Asbestos, renowned for its durability and exceptional heat resistance, was extensively used in numerous commercial construction projects over the years.
In roofing, most products manufactured before 1980 contained asbestos. Asbestos cement is commonly found in commercial buildings as gutter linings. This material, including downpipes and guttering, was produced through mechanised processes where asbestos fibres were mixed with cement, comprising about 10-40% of the total product. This blend resulted in a more robust material, frequently utilised in corrugated roofing for commercial structures like sheds and garages, and also in the manufacture of drainpipes, flues, water tanks, and gutters.
For Auckland commercial properties with original roofing or unknown roofing replacement history, it's a best practice to consider the possibility of asbestos content.
Properly functioning rain gutters are crucial elements of a commercial building's foundation and roof. The primary role of gutters is to channel water away from the building. In addition to protecting the roof and the structural integrity of the building, rain gutters also play a key role in preventing soil erosion around the foundation, essential for maintaining the property's safety and stability.
Asbestos was a common building product until the 1980s, and on buildings from that period you may find concrete gutters where asbestos was used as a bonded material in cement. Asbestos cement guttering is waterproof, never rusts, requires little maintenance and lasts for many years. The presence of any known asbestos-containing material that is to remain in situ is not considered hazardous as long as it is left undamaged and undisturbed. Only when it is damaged can the fibers be released and breathed in, causing harmful health effects.
When you buy a home built before 1980, the previous owner may not always disclose the presence of asbestos. However, if the gutters have never been replaced or the siding on your business is original, there is a good chance the materials contain asbestos. If the gutters were installed after 1980 or the siding has since been replaced, you shouldn't have to worry; once the federal ban was in place, manufacturers ceased using asbestos completely in all applications. But you can contact Revolve Asbestos Solutions to check and make sure.