Navigating the Engineered Stone Ban: A Commitment to Safety and Innovation

Navigating The Engineered Stone Ban: A Commitment To Safety And Innovation

Engineered stone, also known as quartz or composite stone, is a synthetic material crafted by combining natural quartz crystals with resins, polymers, and pigments. This amalgamation results in a resilient and non-porous surface boasting a diverse range of aesthetic possibilities, commonly used as a bench top material in kitchens and bathrooms.

While engineered stone has gained popularity in the construction and design industry due to its appealing aesthetics, durability, and low maintenance, recent attention has been drawn to its association with silicosis-causing particles.

What is Silicosis?

Silicosis is a progressive and potentially fatal lung disease resulting from prolonged inhalation of fine crystalline silica dust—an abundant mineral present in various rocks, soils, and sands.

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Industries like construction and manufacturing pose a risk of silica dust exposure during activities such as cutting, grinding, or drilling materials containing crystalline silica.

Upon inhalation, silica particles can deeply penetrate the lungs, causing inflammation and scarring of lung tissue. This scarring can lead to nodules and fibrous tissue formation, impairing lung function. The severity of silicosis depends on the duration and intensity of exposure to silica dust.

What is being done to limit Silicosis?

In response to the serious health risks associated with silicosis and its correlation with engineered stone, the Australian Federal Government has announced a ban on engineered stone containing crystalline silica, effective from July 1, 2024. This decision, prompted by health concerns related to crystalline silica exposure, will inevitably impact the industry and clients considering the installation of engineered stone in their homes.

At Highwater Homes, the safety of our clients and partners is our paramount concern. In light of the impending ban, we are committed to the safety of stonemasons, dedicated to customer service, and our continuous pursuit of market-leading surfaces.

What transition period will be available?

Navigating the Engineered Stone Ban: A Commitment to Safety and Innovation

During the transitional period leading up to the total ban, the following guidelines will be in place:

Installation Before July 1, 2024: Projects with installation expected before July 1, 2024, may continue unaffected by the ban. Work can proceed in accordance with current work, health, and safety requirements.

Contracts Signed Before December 13, 2023, with Installation After July 1, 2024: Transitional arrangements may apply, but details are still yet to be confirmed.

Installation After July 1, 2024: It will be illegal to use and install after this date. Alternate products will be required.

What are the alternative options?

Looking ahead, alternative options are available, and we are committed to assisting our clients in exploring these choices. Natural stone products, such as Dekton, marble, granite, porcelain, and concrete, present safe and aesthetically pleasing alternatives. Stone companies are actively formulating new designs that are crystalline silica-free, with launches anticipated in the first half of 2024. Caesarstone, a trusted brand, is set to introduce enhanced designs in their Porcelain collection, offering both functionality and versatility.

Navigating the Engineered Stone Ban: A Commitment to Safety and InnovationAt Highwater Homes, our dedication to innovation and safety means we will remain in close communication with our stone suppliers to remain informed about secure alternatives. We believe that, through collaborative efforts, we can navigate this transition with transparency and assurance, ensuring that alternative natural options are readily available for our clients. As we embark on this transformative journey, we extend our unwavering support and confidence that together, we can create homes that are not only beautiful but also safe for generations to come.

Learn more about Toby and Elizabeths Story. Highwater Homes are proud APB and HIA members.

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Elizabeth Searle

Elizabeth Searle

Elizabeth is the business manager and is involved in a wide variety of roles within the office. Elizabeth will often be the first point of call between you the client and Highwater Homes.

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