Review: Air Sampling Pumps

Review: Air Sampling Pumps

Updated: Sep 05, 2020

This week, Consultex is trying something new and conducting a review of one of the most commonly used pieces of equipment in the industry, Air Sampling Pumps. In addition to our plethora of pumps, we have managed to get our hands on a majority of the most commonly used brands and models in New Zealand’s industry and put them to the test. As with every review, the goal is to be as comprehensive as possible, however there are the following notable exclusions:

Gilian Gil-air

SKC Flite 3

Buck Libra

SKC Touch

If anyone has any experience with these models, feel free to share your experience’s below!

Please note these are Consultex’s review’s and opinions based on personal experiences with each unit in real life application. These views or primarily based on asbestos monitoring and consultancy. Different pumps may suit certain service lines and applications better. If anyone has positive or negative experiences with their air sampling pumps, feel free to drop a comment below.

Low Flow

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Zefon Escort Elf

This basic no frills pump is a great work horse for day to day sampling. The 1-3 LPM is ideal for the long sampling times and the strong NiMH battery makes it durable with a long shelf life. The slim shape and built on clip makes for easy placement on site. A reliable pump without the extras.

Pros: Intrinsically Safe, Robust, Automatic flow compensator, LED indicators, Simple basic maintenance, Available for retail purchase in NZ

Cons: Non-programmable, limited flow rates, No data-logging, screwdriver required to remove control pad cover

Battery Life: 6/10

Ergonomics: 5/10

Aesthetics: 4/10

Calibration: 7/10

Price: 6/10

Versatility: 4/10

Consultex’s Final Rating: 5/10

SKC AirChek XR5000

Probably one of the most common sampling pumps in New Zealand, the SKC Airchek range comes in a range of flow models, but for this test we used a XR5000. This compact and lightweight unit packs a punch for its size. With the flow rates ranging from 5 to 5000 ml/min (with low flow adapter) the versatility box gets a big tick. Easy servicing, maintenance and availability of spare parts makes this a good long term investment for your business.

Pros: Long lasting Li-ion Battery, Portable and lightweight, Programmable, Intrinsically safe, Interchangeable batteries, Automatic compensator, tool free operation

Cons: 3 button sequence operated, No data logging

Battery Life: 8/10

Ergonomics: 6/10

Aesthetics: 5/10

Calibration: 5/10

Price: 5/10

Versatility: 6/10

Consultex’s Final Rating: 6/10

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Casella Apex 2 - Standard Model

The feature packed Casella Apex 2 is one of the front runners of our test. The modern and compact unit has a high performance Li-ion battery with a percentage indicator so you know exactly how much juice you have left. Intrinsically safe and flow rates ranging from 5 to 5000 ml/min (with low flow adapter). One of the best features is the motion sensor. This gives you reassurance of the integrity of your samples whether you are personal sampling or static sampling. For this test we used the standard model, however the pro and plus also have bluetooth capabilities.

Pros: Rubber protective cover, Easy to use display, Incredible battery life, Automatic compensator, Slim design makes it more comfortable for personal sampling, Locking feature, Motion sensor, Fault and blockage auto restart, tool free operation, easy servicing of internal filter (wingnut screw), Quiet

Cons: Sawtooth clip can be difficult to mount on static locations such as fences, This particular model is non-programmable and has no data logging

Battery Life: 9/10

Ergonomics: 8/10

Aesthetics: 8/10

Calibration: 8/10

Price: 7/10

Versatility: 9/10

Consultex’s Final Rating: 8.5/10

SKC Essential

One of the latest additions to SKC’s range, the Essential model appears to be the modern reincarnation of the AirChek. The basic function pump has a modern feel with a large electronic display. The protective covers make this unit feel very secure. The powerful Li-on battery gives you 40+ hours of sampling time. Intrinsically safe and flow rates ranging from 5 to 5000 ml/min (with low flow adapter).

Pros: Tool free operation, Available for retail purchase in NZ, Protective screen cover, stack-able charging docks, fault LED indicators, easy calibration

Cons: Non-programmable, no data logging

Battery Life: 9/10

Ergonomics: 6/10

Aesthetics: 7/10

Calibration: 6/10

Price: 6/10

Versatility: 6/10

Consultex’s Final Rating: 8/10

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Airbox MKII

A smart looking unit with a very nice solid feel, the Airbox’s low flow offering is a serviceable performer. The intense yellow finish makes it easily identifiable on site. The basic mechanical operation and calibration make this pump highly user friendly. However, the simple technology and industrial construction do have their drawbacks. The biggest we found was the short battery life. The 9.6V NiMH battery can’t seem to keep up with it’s competitors lithium power and the run time really reflects this. In our busy schedule the run time and constant charging was a burden we could definitely live without, however, if you are in the market for a basic pump that does it’s job, this could be a good option.

