Asbestos in the home
Find out about where asbestos can be in the home and what to do to be safe by clicking the below:
Asbestos safety for householders and home renovators
An asbestos professional can conduct an asbestos assessment (also known as an asbestos survey, asbestos audit or asbestos inspection) to identify whether asbestos-containing materials are present, their location and condition, and provide you with guidance on how to manage the risks.
Download the Arranging a residential asbestos assessment fact sheet
What rules apply to asbestos in the home?
Dealing with asbestos is the responsibility of the homeowner.
Home improvements can disturb asbestos-containing materials and cause health and safety concerns.
Everyone has a duty under common law and public health laws to take reasonable care not to cause harm to another person. This includes preventing the release of airborne asbestos fibres.
Asbestos presents a very real health risk if:
- you renovate without first finding out if your home contains asbestos
- if you don’t use asbestos professionals to make it safe or remove it
- if you work with asbestos material without undergoing specialist training
- if you work with asbestos material without the proper personal protective equipment and don’t follow safe practice.
There are some simple steps you can take to be safe:
- know where asbestos could be in your home. If in doubt, get the product tested, or assume it is asbestos
- plan ahead to prevent disturbing and releasing asbestos fibres, especially when renovating
- safely remove it if damaged or in poor condition
- engage a licensed asbestos removalist when undertaking major home renovations or demolitions where asbestos might be present.
A home or residence can become a workplace when a tradesperson performs work at the property. This could be for any jobs from painting and electrical work, to full home renovations. This means that work health and safety (WHS) laws apply to the work being carried out. This is the case even if you don’t own the property. The legal duties are placed on the contractor not the home occupier.
Asbestos safety concerns can usually be addressed by contacting your:
- local council if the work is being conducted by a neighbour (a home owner or tenant)
- state or territory work health and safety regulator (e.g. WorkSafe or SafeWork) if work is being carried out by a contractor or tradesperson or you suspect improper removal by professional asbestos removalists
- local council or state or territory environmental regulator (e.g. EPA) if the concern relates to public areas or illegally dumped asbestos in parks or bushland.
You will find a list of all these contacts for each state and territory on our asbestos safety concerns page.
Your state or territory work health and safety regulator can also provide details on asbestos assessors and removalists in your state or territory.
Asbestos and insurance
Disaster events such as house fire, bushfire, floods, storms and cyclones occur regularly in Australia.
Cleaning up after a disaster event is significantly more dangerous and more expensive for properties where asbestos is present, and you may find that your insurance doesn’t provide the cover you need.
You can lower your risk of accidental damage and uninsured costs if you check and plan for the presence of asbestos before disaster strikes and, if possible, have it safely removed.
Find out more on our asbestos and insurance page.