$1.25m spent on asbestos control
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.