Pros: Easy calibration, solid construction, Available for retail purchase in NZ

Cons: Screw driver required for calibration, noisy

Battery Life: 2/10

Ergonomics: 3/10

Aesthetics: 6/10

Calibration: 5/10

Price: 4/10

Versatility: 3/10

Consultex’s Final Rating: 4/10

Gilian BDX-II

A quiet achiever in our test group, the Gilian BDX-II is a robust workhouse. Simple calibration and operation functions make this pump easy to use day to day. The requirement for a screw driver to open the control pad cover and calibration is inconvenient but adds a layer of security when sampling onsite. With a old school feel the BDX-II is renown for is durability and is highly recommended by consultants around the world. The inbuilt flow meter is handy but rendered useless with the requirement for a calibrated rotameter.

Pros: Easy to use, robust, easy maintenance, accessible spare parts

Cons: The wide clip can be too wide for chain link fences as static monitoring points, Screw driver required for operation and calibration, noisy

Battery Life: 6/10

Ergonomics: 5/10

Aesthetics: 5.5/10

Calibration: 7/10

Price: 8/10

Versatility: 5/10

Consultex’s Final Rating: 6.5/10

High Flow

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Air Box Variflow

Air Box’s contribution to the high flow sampling market is very common in New Zealand. The tough construction and well planned ergonomics of this pump make it nice to transport and place onsite. The huge 2m inbuilt telescopic mast is awesome and it tucks away with ease. The solid base and high mast make it perfect for clearances and soil remediation monitoring. The biggest down side to this pump is the battery. In our experience we found the battery to be short lived and the pump spent a lot of time in the office on charge. We put this down to the lead acid battery which also contributes to the pumps hefty 4.6 kilo weight. We also found the calibration process to be more difficult than one would expect.

Pros: A massive 2m extendable mast!, Water and dust proof, solid construction, easy to carry design, available for retail purchase in NZ

Cons: Poor battery life, heavy, counter intuitive calibration,

Battery Life: 2/10

Ergonomics: 6/10

Aesthetics: 5/10

Calibration: 4/10

Price: 6/10

Versatility: 5/10

Consultex’s Final Rating: 4.5/10

3A Technology 8 & 16L Air Sampling Pump

Made in the UK 3A Technology’s high flow models are also very popular in New Zealand. With a metal construction and staged telescopic mast, the pump is a breeze to set up onsite. A basic adjustment screw accessible by a small screwdriver is as simple as it gets when it come’s to calibration. The coiled hose collapses nicely when packing up and makes for tidy storage in-conjunction with a sturdy handle for carrying. The pump is perfect for asbestos clearances and monitoring outside environments. We did find the flow fluctuation wasn’t compliant when getting lower than approximately 3 litres per minute, however this pump is clearly designed for high flow sampling, and performs it very well at increased flow.

Pros: Staged telescopic mast, coiled hose, easy calibration

Cons: Screw driver required for calibration, not suitable for low flows

Battery Life: 7/10

Ergonomics: 7/10

Aesthetics: 7/10

Calibration: 8/10

Price: 8/10

Versatility: 5/10

Consultex’s Final Rating: 7/10

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What makes a good asbestos survey report

What makes a good asbestos survey report in today's industry?

Updated: Aug 06, 2020

With dozens of off the shelf asbestos software options and local developers able to produce a capable system in a matter of days. What factors and information makes for a good asbestos survey report in today’s market?

Here’s Consultex’s take:

Comprehensive, but not over complicated.

Far to often you see survey reports with a immense amount of copy and paste jargon at the beginning and throughout the report. Consultex ask the question, does this add value to the client? Of course there is a minimum level of caveats and limitations that must be listed in the report to protect both the company and client. However are the 20 pages of example reports, scenarios, extravagant risk matrix’s and repetitive executive summary tables necessary?

Colour is king

In a industry that is made up of mostly visual learners, colour and detailed site maps are KING. To Consultex, this means:

  • Utilising red (positive or strongly presumed), green (negative) and orange (presumed) clearly and unsparingly throughout the report
  • Marking extents and labeling site maps. There’s nothing worse than only having blank sample references on a site map. The continuous flicking and scrolling between pages is not the experience Consultex aims to deliver. That’s why all our site plans are labelled with the appropriate colour, type of material and the extent.

Pictures, Pictures, Pictures

Self explanatory? apparently not. Even in today’s market some of the largest consultancies are failing to provide multiple high quality images per survey item in survey reports. Frederick R. Barnard once said pictures paint a thousand words and we think so too. Credit to Flow Mobile Surveying for allowing us to add high definition images to all our reports.

