We're currently doing routine assessments of our buildings to determine how many may include asbestos containing materials (ACM).

The Council owns more than 2000 buildings across Christchurch and Banks Peninsula. Those buildings include toilet blocks, storage sheds, community centres, libraries, sport and recreation centres and social housing units.

Over the next five years, we're checking nearly all of them to determine how many may have ACM in them. The buildings being checked are mostly older ones built before New Zealand started regulating the use of asbestos in 1978, and ones that have not been recently checked through other programmes.

Contractors, who are specialists in hazardous substances, will check each building and test it for asbestos. If they find asbestos they will make recommendations on how and when it should be removed.

Is it safe for occupants to remain in these facilities?

If asbestos is present in a building, it is unlikely to pose any health risk as it will probably be undisturbed and sealed within the building.

Asbestos is only a health risk if it's in poor condition or if it's been disturbed. In most cases we expect there will be no need to stop using the building.

If ACM is found, do occupants need to move out immediately?

Asbestos contaminated material doesn’t necessarily have to be removed immediately. In most cases we expect there will be no need for occupants to move out of any buildings, unless an immediate risk to health or safety is found. This depends on the amount and condition of any ACM that’s found. In most cases where ACM is found, we can plan to safely remove it when the building is next renovated or repaired.

In the unlikely event that any groups using our Council buildings have to leave the facility while ACM is treated or removed, it will be temporary. The Council will work with any affected occupants on an individual basis to help find suitable temporary facilities if they need them.