Healthy buildings and spaces

Asbestos

Asbestos cement was a commonly used building material in the 1970s and was used in materials including roofing, fencing and exterior wall cladding to name just a few. Following concerns about its safety the use of asbestos cement was phased out between 1981 and 1987 with the manufacturing of all asbestos products ceasing in 1987.

When asbestos cement is left undisturbed, risks to health are extremely low as the fibres are bound in the cement. Dangers do exist in using power tools for cutting, drilling, grinding, sanding, and sawing, the use of high pressure water guns and unnecessary breaking or crushing that produce a large number of fibres that when inhaled can cause disease including asbestosis, pleural plaque, lung cancer or mesothelioma.

Generally it is not possible to tell whether a product is asbestos simply by looking at it. Laboratory analysis with a microscope is required to identify a material as asbestos. So it is important that anything that is suspected to be asbestos is treated as such.

Public Building Safety

Public buildings are defined as buildings or places where people assemble for a certain event, (entertainment, social, educational, religious etc.) ie. pubs, clubs, sporting facilities, halls etc. Council’s Environmental Health Service conducts routine and operational inspections of public buildings to ensure that ventilation, sanitary facilities, emergency escapes, and the maximum number of people attending, and other requirements are in compliance with approved standards. People planning such events should contact the Environmental Health Service to gain appropriate approvals.

Accommodation

EHO’s inspect lodging houses, bed and breakfasts and other places of accommodation including caravan parks to ensure the health and safety of occupants. There are also requirements for private houses relating to the maximum number of occupants, ventilation, and drainage and weatherproofing. If you own a lodging house, caravan park or recreational campground it is a requirement that you are registered and renew your yearly licence.