management plan for asbestos in homes

Asbestos may be found in your home….

If you are doing residential work and you are unsure whether asbestos may be present or not, it always pays to get it tested first. So, where is asbestos likely to be found?

Any building constructed, altered or refurbished before the 1990’s is likely to contain asbestos and/or asbestos containing materials (ACMs). Buildings constructed after 1990 are less likely to contain ACMs but as materials containing asbestos were still permitted to be imported into New Zealand up until August 2016 this still poses significant risks to homeowners, office workers and tradespeople.


Asbestos Containing Material (ACMs) may be found in:

 corrugated cement roofing, including lap cement dust. (Debris in the roof space from a previous roof replacement may contain asbestos)
 guttering, downpipes, rainwater head
 ceiling tiles
 sprayed/textured ceilings
 lathe and plaster (skim coat)
External cladding and eaves
 sheet claddings (flat/corrugated)
 baseboards and kickboards
 shingles
 imitation brick/stone claddings
 soffit linings
Interior walls and finishes
 sprayed/textured wall finishes
 insulation board (eg around fireplaces)
 plasterboard lining and jointing compound & skim coat on lathe and plaster
 vinyl sheet and tile flooring
 roof and wall insulation
 lagging (insulation)
 hot water cylinder insulation
 drainage pipes
 flues
 seals on wood burners/fire doors
 fuse boards (mill board)/linings in fuse holders
 fire cement in old chimneys
 night store heater
 fences
 Moss, lichen and algae from the roof and exterior walls


Asbestos containing materials come in all shapes, sizes and colours. There are mostly three types of raw asbestos used in NZ-blue, brown and white asbestos, and all were used in many building products.
Asbestos was often mixed with other materials so it is virtually impossible to identify by eye whether or not it is present in suspect materials.
The only way to be certain if your home contains asbestos is to have materials tested in an accredited laboratory. Do not attempt to obtain a sample as you may contaminate your home and family. Be sure to call
It is estimated that there could be over 70,000 dwellings in Christchurch alone that have asbestos containing materials present. Asbestos containing materials were a common building product from the 1940’s through until the 1990’s. Because asbestos is fire, heat, chemical and noise resistant as well as providing added strength to otherwise brittle materials (such as cement) it was widely used.

In some instances it was used earlier than 1940, such as in lathe and plaster.

Asbestos can be found in:

 asbestos cement products (pipes, flues, roofs etc)
 wall cladding (fibrolite)
 lagging (on pipes and boilers etc)
 water tanks
 asbestos insulating board
 sprayed coatings on ceilings, walls and beams/columns
 textured decorative coatings, flat and stippled plaster
 vinyl floor tiles
 textiles and composites
 gaskets and ropes (such as on wood burners)
 lathe and plaster
 mastics and sealants
 damp proof courses (malthoid)



You must test every substrate above prior to any renovation. Asbestos Testing Advisors can ensure we sample and test all areas of your home utilising NATA accredited laboratories for complete piece of mind.

If you intend to leave areas some areas undisturbed, and it is in a good stable condition, and it won’t be impacted in any way by the renovation work, then it may be OK to leave it. Accredited Asbestos Supervisors are trained in this and can best inform and advise you on a case by case basis during an onsite inspection.

Asbestos left undisturbed, in good condition or sealed is relatively safe. If it is easily crumbled, broken down, or damaged or if you intend to drill it, sand it or break it up, can be harmful and needs Hazmat specialist attention.
Residue from asbestos left in your home can cause health issues in the future and there is no guarantees these substrates may not be damaged or cracked  in the future from normal household wear and tear e.g. kids playthings/balls, brackets,  remodels, repainting, subsidence, earthquakes etc .
There are certain types of work with asbestos containing materials that by law can only be carried out by, or under the direct supervision of, someone who holds a Class A Asbestos Licence.

Hazmat is a Class A registered company.


  1. Hi there. I have a 1960 house that requires reroofing. It has the original decramastic tile roof. Does the era of roofing contain asbestos?

    1. Author

      Great Question John.
      The information released by Roofing Association of NZ (RANZ) amd also AHI Roofing (Fletchers Company) that we have seen in recent years merely indicates that pressed metal amd decramastic roof tiles used in and prior to the 1980’s may contain Asbestos. It is quite vague in that regard.

