Asbestos has been found in the ceilings of a small number of rooms at the Langham Hotel in Auckland.
The bonded asbestos was detected in an area of the hotel currently under construction as a result of a routine test, the hotel’s communications team said in a statement.
“The health and safety of our guests, employees and contractors are our highest priority.
“As a safety precaution and after consultation with the head contractor BUILT (NZ) Pty Ltd, the work site has been closed until further testing can be completed,” the statement said.
The area had been fully contained from the public throughout the building works and no guests or staff were able to access it.
“There is no risk to any guests or staff at the hotel.”
All areas of the up-market hotel, which often hosts VIP visitors to New Zealand, continued to operate as normal.
“We are complying with all health and safety requirements and will continue to monitor the situation.”
According to a 2016 statement on the government’s Worksafe website, asbestos was New Zealand’s number one killer in the workplace with some 170 people dying each year from asbestos-related diseases.
Due to its strength, durability and resistance to fire and water, asbestos was widely used in building products and materials until the 1990s.
Regulations were changed last year to protect as many people as possible from exposure to asbestos fibres.
According to the website of New Zealand asbestos removal company Asbestos Solutions, bonded asbestos, as opposed to the more fragile “friable asbestos”, contains asbestos fibres “that are bound within the matrix of the material it’s contained within”.
“Bonded asbestos is more hard to hurt and cause the release of fibres by hand and includes materials such as asbestos cement sheeting.
“But, bonded asbestos containing materials that have been subjected to weathering, physical hurt, water hurt, fire or other conditions may contain exposed fibres which could be released upon disturbance.”
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