In the ACT, if your house was built before 1985, there's a good chance that it contains asbestos (though this date may vary slightly in some cases).
The Government has developed generic advice (Asbestos Advice) about the likely location of asbestos in residential premises built before 1985. This Asbestos Advice is based on the findings of an asbestos survey of over 600 homes undertaken by the ACT Asbestos Task Force in 2005. ACT laws require sellers and lessors of residential premises to provide the Asbestos Advice with a contract for sale and with a residential tenancy agreement. The law also requires building certifiers to provide the Asbestos Advice when issuing a building approval.
While, for residential housing, the majority of building products containing asbestos were phased out in the 1980s, other materials containing asbestos continued to be used in plant rooms and other equipment until more recently. These materials can be found internally and externally, and in wet and dry areas. However, the age of a product or material does not always indicate whether it may contain asbestos. Also, given the range of generic products that were once manufactured using asbestos fibres, it can be difficult to tell whether a product or material contains asbestos just by looking at it.
There are some areas of a building where materials containing asbestos were more commonly used. For example, asbestos is commonly found under eaves and in wet areas. However, the most accurate way to detect whether or not asbestos is present is to have a licensed asbestos assessor inspect and test the product or material. Attempting to sample the material or product yourself, can be more hazardous than leaving it alone. If you're not sure whether a product or material contains asbestos, it's safest to treat it as though it does and take the necessary precautions.
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Please note: this is not an exhaustive list of all the places you may find asbestos in residential buildings, but rather it highlights 'hotspots' where asbestos is likely to be located in homes built before 1985.
Click here for information on how to safely work with asbestos.
Click here for information on how to safely remove asbestos.
Click here for information on how to safely dispose of asbestos.