Media Statement: Heritage Remediation Works
24 February, 2021
THE HISTORY OF ASBESTOS
Asbestos was once used widely in the construction industry, and buildings constructed prior to 1990 are likely to have some level of asbestos contamination.
The Memorial operates eleven buildings across two sites, and asbestos has been identified in a number of locations across the older buildings over the past two decades, including the Main Building and the Administration building located in Campbell.
The Memorial maintains an Asbestos Management Plan (AMP) and Asbestos Register. The AMP outlines the Memorial’s management of materials containing asbestos to ensure a safe and healthy environment for workers, contractors and visitors.
As part of the AMP, all materials containing asbestos listed in the Asbestos Register are re-inspected biennially and their condition reviewed and documented. In addition to the biennial review, pre-work investigations are undertaken prior to any minor or major buildings works commencing.
HERITAGE REMEDIATION WORKS TO COMMENCE
Heritage remediation works will commence shortly at the Australian War Memorial in response to a 2020 maintenance survey which identified three issues requiring remediation to ensure public safety and proper maintenance of the Memorial’s main building.
Over the course of the project, Puch Construction & Building Pty Ltd will undertake the following Heritage remediation works to the northern façade of the Main Building:
- Removal of ‘asbestos containing material’ within the mastic joints between the sandstone façade blocks;
- removal of lead paint on windows frames, replacement of damaged or degraded glass panels and;
- replacement or repair of a number of damaged or worn stone façade elements.
The 2020 survey did not identify any changes to the existing risk status of known materials and the Memorial’s current asbestos management processes are appropriate to effectively manage asbestos related risks.
Matt Anderson, Director of the Australian War Memorial said the safety and wellbeing of staff, contractors and the public will remain a core focus throughout the works with an independent asbestos consultant providing expert safety advice.
“The asbestos containing material being removed from the Memorial’s main building is non-friable and poses no immediate potential for harm; but taking this action proactively to remove it will eliminate future risks that would arise if the material deteriorates over time.”
Mr Anderson said the scope, methodology and impact of the works have been reviewed and approved by a qualified independent heritage consultant. All asbestos remediation requirements have been met, including assessment by a licensed asbestos assessor in establishing the works program.
The Memorial has been granted National Capital Authority (NCA) planning approval for these works and provided the ‘heritage impact assessment’ as part of the process to the NCA and in addition, a copy to the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment.
In December 2020, the Memorial conducted a limited tender, open to those with a proven track record in heritage remediation projects to undertake these works. Puch Construction & Building Pty Ltd (PCB) was assessed as having the best heritage qualifications and as offering the best value for money outcome for the Commonwealth.
PCB has extensive experience in heritage remediation including removal of ACM, repairs to stonework and the removal of lead paint on heritage sites. Their recent heritage remediation works include the Sydney Hyde Park Anzac Memorial, the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia and Melbourne’s Victoria Barracks.
These heritage remediation works have an expected completion date of late August 2021.