03 Dec, 2015

Risk Register, Rating And Removal Sees ACC Buildings Asbestos-Free By Mid-2018

City of Adelaide, owner of the oldest municipal building in the country - the Adelaide Town Hall - has implemented a modern and effective way to ensure that asbestos in any of its 174 building assets is detected, registered, rated and removed in a timely and safe manner.

Council has set a target to be asbestos free by mid-2018, which will make it the first capital city council in Australia with such credentials.

General Manager of Infrastructure and Public Works, Neil Brown, has worked with his team at Council and a locally based asbestos consultancy to establish an asbestos risk register, supported by a software program that rates the removal of asbestos within buildings in order of priority, from Category 1 to Category 4.

“We completed a comprehensive audit of all one-hundred and seventy-four Council buildings in 2014, and from there we have facilitated the removal of all category one and two asbestos hazards from our buildings,” said Neil.

“Our on-going removal program is now looking towards category three and four asbestos hazards, and, to date, we have 76 buildings, including the Adelaide Town Hall, which, to the best of our knowledge, are completely asbestos free.

“Engaging local asbestos experts Carters has really assisted us achieve this outstanding result, but it’s more than that – we now have local people on hand to organise and action safe asbestos removal anywhere in the city.

“The results we have achieved so far, really are a testament to our commitment to the safety and comfort of all who use our city and when you consider the timeframe in which we have achieved this, we believe we have good reason to be proud,” he said.

Council and Carters use a specially designed software program called Octfolio, which enables real-time data input, and the system now serves as a model for others embarking on similar asbestos risk, register and removal projects.

The learnings can be applied to other organisations too, and late last year Council hosted a representative from New Zealand’s Canterbury University who came to Adelaide to look at Council’s system. This exchange of knowledge enabled Canterbury University to implement an asbestos management system similar to Council’s and they are now having great results with their own asbestos management.

“The system we have in place lets us work effectively to remove asbestos and improve public safety across the city. During the process we have seen an amazing cultural shift within our organisation and in those we work with – where before people were reluctant to report asbestos, they are now on the front foot, approaching us for advice and assistance with its removal. And what’s more, we can easily provide it,” said Neil.

“The asbestos risk register, rating and removal process has been a great success for Council and we are pleased to share learnings with other property owners in Adelaide as well as with colleagues abroad.”

By June 2016 the category three asbestos hazards which have been identified in ten buildings will have been removed. This will leave 88 buildings containing category four asbestos hazards which, under asbestos safety guidelines, only require reinspection and assessment every five years.

Council expects to have removed the remaining category four asbestos as part of its program by mid-2018.

For more information

Rebecca Draysey