Accuracy and Detail – Can I quote off this?

Consultex strive’s to offer a report that a asbestos removal contractor can quote from in the office. How is this achieved? We offer more value. Here’s how:

  • Accurate extents. All our consultants carry measuring lasers, tapes and wheels. Measure twice, cut once – Measure right, quote right.
  • Consultex add the detail that contractors desire. Example? A corrugated asbestos fibre cement roof has been identified during a survey. Job done? No. Consultex’s team now look to include information about the presence and state of the building paper, the type and extent of the insulation. Is the roof fixed with screws or flat nails etc. Another example? sure. Textured ceilings. Is it plaster board or fibrous gib? insulfluff or batts? Lath and plaster? you get the point.


Recommendations are what defines a good consultant from the rest. With out giving to much away, Consultex evaluates and considers the end user of the report. We then tailor the recommendations in a way they can understand and apply to their project or asbestos management.

If you would like to speak to one of our surveyor’s please contact us through the website or on the details below:

0508 292 292 or [email protected]


FAMANZ – Desirable Hazmat Consultancy

FAMANZ - Delivering Desirable Hazmat Consultancy

Updated: Jul 05, 2020

Source: Ben Alford FAMANZ Delivering Desirable Hazmat Consultancy

With experienced Hygienists’ and asbestos consultants high in demand in New Zealand. I thought I would touch base on what defines a good hazardous material consultant and what is desirable within the market. The following blog has been separated into different sections below for discussion.

So what makes a good Hazmat Consultant / Hygienist?:

Safe Working During Site Work: With the correct certification, ongoing training, an experienced hygienist or hazmat consultant should be able to complete and have a understanding of:

  • Risk assessment identifying any risks or hazards prior to work
  • What is required within a scope of works
  • The site works without causing harm to anyone around them
  • All sampled material should be left safe and in good condition
  • Re-instating the area safely in line with the scope of works provided by the contractor or the client.

Taking the time with a methodical approach in line with the legislation is mandatory for delivering good consultancy, an experienced Hazmat consultant is systematic and takes their time when on a job.

Money tends to be a priority within the consultancy business, and everyone wants everything now. This creates more issues down the line and can cause extra costs for the client due to return visits on site. These return visits tend to revolve around.

  • Missing of hazardous materials which require sampling
  • Misidentification of hazardous materials,
  • Lack of clarity around the risk of a site
  • Poor development of reporting (Missing photos)

As part of life, the human factor will always be there, but experienced consultants should be providing consistency within there approach, which will give clients the product they require.

Qualitative Data, Good Reporting and Easy to Read are critical aspects when issuing reports. The best Hygienists / Consultants provide reports which are easy to read and to the point. Reporting is an essential component for a business owner of the homeowner as it can dictate the actions taken. If the report is presenting misinformation, the business can incur huge costs, and the wrong actions can be made in line with the risks. As mentioned above, reporting can be dictated by the approach taken on-site and the quality of work.

Communication is a massive part of hazmat consultancy prior/during and after works. Within the Hazardous material industry, a consultant/hygienist must deliver a recommendation in line with the HSWA 2015 and Approve Code of Practice 2016 (For asbestos). When communicating with clients, a consultant must focus on:

  • Whether there are an immediate health risk and removal is required
  • Whether the risk can be dealt with quickly and practically (In line with the guidelines)
  • Whether the risk can be maintained over a period
  • Whether the client is required to meet their requirements under the (HSWA 2015)

All these points can lead to a business incurring high costs which can create an emotional environment. As a consultant/hygienist, it is your job to reassure your clients through the process and give out the best consultancy possible in line with the issue presented. It is also a Consultant / Hygienists job to be independent in their communication with there being no other agenda’s.

Working Together to Provide a Positive Outcome is fundamentally the goal of all parties is providing the client with a positive service with an excellent outcome. Experienced Hygienist’s / Consultants work together with the contractors to provide the best outcome for their clients. Meaning the contractor and consultant are aligned with good communication during the job. If there is no cohesion, the following issues start to develop:

  • Deviation from the scope of works without the communications provided to the client
  • Costs are incurred on the client without knowledge,
  • Lack of practicality on-site with a toxic environment developing
  • Quality of outcome Is not provided and potential change of contractor and consultant during works

Therefore, everybody loses, and the job fails to meet the positive outcome required. So, working together is a significant part of the Hazardous material industry.

