Just a bit of an update for anyone who owns or manages premises other than residential but includes common areas of multi-dwellings. On the 1st January 2012 changes to the Asbestos Management Code [NOHSC:2018(2005)] were introduced. The Australian Government enacted these uniform laws across all states. As a result new rules will apply to bodies corporate in relation to identifying and managing Asbestos Containing Material (ACM). Who does this apply to? The new national law will apply to all Commercial Buildings built prior to 31st December 2003 (previously 1990) and will require them to be inspected for ACM. This also includes all bodies corporate as shared common property areas are deemed as 'workplaces'. What will you have to do? All bodies corporate for buildings constructed prior to 31st December 2003 will now have to provide proof of an asbestos inspection and subsequent asbestos register even if the inspection results are negative. Who's responsibility is it? Also included in the changes to the legislation is the definition of who is responsible for meeting the new requirements. The responsibility to be compliant will not only fall on the property owner (body corporate), but also the person managing the property and the person carrying out demolition or refurbishment work. Failure to comply will attract fines of up to $60,000 or 6 years imprisonment. How do you become compliant? If you are involved in a body corporate built before 31st December 2003 you must first of all obtain an Asbestos Inspection Report and subsequent Asbestos Register. This will identify if your complex has any ACM in it. If no ACM is found then nothing further is required. If ACM is found an Asbestos Management Plan is also required. The asbestos management plan will provide vital information to occupiers within a building about the management of the ACM and must also be provided to contractors working within the building to advise them of the condition and location of any ACM. A transitional period has been introduced to ensure any required Onsite Asbestos Registers and Asbestos Management Plans were in place before June 30, 2013. While the transitional requirements create some breathing space, it is important to remember that this does not release building owners or bodies corporate from their obligations to the safety of workers engaged on their property. Building owners or bodies corporate should ensure their properties comply with these new requirements as soon as possible, in order to minimise the risk of litigation.