      The best way to be sure is to allow an expert Asbestos testing company like to test said tiles to be safe. No one can tell by looking at a product if it contains Asbestos.

  2. Hubby has taken off the vinyl, partical blessed and then the vinyl the house was built with to expose the natural timber floors, would there be asbestos???house was built in the 50s

    1. Hi there Waireka, Yes there is a chance it may contain asbestos. If you are in Wellington or Christchurch please call us to arrange a test. Better to be safe than sorry.

  3. Hi we have Heatway heaters in our rooms which appear to have some kind of insulation inside – I can’t find any info on line about when these heaters were produced here. Any idea?
    I’m hoping this is not asbestos as I disturbed it whilst hoovering thinking I was clearing dust.

    1. Author

      Hi Rebecca, I am unsure of this model.
      The best thing to do if you are worried is to ask a local Asbestos management company to come out and test for asbestos.
      Thanks for your enquiry.

  4. Hi, a home we’re looking at purchasing has an Asbestos Flue from the hot water cylinder. Is it best to get this removed, or leave in it’s current state undisturbed? If it’s recommended to remove, what is the estimated cost to do this please? Location Whanganui.

    1. Author

      Hi there Jodie, Unfortunately we do not service Whanganui, you are best to ask a local Asbestos removal Company to pop out and take a look and give you an indication of its condition and give you a recommendation.
      If in a good stable condition and unlikely to be disturbed you “could” simply isolate it and leave as is. There are a number of factors to consider e.g. if it is in a cupboard that is occasionally used, whether you are looking at re-roofing in the future whethere it goes through your attic where things are stored etc etc. Think worse case scenario for access in and around where it is before you decide to leave as is.

  5. Hi,

    We are starting some minor cosmetic renovations to our 1960’s property in Canterbury. We are just about to remove the coving/cornicing which is constructed of fibrous plaster and wanted to know if these types of materials could contain asbestos? I can’t find anywhere that lists coving or cornicing as a potential hazard, so your help would be appreciated.

    1. Author

      Hi Beth,
      Coving possibly not, but it is possible if locally produced that asbestos may have been used. I have not tested any coving yet positive for asbestos, however the plaster that may have been used to cement to the room could contain asbestos – would pay to test to be certain.
      Don’t just assume (where applicable) if your property doesn’t have a stipple ceiling that you are clear, we have seen basic plaster joints that have contained asbestos which was used for finishing joins and nails divots. An example we saw in 2 x CCC rental properties, North New Brighton.

      Feel free to reach out to Shane Blakely who looks after the Christchurch area.

    1. Author

      Hi there Ruben,
      I have tested this type of insulation several times and have not found asbestos in it. On a recent CPD course attended and Asbestos surveyor I spoke with had found asbestos in this “type” of loose fill insulation. To be safe I suggest you get it tested.

      As I do not know where you are based, here is some information on this type of loose fill insulation that was found in Australia.
      There was a type of product used in Australia called “Mr Fluffy.” There were a few companies which imported and installed fibrous, loose-fill amphibole asbestos (in most cases brown amosite, though instances of blue crocidolite have been recorded) as an insulation by blowing the product into roof spaces of homes during the 1960s and 1970s in Australia predominantly Canberra. Additionally, the companies are believed to have sold “sacks” of asbestos fibre direct to homeowners to insulate their own homes, and other operators may have also used the hazardous material and onsold to homeowners outside of this area.

      It is unknown if any made its way to New Zealand. As there has not been a huge amount of testing in NZ on this type of product, it is possible that loose fill Asbestos has found its way into NZ for use in ceiling insulation.
      A test is relatively cheap and will ensure your piece of mind. a link to our testing page is found here.
      HazMat Asbestos testing Wellington & Christchurch….

  6. Hi,

    Our house was built in the late 60’s. We have a first storey veranda which has floorboards (sheets) that look like they ‘could’ potentially contain asbestos. Do you know if asbestos was used in floorboards? All information seems to point to asbestos not being used I structural (load bearing) materials. AKL based. Thanks

    1. Author

      Hi there, we have across this type of “flooring sheets” before which are thicker/denser than standard fibrecement board see this story I recommend having it tested.

