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Asbestos Management Plan (AMP) for Older Houses

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Based on the general rule, houses built before the mid-1980s are highly likely to contain asbestos-containing materials (ACMs). It is a serious warning for homeowners who live in a house that is categorised as an ‘older building’.


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According to its history, the ACM had been used widely since the 1800s. Commercial and industrial buildings had begun to use friable ACM products during that period. The friable products were often used for soundproofing, fireproofing and insulation. For houses built before 1990, these products may also be found installed in the building. The fact that it had an excellent reputation for its durability, flexibility, affordability and exceptional properties for insulation and fireproofing made it preferable for the construction industry.

The ban on all types of ACMs was finally implemented in December 2003. The ban includes the import, manufacture, use, reuse, storage, transport, and sale of fibrous materials. However, the ban does not affect houses that were built before that year. Those houses will still be found installed with fibrous materials.

It is not good news for occupiers of those houses. If you are one of those occupiers, having awareness towards this issue is necessary to prevent yourself from any health risk. As a preventive measure, you are recommended to do asbestos testing, which later can be used for establishing an AMP.


Why is Asbestos Testing Necessary?

Why is it necessary for older houses to be inspected for ACMs? To confirm the presence of fibrous materials within a structure, the only possible way to do so is by getting it checked. The fibres generated from a fibrous material are only possible to be observed under the microscope because they are too small and thin. A direct observation without any specialised apparatus will be impossible to identify the fibres.

Most older houses were installed with asbestos cement (AC) sheeting. The product was first produced in the 1920s, and from the mid-1940s until the end of 1980s it became commonly used in residential buildings. It was a mix of a small amount of the ACM, around 10-15%, with cement to strengthen the product. AC sheeting was mostly used in:

  • Fencing
  • Roofing
  • Exterior wall cladding
  • Water pipes
  • Insulation on domestic heaters and hot water
  • Backing material on floor tiles


Do houses built between 1980 until 1990 contain AC products? Yes, they do. They are likely to contain this harmful product. Structures that are likely to be free from any fibrous product are those that were built after 1990. Therefore, you are suggested to check the age of your house as the initial step of confirming the presence of dangerous fibres within your home.


Arrange an Inspection or Survey

Inspection or survey is the first step before testing. An inspection involves the identification and assessment of fibrous materials within the building. As for the purpose, inspection is intended to:

  • Conduct a visual inspection of ACMs in all accessible areas of a building.
  • Determine whether the suspected materials contain harmful fibres.
  • Record the materials’ condition including their accessibility within a structure.
  • Assess their latest condition and the potential damage of these materials.
  • Provide any recommendation to minimise the risk of exposure.


A qualified assessor is recommended to perform the job. The assessor, who performed the inspection, will provide accurate data regarding the presence of any ACM in the building. When you plan to hire an assessor, you have to make sure that he is a competent person. Who is a competent person?

The competent person should:

  • Have proper training, knowledge, and experience in detecting suspected materials containing hazardous fibres.
  • Be capable of determining risks and control measures.
  • Accustomed to construction and building practices to confirm the location of fibrous products.
  • Know how to distinguish a friable fibrous material from a non-friable material and assess its condition.


Asbestos Testing

Once you get the result of the inspection, the next step you should do is testing. Testing will involve analysis of the collected samples. If the purpose of the sampling is to determine the presence of ACM there, the assessor will collect representative samples and get them tested via a lab. If you want to know the type of ACM in your house, such as white, blue, or brown asbestos, then the assessor will need to get additional samples for a more consistent and accurate result.

The analysis must be performed by a person who is qualified, trained and experienced in performing sampling, although DIY is also permitted.

The collected samples should be collected carefully so that it will not pose any risk to the person performing the sampling. To minimise risks during the sampling, the person who will take the suspected objects should use a spray bottle or a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filtered vacuum cleaner during the process. The purpose is to suppress the generation of airborne dust. Afterwards, samples are needed to be placed in sealed double bags. A label informing the date and location of sampling must be attached to the samples.

When you take samples to a laboratory, you must ensure that the laboratory has received accreditation from NATA to perform the analysis. In the end, the assessor will deliver the result for you in the form of an asbestos register.


Asbestos Register

The register contains the list of all identified materials containing dangerous fibres within the building. The register should always be updated and include:

  • The location of any fibrous product in the building.
  • The possible source of contamination.
  • The type (friable or non-friable) and condition of fibrous products.
  • Details of possible locations that are suspected or installed with fibrous materials.
  • Detail information concerning certain activities that may cause the ACMs to be damaged or disturbed.


The detail information listed in the register will be used to develop an AMP as the solution for managing any product containing dangerous fibres installed within the building.


The Importance of an Asbestos Management Plan


For the homeowners who own an ACM-contaminated building, having an AMP is necessary, specifically for those who own a building that was constructed before the ban on ACMs came into effect. The AMP is established to help property owners and landlords managing ACMs in a structure.


The AMP defines responsibilities of individuals who must control and manage the buildings, also the procedures to manage the ACMs there. It also includes information about what, when, how the action is going to be done.

Therefore, the asbestos management plan must include:

  • The building’s register.

  • Safety procedures when a maintenance work, that may disturb the fibrous products, is going to be performed.

  • How individuals at risk are notified about the presence of ACMs installed within the premise, its possible risk, and also the implemented control measure.

  • Control measures and the reasons behind the decisions.

  • A timetable that includes priorities and dates for a re-assessment.

  • The responsibilities of employees and building occupants.

  • Procedures during an emergency incident involving ACMs.


Remember that the asbestos management plan must regularly be reviewed and kept updated. The review must be done when:

  • A reassessment is performed.

  • A renovation work is conducted in the building.

  • The asbestos management plan is no longer capable of managing the ACMs in the building.

  • A representative from the health and safety department asks for a review.

  • Once every five years at least.


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