While 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 also be found internally and externally, and in wet and dry areas.
However, there are some areas of a building where materials containing asbestos were more commonly used. 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 where necessary. 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.
When asbestos is contained in a bonded form (for example, asbestos cement sheeting), maintained in good condition and left alone, it presents no health risks. Asbestos poses a health risk when asbestos fibres are released into the air and inhaled or ingested.
If materials containing asbestos are damaged or in poor condition, you should arrange for appropriate maintenance or have them removed by a licensed asbestos removalist. Friable materials such as sprayed limpet asbestos or asbestos lagging may require control measures such as removal or encapsulation. Materials containing friable asbestos can only be removed by an A class licensed asbestos removalist.
Please note: this is not an exhaustive list of all the places you may find asbestos in non-residential buildings, but rather it highlights 'hotspots' where asbestos is highly likely to be located in non-residential buildings built before 31 December 2003.
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.