Concerning my comments above, I would love to hear the thoughts of hygienist’s/consultant’s from all aspects of experience junior to seniors; all are welcome to comment. The blog is written from my perspective, and please challenge me on any of the points, as I am interested in other people’s views!!!


consultex environmental logo


Support Local, Shop Local

Support Local, Shop Local

Updated: Jun 30, 2020

Support local shop localWith the impact of COVID-19 yet to be fully realised, more now than ever is the time to be a conscientious consumer. That is why Consultex has committed to supporting local New Zealand business’s wherever possible. From building lease to stationary, car tyres to chisels, laboratory analysis to lattes, every purchase and dealing is done with the upmost due diligence. It’s surprising that even some of the most kiwi-like brands have offshore associations and holdings, and our industry is no different. We encourage everyone to get behind the “Support Local Shop Local” campaign and keep an eye out for their branding in your local community.



Consultex Teams Up With Flow

Consultex Teams Up With Flow

Updated: Jun 30, 2020

Local start-up works with UK firm to offer hi-tech safety solutions despite lockdown

Services flowAs companies struggle for survival due to the coronavirus pandemic, bold entrepreneurs in New Zealand has decided to start a new business regardless of the current climate. Ben Alford, William Morris-Whyte, Jake Davenport and Chris McNoe have worked in the hazardous material (Hazmat) industry for combined three decades and are aware of the pressing need to keep building sites across New Zealand safe. So, despite lockdown, the group started Consultex Environmental.

The four partners have a dream to use our expertise to revolutionise the Hazmat industry in innovative ways and by using the latest, cutting-edge software. Consultex Environmental will act as an independent Hazmat consultant, specialising in asbestos surveying and removal services and occupational hygiene. Also, Consultex Environmental has just concluded negotiations with Flow Software solutions in the North East of England to offer their superfast surveying software.

The Flow Mobile Surveying App is the brainchild of Paul and David King of Flow Software Solutions, another start-up that opened its doors just a year ago. The two brothers also have 10 years of hi-tech experience and their software has featured in PC Mag; BBC Webscape; lifehacker.com and Tech Crunch Europe. The Flow Mobile Surveying App will now be available through Consultex Environmental.

Speaking about his new business Ben says, “I know it’s not the best time to start a company however we have to be brave and I believe Consultex Environmental will make a huge difference in these hard times. I am also pleased to be able to promote the Flow Solutions mobile app. I love the way it immediately updates our desktop surveys, and I think it will do very well in New Zealand.” Together, Consultex Environmental and Flow Software Solutions have refused to let lockdown affect their partnership deal. “Negotiations between the two companies had to be done from home using webcams and working from home helped facilitate the process with an 11-hour time difference,” says Paul King. “New Zealand is a growing market for the asbestos surveying industry and is a good opportunity to make the Flow Mobile Surveying App available internationally, despite lockdown.” While many start-ups may be struggling, Consultex Environmental, Paul and David King show that it is possible to thrive in the worst economic climate, and that is inspirational. Now, as Consultex extends Flow Software Solutions to New Zealand all seven are expectant, the app will deliver for many new customers.

“Individually we are good at what we do, but together we have more clout,” says David. “When you start a business, there is an inherent risk, but you have to believe that what you are doing is going to work. I believe that as partners, we can achieve anything.”

The Flow Mobile Surveying App Flow came out of a desire to find a solution to a significant problem, Asbestos, which is still responsible for many of today’s cancers. The carcinogenic substance is banned, and surveys are required before any building work is done on the majority of properties. The Flow surveying software app records the presence of hazardous materials in the fastest way possible and allows for seamless updates from mobile to laptop.

Consultex Environmental now offers independent, trusted and client-focused advice on Hazmat-related issues across New Zealand as well as the software needed to help combat harmful materials. For more information, visit


New Zealand’s Asbestos Survey Industry

Ben Alford's FAMANZ Blog: New Zealand's Asbestos Survey Industry

Updated: Jun 29, 2020

Source: Ben Alford's FAMANZ Blog.

logo famanzThe Asbestos surveying industry within New Zealand is young; therefore, it lacks the regulations of the UK, USA and Australia. Due to the inconsistency within surveys within New Zealand, there will be a considerable amount of re-surveys performed nationally over the next five years.

Before these surveys happen, the industry needs to improve, and if so, what needs to happen for the standards to be raised?

One area I believe further improvement and dialogue is required is around training and auditing.

The current platform allows for anyone with an IP402 or P402 to provide asbestos surveys without any liability.

Therefore young surveyors don’t understand the burden they place on themselves when releasing a report, because there is no liability.

Therefore I would like to see an overarching external body such as FAMANZ provide ongoing audits and accredited assessments. The current IANZ standard of ISO17020 isn’t enforced regularly by trained consultants to ensure the ongoing support for improved training within New Zealand, I believe this is necessary to happen before the industry’s standard can improve.

As members of FAMANZ can you please outline any additional initial steps, which are required to create a good support structure for improvement?