Including Commercial, Strata Title Properties, Investment and Rental Homes, Schools and Public Use Facilities
A commercial property is defined as one that is owned or operated with the intention of making a profit, generating income or used to accommodate public gatherings or meetings (schools, sporting, social, workers clubs etc.) and also properties that come within ‘strata title’ legislation, such as apartment buildings; flats; townhouses; home and industrial units; retail shops; offices etc. In the broad sense this also includes, schools and public use facilities – in other words, virtually any building or facility that is not a home occupied by an owner.
Persons responsible for the management of commercial properties must have an Asbestos Register completed, for the properties to be compliant with regulations. This includes owners and body corporates (strata title properties), or appointed managers, including anyone in charge of a Government School or Public Use Facility; ‘mums and dads’ investors who own homes, apartments, units, factories and/or other properties for investment or rent; and office bearers and officials of clubs and associations. It also includes anyone who buys a house as a DIY project with the view for it to be a rental/investment property, or to on sell and make a profit.
The Acts, Regulations and Codes of Practice do vary in each state and territory – however it is mandatory for all commercial properties to have an up-to-date Asbestos Register on the premises. Part of the package of responsibilities an employer or commercial property owner/manager has, is to have an Asbestos Policy that includes:
- Identifying installed asbestos materials (if any), or the likely position of hidden asbestos containing material, by a licensed asbestos assessor.
- Maintaining an asbestos register of the type, condition and location of the asbestos. If the property is deemed asbestos free, the register must state this, and how this was determined.
- Making the register available to specified people, including any:
- Inspector/auditor authorised by the commissioner or director of the Workplace Health & Safety Authority of the relevant state or territory;
- Employees, or tradesperson who may be engaged to work on the property.
- Person who in the course of their work may come into contact with any known, or likely asbestos containing material as recorded in the Asbestos Register; and
- Owner (of a strata titled property), tenant, lessee or occupier of the building.
- If the property contains asbestos, or is likely to contain asbestos:
- Assessment of the condition of any asbestos containing material found to determine if it needs to be removed, or can be left in place and controlled.
- Training nominated people on asbestos awareness; and if they are required to work with asbestos – how to make safe, maintain or deal with an asbestos emergency; and
- Monitoring the condition of the asbestos at least annually.
If a commercial property has been deemed to contain asbestos, is likely to contain asbestos, or cannot be conclusively ruled out as containing asbestos, after being assessed and sample tested by a licensed ‘asbestos assessor’, companies, organsations, body corporates, and/or individual property investors should appoint an Asbestos Register Controller as the person responsible for looking after asbestos issues in a workplace, in a body corporate controlled building, commercial or investment property.This person will be responsible for, or delegate, people who are responsible for:
Inducting anyone who is to be employed, engaged to work on or in, or is renting or leasing the property into the dangers of asbestos, where it is, and precautions that should be taken;
- Training and supporting the people mentioned above in asbestos matters;
- Maintaining the Asbestos Register; and
- Ensuring all identified asbestos containing material or products are maintained in a safe condition or removed according to best practice procedures and legislation.
Do you, or your organisation have an Asbestos Register Controller? Is that person readily known and easily found?
Is the Asbestos Register for your property, or one that you occupy or operate, easily located and/or viewable?
The mere presence of asbestos in a building does not mean that the health of building occupants is endangered. However, asbestos materials can become hazardous when, due to damage, disturbance, or deterioration over time, they release fibres into the air.
Under these conditions, when asbestos containing material is damaged or disturbed – for example, by maintenance repairs conducted without proper controls – elevated airborne asbestos concentrations can create a potential hazard for workers and other building occupants.
Asbestos may have been used in the construction of the building you have bought into; or are occupying, renting, leasing or working in – you are entitled to see the building’s Asbestos Register and should have been inducted about asbestos by the Asbestos Register Controller of the building.