Renovation boom could trigger asbestos exposure

Stephen Raff

CANBERRA apartment owners are urged to think before renovating over the holidays because of renewed asbestos risks, according to Ace Body Corporate Management.

CEO Stephen Raff says the popularity of home renovation shows has seen renovations spike in recent years and owners in older apartment blocks must go about DIY work the right way to avoid the health risks warned by the Bernie Benton Foundation.

The foundation estimates that 60,000 Australians will have been killed by asbestos-related diseases by 2030, and has warned that renovations pose the biggest risk to a third outbreak of the disease.

“There’s a right and a wrong way to go about renovating in a strata scheme, and especially in the wake of these health concerns, owners must take the necessary steps to get approval and assess the potential risk of asbestos,” Mr Raff says.

“In ACT today, there are thousands of apartment blocks built decades ago which could pose an asbestos risk, and it’s important owners don’t get ahead of themselves with DIY plans, and go about the process the right way.”

Mr Raff says a Federal Government agency reported that asbestos exposure has increased by 13 per cent since last year, and experts are predicting this figure to grow as more people gain the option to renovate their apartments.

“We want residents and owners to be able to make the changes they want to their homes or properties, but we must ensure that this is done safely and without disturbing the surrounding community,” he says.

“Living in an apartment or unit means sharing walls, ceilings and floors with your neighbours, so carrying out potentially harmful work could have huge unintended consequences.

“It can be very tempting to get going with a renovation straight away if you’ve been inspired, but we are urging owners to pump the brakes, and take stock of their surroundings.”

 

Mr Raff advises any owners considering renovating their property or concerned about the risk of asbestos stemming from DIY jobs, to engage professionals to better oversee this process in their strata community.

 

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