Don’t be part of the problem!

Asbestos is an over-looked and ever present danger for Commercial Properties in NSW

Asbestos was once considered the “Miracle Material” in Australia; It’s cheap, it is highly heat resistant and its fibres could be mixed with concrete to strengthen its properties. Little did we know that this highly available and cost-effective material would prove deadly to humans, with its fibre exposure causing mesothelioma, asbestosis and, in some cases, lung cancer. The discovery of this hidden and ever-present danger for Australian commercial property and construction site employees lead to Asbestos’s mining and usage ban on December 31st, 2003. You might think you are safe, but asbestos is still a threat to communities, and the environment across Australia.

Despite its nationwide ban over two decades ago, Asbestos remains a real and present danger for those involved in building projects across the country, including Regional & Northern NSW, as well as The Hunter/Newcastle region. As a company, we understand the instinct to save a dollar or two when sourcing products and materials, but when it comes to Asbestos, it’s not worth it. This is not a material that you want anywhere near your commercial property, construction sites, and especially your employees. Purchasing asbestos-containing materials puts not only your workers and local communities at risk, but also the environment. Sourcing products containing asbestos also contributes to an international trade that takes the lives of thousands per year.

What Continued Asbestos Usage looks like: A Global Problem!

While asbestos mining, production, and usage is completely banned in Australia, it still occurrs in Russia, India, China, and Brazil. Russia is the largest miner and exporter of Asbestos, distributing approximately 600,000 tonnes in 2021 alone. Each year, it is estimated that over 90,000 people die globally from asbestos related exposure, with 125 million people still at risk due to its continued presence. This global presence unfortunately allows for asbestos products to seep into the Australian market and supply chain where unsuspecting local buyers may purchase it. In 2012, the Chinese car manufacturer Chery recalled over 23,000 Great Wall vehicles, in Australia, as their engines and exhaust gaskets contained asbestos.

By avoiding risky imports and listening to expert advice, NSW commercial businesses can keep asbestos out of the country and out of their business. Simply trusting foreign manufacturers claims may not be enough; having a partner like HTS is a valuable asset for asbestos testing if you are unsure about a recent purchase. Short term savings are not worth risking the lives of your workers or local communities to dangerous exposure.

Asbestos: Certainly NOT the ‘Bestest’!

Here in NSW, the risk of asbestos exposure through commercial property purchases is still prevalent, and at no fault of the buyer. For instance, some land developers may take short cuts when handling the removal of asbestos from a known infected site, leaving unseen remnants behind while a new commercial property is built on top. The soil at the commercial site may not have been tested for asbestos to confirm remediation was completed, as a way to avoid the time and cost it takes to completely clear an asbestos affected site.

As a purchaser or construction site manager, doing your due diligence is paramount to protecting your commercial site and its employees. If you are unsure about a commercial site, organise an independent pre-purchase or pre-construction soil assessment. If you are unsure about a building or site containing asbestos materials, hiring experts will provide you with peace of mind, and you can purchase your commercial building or construction site knowing that you and your workers are safe. Companies like HTS can provide a full-scale assessment of buildings that can be used as evidence for WH&S compliance purposes, as well as measuring risk of asbestos exposure and offering methods of land remediation and material removal.

Asbestos Awareness: Treat the Threat

Asbestos continues to pose a threat to commercial sites in Australia, even when the use of this deadly material is unintentional. It is recommended that commercial purchasers and landowners test any building or structure built prior to 2003 or the soil near known asbestos mines. Small amounts of asbestos can still put your workers at risk, even decades later, if not removed from site. There are two types of asbestos to consider:

Friable asbestos – An easily crumbled substance that was often used for commercial and residential building insulation and spray on coatings. Even a minor physical disruption to this asbestos type can cause the release of fibre.

Non-Friable asbestos – Densely bound in cement, vinyl or other construction materials. This asbestos type poses a less immediate risk but can still be hazardous when damaged.

Any asbestos found at any site must be removed by a qualified asbestos removalist, and cannot be removed by unqualified parties, in accordance with the Safe Work Australia’s Model Code of Practice (July, 2020). HTS has helped countless commercial property owners and civil construction companies with asbestos removal, left behind by previous buildings and owners.

Don’t Wait for an Asbestos Emergency

Proper identification and removal of asbestos on any site should be taken seriously as a part of any purchase or project. Avoiding foreign product purchases from known asbestos exporters, and conducting soil and building assessments is crucial for eliminating exposure to Australian workers.

By working safely and refusing to purchase potential asbestos affected materials, Australians can finally eliminate the risk of needless exposure. Make sure your sites are not contributing to the asbestos related death toll by investing in expert removal services.

If you are about to purchase a commercial property, host a civil construction project, or are simply unsure your property contains asbestos, contact us on 1300 600 144. You can also get in touch with our team here. 

Asbestos Awareness (2021). Stop Playing Renovation Roulette! It’s not worth the risk! Retrieved January 24, 2024, from Beissmann, Tim (August, 2012). China’s Great Wall, Chery hit by 23,000 vehicle asbestos recall. Retrieved January 24th, 2024 from Whitmer, Michelle. "Asbestos Facts & Statistics.", 2 Jan 2024,

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