$1.25m spent on as­bestos con­trol

Western Leader - - YOUR PAPER, YOUR PLACE - ZIZI SPARKS

Auck­land Coun­cil have spent about $1.25 mil­lion on as­bestos-re­lated work in the past two years.

In­for­ma­tion pro­vided in an Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment Of­fi­cial In­for­ma­tion and Meet­ings Act re­quest re­vealed as­bestos work, in­clud­ing con­trol or re­moval, had taken place at 17 lo­ca­tions in 11 lo­cal boards around Auck­land be­tween June 2015 and April 2017.

Six of those lo­ca­tions were in the Rod­ney Lo­cal Board area and the Hibis­cus and Bays Lo­cal Board area.

The in­for­ma­tion noted as­bestosre­lated costs were of­ten not separated from over­all cap­i­tal or re­pair and main­te­nance costs, and may only in­volve lab­o­ra­tory test­ing, with no fur­ther work if re­sults were neg­a­tive. In other cases, it may have in­volved con­trol mea­sures like re­moval or seal­ing.

‘‘As­bestos con­trol and re­moval is reg­u­larly car­ried out on coun­cil fa­cil­i­ties as a pre­cau­tion­ary mea­sure to pre­vent po­ten­tial risks to the com­mu­nity, as re­quired by health and safety reg­u­la­tions,’’ the in­for­ma­tion re­vealed.

As­bestos-re­lated work was car­ried out at the Tor­bay Com­mu­nity Hall, Mairangi Arts Cen­tre, and East Coast Bays Com­mu­nity Cen­tre in the Hibis­cus and Bays area.

Sec­re­tary of the New Zealand De­mo­li­tion and As­bestos As­so­ci­a­tion Terry Cole­man said the Health and Safety at Work (As­bestos) Reg­u­la­tions, in­tro­duced in April 2016, meant all com­mer­cial prop­er­ties built be­fore 2000 needed to be sur­veyed for as­bestos. This in­cluded schools, char­i­ties and any premise be­ing used to make money.

‘‘What­ever your sit­u­a­tion, you have a re­spon­si­bil­ity that no one is put at harm, so you have to have con­trols in place, if work­ing with as­bestos or if your build­ing has it,’’ Cole­man said.

‘‘Ef­fec­tively all coun­cil build­ings built be­fore 2000 need a man­age­ment sur­vey and a sur­vey on the build­ing to look for as­bestos and to as­sess the con­di­tion of it. It doesn’t mat­ter if it’s an of­fice or a stor­age shed.’’

Cole­man said build­ing own­ers had a re­spon­si­bil­ity to know where as­bestos was and what state it was in. He said not all as­bestos was dan­ger­ous or a risk but, if as­bestos was found, the high­est-risk ar­eas would be dealt to first.

The re­sponse said as­bestos was only harm­ful when air­borne, breathed in and set­tled into the lungs.

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