  7. Hi , i am going to buy a house which was built in 1990. It has textured ceiling. I was wondering if asbestos test shoud be done. Thanks

    1. Author

      Hi there, Asbestos was used in many textured ceiling from the late 50’s to the 1980’s in NZ. Armed with these dates from many sources you could be right in assuming it does not. However to be 100% certain a simple inexpensive Laboratory test will confirm it for you. Be sure to use some kind of asbestos encapsulant treatment on the ceiling after taking a physical sample to be sure to stabilise the ceiling and render it safe.

  8. I am looking to remove a raised fire hearth on removing the tiles have discovered a papery looking fill instead of cement do you have any idea what this could be

    1. Author

      Hi there Lynda, thanks for your enquiry.
      On many Fire hearths and around fireplaces and fire cells/chimneys etc Asbestos was used due to its high fire resistance up to 800 degc and Yes it may have been mixed in as fill. So be very careful around it. If you are in Wellington or Canterbury give us a call to test it, or call one of your local Asbestos testing Companies. Much better to be safe than sorry. Call us here…

  9. Hi my parents have a ceiling which was tiled with Michael Angelo ceiling tiles in the mid 1980’s. Is it likely that they would contain asbestos? I see they are still available thriough Trade me, so I am assuming they don’t.

    1. Author

      Hi Kim,
      Thanks for your query on Asbestos Ceiling Tiles. I highly reccomend getting these tiles and backing tested…as there is several knock-off brands of this tile in market. Also note in many instances when the tiles themselves have been tested by an uninitiated asbestos tester they may not test all elements contained e.g.paper backings, glues and resins. I strongly reccommend having it tested by a BOHS qualified surveyor, whom will ensure testing all elements, as well as ensuring safe testing protocols in your home. Better to be safe than sorry. If you are in Christchurch or Wellington you are welcome to contact us. This link may help give you additional information also

  10. hey I’m buying house that was built it 1968 is it more like to have Asbestos Insulation or Cellulose Insulation ? thanks Brady

    1. Author

      Hi Brady,
      Asbestos insulation in NZ was pretty rare. If you cannot identify the type or brand as not having asbestos in it, I suggest testing it would be in order.

  11. Hi we have house built in 1987. Would it contain as asbestos?

    1. Author

      Hi There Ian,
      according to many sources including worksafe, asbestos was prevalent in homes up until 2000. So yes it may contain asbestos.
      In a house such as this the obvious checks are roofing (Fibrecement and decramastic) stipple ceilings, any fibre cement cladding and soffit boards and paper backing under vinyls. If in doubt you can give us a call to survey/Test the home and put your mind at rest. Our experienced surveyors know what they are looking for.

  12. HI there – I am looking at buying a property in Dunedin built in late 60s. The exterior has been built using “mixture of materials” according to one of the reports. While some of the exterior looks like a timber/weatherboard, some suggest it could be asbestos! Any thoughts?

    1. Author

      Hi there Prasath,
      A mixture of materials you say?
      Suggest you get a company in to help conduct testing on the different claddings. Make sure you choose an asbestos surveyor that has relevant buiding knowledge as well as their BOHS P402 surveyors ticket. Unfortunately we/HazMat do not operate in Dunedin.

  13. Hi
    I was wondering if old building paper contained hazardous material. I have an old shed that was built in the 50’s I dont know if it is the original corrugated iron roof but it looks fairly old. It has the big mesh chicken wire with building paper. The building paper is disintegrating badly and breaking up and there is no ceiling in the shed so it is open to the inside.
    Duncan McGregor
    North Waikato

    1. Author

      Hi there Duncan,
      Depends… I have tested thicker building like paper which has tested positive – Malthoid, an old roof cladding (made of felt impregnated bitumen) containes asbestos. Malthoid was sometimes used under roofs, also used sometimes for building packing between timber, studs, dwangs and even when packing piles. I have also seen it on weatherproofing interior flashings around windows and doors. Suggest a test if you are unsure…

  14. Hi

    Have you ever found asbestos in vinyl wallpaper in New Zealand?

    Reading American websites makes it sound like this was possible over there, but I’ve not found it mentioned in NZ.

    Hoping this isn’t yet another area we need to be concerned about…

    Many thanks


    1. Author

      Hi there Giles,
      I personally have not had any wallpaper tested positive for Asbestos. I have yet to find out if it was even manufactured in NZ. However I am sure that some would have been imported into NZ at some stage. I was very surprised to learn that DDT was actually used in wallpaper.

