It has been 24 months of hardship. The construction industry has, arguably, been the hardest hit by the decline in the economy from mid 2018 to the chaos caused by the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020. With many doors closed, jobs lost and vastly reduced profitability, those companies that survived 2021 will be hoping for the market to return to some form of upward trend.Geoffrey Jäck, managing director of roofing and asbestos contractor, Indawo, says that while 2021 showed signs of the market flattening out with building owners finally commissioning projects, it was still subdued. With new regulations surrounding asbestos abatement, building owners will need to ensure that, by May this year, they have the required asbestos inventory and are registered on the Integrated Pollutant and Waste Information System (IPWIS), developed by the Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning for the Western Cape Government.
The property market, in general, bounced back in 2021 to perform at pre-pandemic levels. While the July riots sparked panic of a potential collapse and a further knock-on effect on the industry, South Africa remained resolute and responded positively to calls to rebuild confidence.
Jäck says that the forced and drastic interest rate reductions served to provide relief for consumers, but it also gave respite to building owners who could still plan a budget for maintenance, albeit not resulting in immediate spend. With 2021 seeing some projects being commissioned, we are yet to see projects return to pre-pandemic levels. The industry remains under pressure, but orders are starting to filter in again.
The Asbestos Abatement regulations 2020 has placed 2022 firmly in the spotlight though, as government seeks to regulate and remove asbestos from all buildings. The first step, says Jäck, is the requirement to have an asbestos inventory and registration on IPWIS.
Cape Town has a vast number of buildings that still have asbestos roofs and substructures. These will need to be assessed and documented by a competent person and details included of their condition and planned removal if they are damaged. Under no circumstances can asbestos be handled by contractors who are not registered as Type 2 or 3 asbestos contractors (RAC).
If the asbestos shows no sign of damaged then it only has to be included in the asbestos inventory, which will have to be updated regularly to monitor its condition. Damaged asbestos will need to be removed and in the case of roofing, replaced by a Type 2 or 3 RAC.
Jäck says that failure to comply carries severe penalties and building owners are urged to seek the advice of a registered asbestos contractor. Building owners can still take advantage of the current low interest rate market and favourable lending climate for corporates to ensure they stay on the right side of the law and have an asbestos-free building.
For more information, contact Indawo on 021 941 5000 or email email@example.com.
Click here to read more about the Asbestos Abatement Regulations November 2022
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