Looking for Asbestos Roof Removal in the Wellington Region?

Element Roofing can help. Element Roofing has licensed asbestos removal specialists on our team who can ensure safe asbestos removal no matter where you are in the Wellington, Kapiti, Eastbourne or Upper Hutt.

Get in touch to discuss or to find out more about asbestos removal cost.

Asbestos Removal and roofing process

First you will receive an introduction to your personal operations manager who is backed by his/her team of delivery guys and foremen. He/she is available 7 days a week to answer any questions you may have regarding your roof. We ask that only urgent calls be made outside working hours.

  • Scaffolding and shrinkwrap (if required) goes up next (this can take 2-3 weeks as the shrinkwrap is weather permitting)
  • Element Roofing has licensed removal specials on our team who will then remove the roof, remove any insulation in the attic space (as this is usually contaminated), vacuum the roofing space and finally fiberlok any remaining dust after we have received clearance from an independent body.
  • After clearance has been received, we will install your new roof.
  • Once the roof has been completed the foreman on site will carry out a quality check to ensure that nothing has been missed.
  • Finally, the operations management team will carry out the final quality check and sign the job off

Asbestos Dangers

Asbestos is a substance which is a serious threat to thousands of New Zealanders and millions of people around the world.

Asbestos is a term used to describe a naturally occurring fibrous silicate mineral (rock forming minerals). The 3 most common types of asbestos found are white, brown and blue.’

White asbestos was the most common form that was used in New Zealand, followed by brown and blue to a lesser extent. Something to note is that under a microscope, white asbestos looks different to brown and blue asbestos.

White asbestos

Is a long, curly fibre which is flexible enough to spin and weave into fabric. Because it was so versatile, it was the most common type of asbestos used in building and household products.

Brown asbestos

Is a harsh, spikey fibre. A substance which was mostly mined in Africa and often used in cement sheet and pipe insulation. Other uses were in ceiling tiles, insulating board and thermal insulation.

Blue asbestos

Is a brittle fibre which easily repels water and is known for its excellent heat resistance. This substance was mostly mined in South Africa, Bolivia and Australia.

Because blue asbestos was used to insulate steam engines, and also found in some spray on coatings, cement products and pipe insulation – this increases the potential risk of airborne asbestos exposure for people who work in maintenance, repair and replacement work.

Blue asbestos is also claimed to be the most dangerous substance out of the 3 because its fibres are so thin. This means that they are easy to inhale and lodge in the linings of a person’s lungs. In saying that, all type of asbestos should be treated with equal caution because any of their fibres can be inhaled.

History of asbestos

Asbestos has been around for a long time, thousands of years in fact. Archaeologists believe people living in the Stone Age used asbestos in their candle and lamp wicks.

Asbestos was also used approximately two thousand years ago to strengthen clay pots and make them heat resistant. Ancient Greeks and Romans wove asbestos into material for tablecloths and napkins. Even then, they knew asbestos was harmful; it was noticed at the time that slaves weaving asbestos into cloth had ‘sickness in the lungs’.

In the Industrial Revolution, asbestos was mined and manufactured in large amounts. It was appealing to a lot of people as it was ‘flameproof’, waterproof and resistant to chemicals and electricity. The biggest appeal though was that it was very malleable, making it an excellent product for insulating boilers and engines, and also for building and binding things.

Once the mining of asbestos became mechanised, producing it became very cheap and soon it was a widespread product. However, the link between asbestos and ill health had not been thoroughly investigated until the 20th century.

Asbestos in New Zealand

Asbestos awareness in New Zealand became official in the 1930s. In 1938, the Report of the Interdepartmental Committee on Silicosis linked asbestos with deadly lung conditions. The government then reported that asbestosis is a disease similar to silicosis, and that asbestos is capable of producing deadly pulmonary disease.

Asbestos use

Places where New Zealand workers were exposed to asbestos were: railway workshops, the building industry, sawmilling, shipping and cement industries. Wharf workers, fitters, boil workers, electricians, carpenters were also exposed to asbestos.

The first time that raw asbestos was imported into New Zealand was in the late 1930s. It was used to make products that comprised of asbestos mixed in with cement. Manufacturing of these products continued until the mid 1980s.

