Liezl contacted me and said they had just bought a house and it has an asbestos roof. What are the implications? What are the rules and regulations?
Asbestos poses a significant health hazard and there are many old houses and buildings still with their original asbestos roofs, pipes, fascias, gutters and wall panels.
We've done a whole lot of research and Frikkie Ollewagen from Inspect-A-Home tells us that in 2004 Government announced a pending ban on all asbestos containing products.
I have written to various authorities and as soon as I have the responses will put them all down here. In the meantime, this is what we have established.
Pursuant to the Occupational Health and Safety Act, 1993: Asbestos Regulations, 2001, any person who contravenes or fails to comply with any provision of the regulations pertaining to the Act shall be guilty of an offence and liable on conviction to a fine of up to R81,000.00 or imprisonment for a period of up to 12 months.
Please download and read the Regulations which you can find on the Department of Labour website.
If you do intend to proceed with maintaining, altering, renovating, repairing or dismantling any asbestos-cement roof sheeting, wall panelling, gutters, fascia boards and related products on a building you must obtain the necessary authority from the Provincial Director.
The Provincial Director
Occupational Health and Safety
Department of Labour
You will find all the relevant contact details on the Department of Labour's website.
You are responsible for compliance with the asbestos regulations and some of those include:-
Notifying the Provincial Director of any work to be carried out;
Ensuring that the relevant items are painted or otherwise sealed with a protective coating to limit the release of asbestos dust, combat weathering and inhibit growth of lichen or moss;
Cleaning is done under controlled conditions ensuring that: -
dry-brushing, scraping, sanding or abrasion techniques are not used;
where reasonably practicable, high-pressure water jetting is not used unless in conjunction with a suitable profiled hood that limits dispersal of contaminated water and, if the said jetting is used, that suitable control methods are used in accordance with regulation 13(2)(6);
when fungicidal solution or moss killer is applied, a standing time of 24 hours or any other period specified by the manufacturer is allowed, and a low-pressure hose is used after such period to keep the sheets wet whilst employing a stiff broom or any similar means to remove any moss or lichens;
Protective clothing and equipment is used;
Dust and contaminated water are disposed of according to the regulations;
If any roof work is performed, suitable roof ladders or duckboards or crawling boards are used.
The bottom line is if you do have an asbestos roof that requires demolishing or repair you need to ensure that the work is carried out by a person who is a registered asbestos contractor and that prior to the commencement of that work the relevant authority is notified that such work is going to be carried out.