This article discussing asbestos in WA buildings and changes to the way this will be handled with the upcoming WA Strata Reforms has been provided by Leonie Milonas, PSC Property Lync Insurance Brokers.
Asbestos is a banned building product that can no longer be used. Despite this, it still exists in many buildings today. The product was banned from 31st December 2003.
All uses of asbestos were banned from 1st January 2004, except for existing asbestos material already in place, known Asbestos Containing Material (ACM) and provided it was used in the same way prior to this date. Also, that handling and disposal management applied to the existing material.
Only specially trained and qualified contractors should be handling ACM as repairs to ACM are not permitted. ACM that has been satisfactorily maintained and monitored can remain. There is a requirement at law to have an asbestos register at the building. Any trades that are invited to the building to carry out repairs should be advised of its presence and location so that they may be informed of the location of any asbestos materials.
When any trades carry out work on anything that is ACM there are special guidelines on Work safe requirements so that work can be performed safely. A register of ACM and associated risk assessments must be reviewed at least every three years as referenced in the website under Dept. of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety.
Download a PowerPoint presentation from Dept. of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety: Asbestos in the Built Environment
Asbestos & Insurance Effects
You should make insurers aware if you know ACM is a product used in or on the building, such as the roof. This information is important to the insurer for many reasons such as;
- The presence of ACM increases costs in replacement, due to increased costs for removal of debris & handling in the event of a claim
- Any claim at the site may increase the cost of temporary accommodation & loss of rent, due to contamination risks following a claim
- Extra costly repairs, as handling ACM requires specialist trades, who are experienced in handling asbestos
- Work, health and safety – Increased compliance on the Council of Owners, to ensure they’re following the rules required for Asbestos Management
Many strata insurers will not insure buildings that contain ACM, such as roofs. The limited insurers who will insure buildings that contain ACM charge a much higher premium. This is due to many underwriting reasons, including those stated above. Any acceptance for insuring a property with ACM will depend first and foremost on how well it is maintained.
The Strata Title Act – Reforms
With new strata reforms just around the corner a 10 year maintenance plan is a new requirement for designated strata company’s which is:
- Any scheme with a replacement value of $5,000,000 or more
- All schemes 10 Lots or more
Strata Amendments Act 2018 [STAA 2018 s100 (2A)(a)(b)] & draft Strata Regulations S78(1)(a)&(b)
Further defined in the draft Strata Regulations S76 (1) (a-h), condition report and the method of estimate costs for maintenance is required. As an example, these new requirements would be relevant to designated strata buildings with an asbestos roof.
This post appears in Strata News #294.
Have a question about asbestos in buildings in WA or something to add to the article? Leave a comment below.
The Regulations at time of writing have not yet been released for STAA 2018. The regulations will define further obligations and requirements and this is referenced in some sections above and throughout the Act.
Please note this advice was provided prior to the proclamation of the new strata title amendments and will be updated in due course.
- WA Government Issued Asbestos Safety Alert Earlier This Year
- WA: Reforms to WA Strata Legislation – As a Lot Owner, Should I Care?
- WA: Maintenance Planning and Insurance: The Strata Titles Amendment Act 2018 (STAA 2018)
Reference made to:
- National code of practice for management and control of asbestos in workplaces [NOHSC: 2018]
- Safe removal of asbestos. 2nd edition. [NOHSC: 2002]
This article is prepared for informational purposes only, and is not insurance, financial or legal advice and should not be relied on as insurance, financial or legal ad¬vice. You should consult with a qualified insurance or legal advisor. PSC Property Lync Insurance Brokers is an Authorised Representative (AR 1235681) of Professional Services Corporation Pty Ltd (AFSL 305491).
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