also used in vent pipes and the surrounds of disconnector traps, or even the backing board to an electrical switchboard.

ACMs may be found either firmly or loosely bound in a number of products once used in the Australian building industry, including:

  • roofing and shingles
  • under eaves
  • exterior wall cladding
  • interior walls and wet areas
  • fencing
  • thermal boards around fireplaces and in switch boards
  • backing material on floor tiles and vinyl flooring
  • gaskets and seals in wood stoves
  • textured paint
  • garages and workshops
  • the brakes, clutches and gaskets of cars
  • insulation used on hot water pipes, hot water cylinders, domestic heaters and stoves
  • More examples of ACMs with pictures are available here. 

Will I do my own renovation or get a licensed professional to help?

If less than 10m² of non-friable asbestos is to be removed or disturbed, you don’t need a licence, but you still need to take precautions to avoid exposure to asbestos fibres for both yourself and others.

You must also ensure that you comply with all relevant legislation regarding the removal, transport and disposal of the ACM.

Non-friable ACMs are rigid and the fibres are tightly bound together in a substance, such as cement. A common non-friable ACM is fibro, also known as asbestos cement or AC sheeting.

Friable ACMs are loosely bound together and can easily crumble under hand pressure. They are only to be removed by a licensed Class A asbestos removalist. A common friable asbestos product is found in the backing to some sheet vinyl floor coverings.

If you are employing any contractors on the property, regardless of the trade, and ACM is present, it is a workplace as defined by the Work Health and Safety Act and WorkSafe Tasmania is the relevant authority.

You should direct any enquiries to WorkSafe Tasmania on 1300 366 322. The Council will only become involved where a home owner (i.e. no contractors are working on the property) is removing ACM.

Please note that Council does not administer the Work Health and Safety legislation.

I have more than 10m² of non-friable ACM to remove. What do I do now?

Council administers the Environmental Management and Pollution Control Act 1994. As ACM is a Controlled Waste, council can issue an Environment Protection Notice to prevent the likelihood of environmental harm or nuisance.

Should you wish to remove more than 10m² of ACM, Council may issue an Environment Protection Notice under Environmental Management and Pollution Control Act 1994 requiring that you cannot remove the ACM yourself and you need to engage a licensed asbestos removalist.