      1. I can see that imported wallpaper could be a possible hazard. Fortunately we have spare rolls of the particular wallpaper we are stripping and it clearly says Made in NZ, so I’ve gone with the assumption that it was fine. Never nice to assume though.

        Many thanks for your response.

  15. Hi I had my ceilings sprayed in 80s with a white substance and a glitter thrown on
    it is crumbly to touch could this be Asbestos Brian

    1. Author

      Hey Brian, Thanks for the enquiry, Absolutely, this could be an Asbestos Stipple ceiling.
      If you are based in Wellington or Canterbury let us know and we will happily provide you with an in home test details for contacts are found here

  16. Hi there,

    We have bought an old 1940 art deco house and it has lath and plaster in the walls and ceilings. I am planning on renovating and want to take a wall out, do you think this era would have asbestos present?



  17. Hi we own an old school and i belive it has Shadowline as an exterior cladding the extension was done in the late 70s/80s
    from memory, i think Shadowline has asbestos in it but not 100% sure. Darren

    1. Author

      Hi there Darren, I have tested shadowline many times as well as variations and yes, it has tested positive for asbestos. YES, highly recommend you get it tested if you are in Wellington or Christchurch we can do this for you.

  18. Hi there,
    Currently renovating the laundry in our 70s house. The walls were lined with hardboard which we have removed to re-gib. Decided to install a cavity slider while we can. The wall this is going into backs on to a recessed back porch. My husband was busy removing some timber yesterday and while hammering some nails out the other side he made a tear in the building paper and revealed what looks to be a cement type board. He had already made some holes in it removing the nails but we sealed it all up once we saw the material. The outside surface is flat and has been painted, the inside backing is a concrete colour and does have some uneven possibly dimply texture to it but certainly isn’t like a golf ball. When knocked it sounds thin and similar to hardboard which is what we had assumed initially. What are the chances this is asbestos? We are Nelson based. Thanks

    1. Author

      Hi there,
      chances are high, especially with a small dimply like texture on the back. best to get it tested by a IANZ accredited laboratory or Asbestos Surveyor in your area to be safe.
      Not worth taking the risk.

  19. Hi we have circular patterns on our plastered ceilings – I want to re-gib them all as they are very dated looking but now am worried they may be asbestos – is this likely?

    1. Author

      Hi Sharon,
      the actual texture does vary a lot, we have tested dozens of different types/variations of creamy/stipple/patterned like ceilings and if prior to late 80’s chances are high enough for me to recommend testing in every case. If you are in Wellington or Christchurch we are qualified to do this using one of our surveyors and taking to an IANZ accredited asbestos laboratory.

  20. We have purchased house that has has had textured coating applied to walls and ceiling then been painted over. It is only in the hallway area. The texture has not been sprayed on and we are not certain of when texture coating was actually done – definitely done after the house was built (1950’s). Where there have been minor knocks to expose texture, it appears to be quite soft plaster – white and chalky. Is there any way to tell if this would contain asbestos without getting tested by Lab? We are looking at doing minor renovation to close in doorway but this would leave new gib with no texture – it is a relatively small area at end of hallway so were thinking of sanding and skim coating (plaster) over the whole wall to give consistent finish. Our concern is if we sanding existing texture and it contains asbestos. So you know the cost of testing asbestos and how much they need to test

    1. Author

      Hi there Lynlie,
      You absolutely should test these walls. Any disruption to the walls should be avoided until you have had it tested.
      I have had many tests of textured walls come back positive for asbestos. If you are in Wellington or Christchurch we can do this for you. See our asbestos testing page here
      If you are out of these areas be sure to engage a laboratory that can come to you and uses an IANZ accredited laboratory.

  21. Hi there,
    We’ve recently started renovating our 1960’s house and pulled back lino in the kitchen (which was installed about 10years ago by previous owner) and found vinyl tiles beneath the sheet lino. The vinyl tiles are 9×9 but are a good 5mm thick, with red on top and black underneath, however this is not a sticky black mastic. We had started originally prying them up with a heat gun and a paint scraper but when we weren’t making much progress we turned to the internet for suggestions and found out about the asbestos in vinyl tiles from this era. The sections we were able to scrape up came up somewhat cleanly (leaving not much residue on the timber floorboards beneath).
    I’m curious whether these thicker vinyl tiles without sticky black mastic could still be likely to contain asbestos? They don’t seem to match descriptions of other thinner tiles I’ve seen online paired with the black mastic adhesive?

