Hazmat - House Removals

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 www.hazmat.co.nz
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.
www.hazmat.co.nz 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. www.hazmat.co.nz 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.

Comments 12

  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. Post

      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 http://www.HazMat.co.nz 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. Post

      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. Post

      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. Post

      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 shane@hazmat.co.nz who looks after the Christchurch area.

    1. Post

      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….

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