In 1938, a factory in Auckland opened which produced asbestos cement products. Production continued until 1987. The factory employed up to 600 workers and they worked with white, brown and blue asbestos. New Zealand’s first asbestos regulations did not come into effect until 1978.

Asbestos ban

In 1984, it became illegal to import blue and brown asbestos into the country in its raw form. Asbestos containing products which were also known as ACMs in New Zealand were used until supplies ran out. From October 1st 2016, it became illegal to import asbestos containing products into New Zealand.

 

Asbestos in building materials

Buildings which were built, altered or refurbished from 1940 – mid 1980s are likely to contain ACMs. After the war production and with local manufacturing, there was a significant increase in raw asbestos imports. Over 2,000 tonnes were imported every year in the 1940s and increased to 5,000 tonnes in the 1960s and 1970s. The largest amount imported was recorded at 12,500 tonnes in 1975.

Buildings which were built after January 1st 2000 are less likely to contain ACMs, but some built after this time may contain ACMs.

 

Asbestos in the workplace

Until the mid 1980s, asbestos was used for as a fire retardant and insulation for:

  • Friction linings
  • Fire doors
  • Insulating board
  • Fuse boxes
  • Gas or electric heaters
  • Gaskets
  • Sprayed insulation
  • Lagging around pipes
  • Brake linings

Asbestos related diseases

In 2010, it was estimated that 600-900 people died from work related diseases in New Zealand. Of that number, around 170 people died from asbestos related diseases which made asbestos the single biggest cause of work -related disease deaths.

Breathing in airborne asbestos fibred is a serious health risk. Once fibres are breathed in, they lodge in the lungs and may cause diseases such as asbestosis, lung cancer and mesothelioma.

Most asbestos related diseases take around 20 years before their symptoms start to show. Increase to health risk occurs when:

  • People inhale more fibres
  • Exposure is more frequent
  • Exposure occurs over a long period of time.

It is important to note that all types of asbestos can cause asbestos related disease.

 

Asbestos related disease and smoking

People who smoke are at a risk of developing lung disease, which includes lung cancer. However, for people who work with asbestos and also smoke, the risk becomes much greater of developing lung cancer than from asbestos exposure alone. This means that smokers who work with asbestos are more likely to develop an asbestos related illness than non- smokers.

The 3 main asbestos related diseases are:

  • Asbestosis
  • Mesothelioma
  • Lung cancer

Asbestosis

Is a restrictive lung disease that can be fatal. When asbestos fibres lodge into the lung tissue, they can scar the tissue and cause pain and long term breathing problems. As the disease progresses, the lungs progressively contract until they cannot expand fully for breathing. This takes many years to develop and there is no current cure.

The other symptom is clubbed fingers, where the fingernails soften. The fingernails become misshapen and the fingernail ends bulge. This happens because of a reduction of oxygen blood to the fingers. Lungs of people with asbestosis tend to show a high asbestos fibre count which is the result of high exposure to asbestos.

Mesothelioma

Is a fatal asbestos related cancer. It affects the thin membranes of the lungs, abdominal cavities, heart and abdominal organs. When a person breathes in asbestos, the fibres lodge in the tissue surrounding the lungs. Over time, the fibres damage the tissue, creating tumours.

It can take a long time before the signs of mesothelioma begin to show, 20-50 years. Early symptoms start as mild and most people do not seek medical attention until the disease is in its later stages. When diagnosed, most patients usually only have up to one year to live. The survival rate is very low, but improves if people seek medical attention early.

It’s important to note that this disease has been found in people with relatively low exposure to asbestos.

Lung cancer

Asbestos related lung cancer is fatal. It takes many years to develop, but only a short time to spread to other organs. Developing this disease can be dependent on the duration of the patient’s asbestos exposure and the amount of asbestos fibres inhaled.

Smoking adds to the effects of asbestos on the lungs. If you are a smoker and also exposed to asbestos, you will have a greater chance of developing lung cancer that either smoking or asbestos on its own.

The size of the asbestos fibres influences where they lodge in the body and where the tumours may develop.