    1. Author

      Hi there, red and black tiles we have tested in the past have come back positive for asbestos. Usually we take the whole chunk of the tile and be sure to get some substrate underneath as well. It has to be stuck down with something? When in doubt always test it to be safe.

  22. Hi,
    I’m removing an internal open fire chimney from a 1960s house.
    The chimney blocks are made of cement.
    Would I be right in assuming they’ll contain asbestos?

    1. Author

      Hi there Tom,
      Yes, you are right in being cautious.
      We have found asbestos in sealant between blocks and in between joints, asbestos fire board and even in the stucco/grouting/ on the exterior. Beat to test to be safe.

  23. Hi, I’ve come across some old black felt in a ~100 year old house in Wellington, used as an underlay under a corrugated iron roof. Could this potentially contain asbestos, or would it be horse hair? (looks like horse hair!)

    1. Author

      Hi there, felt has different interpretations to what constitutes felt. Malthoid was a black waterproof building product (Used for a multitude of purposes) and some brands did contain asbestos. However Malthoid is not a horse hair type product more of a thicker building paper/waterproof membrane.
      If yours was more a draught proof membrane rather than watertight type product then unlikely to contain asbestos. However if I was surveying the building I would still test it to be safe.

  24. Hi,
    We are renovating the bathroom of our 1974 built house. We have tested the Lino for asbestos but now hear that the Gib board, plaster joining compound and waterproof wall panels around the bath may also contain asbestos, although most websites don’t list these materials as containing asbestos. Is it possible that the Gib, plaster and wall panels contain asbestos?

    1. Author

      Hi there Gib Board is a brand name, and as such Gib does not have asbestos present. There are types of boards used in bathrooms that do, as well as joining/jointing compounds that did. Suggest you engage a testing company to help. If you are based in greater Wellington or Christchurch we can help.

  25. Hi,
    I live in an old 1970’s house in Wellington and we are just about to remove the coving/cornicing which is constructed of fibreglass like/horsehair plaster and wanted to know if these types of materials could contain asbestos? The room once had a textured ceiling which did contain asbestos but has since been removed.

    Thanks Ben

    1. Author

      Hi there, cornices and covings were both imported into NZ and some were made here.
      Some of these had asbestos added to maintain strength especially ornate ceiling Roses (around chandeliers etc). Given you also used to have textured ceilings the era would suggest it is best to have it tested.

  26. Hi there,

    I am buying a house built in 1930’s, which has been confirmed the vinyl flooring in bathroom contains asbestos. The information above shows asbestos may be found in vinyl sheet and tile flooring may, so is it possible that the whole floor under carpet all contain asbestos? Thank you very much.

    1. Author

      Hi there, you will need to lift carpet to find out if it was laid over the top of vinyl/tiles.
      This is unlikely that a whole house has either tile or vinyl given the age – I will point out that is is well worth a check, as we have found vinyls and tiles in living areas and I have even found vinyl under carpet in a bedroom.
      If you are based in the greater Wellington region we can come to you to provide a test.

  27. Hi, thanks for the useful information. My home was built around 1960 (but potentially a bit earlier) and mainly has those pre plasterboard hard board wall linings which have been wallpapered directly over. Most of the wallpaper is about same age as house, with some rooms lookingmore 70s. Do I have to be careful stripping wallpaper? Would any product used to join the hard board have contained asbestos?
    Many thanks, Lisa

    1. Author

      Hi there Lisa, absolutely be careful stripping wallpaper, we had a weallpaper Asbestos sample here in Lower Hutt come back as positive recently. If you are asking about mastic between or around potential hardboard, then yes, it is possible, have found positives around windows and also fireplace joins.

  28. Hi there,
    We are looking at buying a townhouse that is clad in asbestos, which we want to remove and reclad. How would this work when the adjoining townhouse is still clad in asbestos. Is it possible to just do our townhouse? What are the implications?
    Thank you

    1. Author

      Hi there Selina, this is a real toughie.
      This will take some liason with you and your neighbour to come up with a compromise on this.
      You are welcome to give us a call on 0508 HAZMAT for some advice on removal and ways to handle this.
      We have had several cases where neighbours have not received consent from neighbours, luckily we caught this during our notification letters prior to getting started. (We send notification letters to to possible effected neighbours/parties prior to removals.)

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