One quarter of all safety hazards identified during pre-purchase building inspections are related to asbestos, according to a building inspection company.
“The most important thing is that homeowners, property managers and tenants are aware that asbestos-containing materials are present so they can be vigilant about the property's management, especially when considering maintenance requirements and renovations,” director of Jim’s Building Inspections Suzanne Commerford said.
“It is when the asbestos-containing material is found in a damaged or degraded condition or it’s in a high-risk environment, such as frequently trafficked areas and those exposed to the elements, which is of greatest concern.”
According to the building inspection company, many of the houses it inspected were built between 1945 and 1980.
“This is the construction period considered by the Australian government to be highly likely that asbestos-containing materials are present,” Ms Commerford said.
She said in many circumstances, leaving asbestos alone was the best course of action.
“Importantly, we are not aligned with any asbestos removal companies who may have a vested interest in overstating the situation,” she said.
Jim’s Building Inspections said it supported the position of the Australian Asbestos Network that the presence of asbestos did not mean residents would get asbestos-related diseases.
The company's warning follow a recent report in which a family discovered their rental property in Melbourne had been contaminated by asbestos.
The company recommends that an asbestos inspection and report be undertaken as part of a pre-purchase building inspection by rental property owners and property managers before tenanting properties, and by managers of workplaces needing registers and management plans for compliance.