Asbestos Safety and Home Improvement Research 

22 Nov 2021

The Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency (ASEA) partnered with SEC Newgate Australia to conduct an online survey with home improvers to evaluate asbestos knowledge, attitudes and behaviours.

ASEA commissioned this research to compare results and analyse change from the benchmark survey conducted in 2020. However, in comparison to the 2020 benchmark survey, the scope of this research was broadened to include all home improvers rather than those that engaged solely in DIY projects.

Home improvers include anyone undertaking home improvement projects from small maintenance or improvements to large renovations – including those who outsource all or some of the project. 

With two in three adults inclined to undertake home improvement projects big or small – with or without professional help – this underscores the importance of improving the asbestos safety knowledge and capacity of this cohort.

Key findings include: 

  • 67% of Australians are home improvers
  • 38% has worked on a property with asbestos risk (built before 1990)
  • 46% cited pandemic-related motivations for home improvement projects
  • Online videos, hardware shops and family/friends are the top sources of home improvement inspiration and information
  • 70%+ agree that builders, governments hardware shops and home improvement shows should provide asbestos information 
  • Compared to other risks, asbestos is seen as less likely but more serious. Only 6% mention asbestos as a risk without being prompted. 
  • 22% have contacted an asbestos specialist in the past, and 38% feel professional assistance is too expensive. However, 15% believe you don’t need training or specialist knowledge. 
  • 20% of those who had found asbestos admitted to inappropriate (illegal) disposal – most commonly placing it in their household (red) bin.

Additionally, a formal segmentation analysis was undertaken for the first time, to provide a more nuanced understanding of different ‘home improvers’ – using demographic, socioeconomic, behavioural and attitudinal traits to identify five distinct clusters of similar people to help prioritise future communications and engagement activities. From most to least at risk, they are: 

  • financially vulnerable DIYers (27% of the total home improver audience);
  • multicultural young urbanites (21%);
  • well-heeled DIY enthusiasts (8%);
  • financially comfortable families (16%); and 
  • cautious older outsourcers (28%).

To gain a deeper understanding of these segments, ASEA partnered with ThinkPlace Australia to undertake a qualitative study in the form of interviews and focus groups to gauge if there are are demographic differences which impact attitude and behaviours towards asbestos safety. 

The report from ASEA and SEC Newgate Australia is available here. 

The report from ASEA and ThinkPlace Australia is available here.