With the booming property market in Australia, and the popularity of reality television shows such as House Rules and The Block, many people are turning to DIY renovations in hopes of adding value to their homes, and in some cases, flipping quickly for profit.
This means that many DIY home renovators will come across asbestos in various forms. Asbestos use in residential and commercial construction was common in Australia from the early 1900s through until the late 1980s.
We’ve all heard different things about the dangers of asbestos, usually through second-hand channels. “It’s only the blue and brown stuff that’s dangerous; the white stuff can’t hurt you. You can remove it yourself” or “None of it is dangerous until you disturb it. Don’t break it or drill into it” or “It’s all toxic; get it removed!”
It’s hard to nail down the truth after sifting through the many opinions. So when it comes to asbestos removal, when should you get the professionals in?
The legal requirements
In NSW, homeowners can legally remove a maximum of 10 square metres of firmly-bound asbestos. Any loosely-bound or friable asbestos has to be removed by a licensed professional.
There are a number of requirements you must follow if you choose to remove asbestos yourself. These include making sure the material is wetted down and securely sealed in heavy-duty plastic before being taken away. The material must be transported in a covered vehicle, and disposed of at an accredited waste treatment facility. You can’t just put it in the bin or at the local tip.
While you can do-it-yourself depending on how much asbestos there is and whether it’s bonded or friable, the NSW Environment Protection Authority says DIY removal is not recommended.
Why you should call in the professionals
Asbestos fibres have the potential to be a serious health hazard if they are inhaled, and removing it from your home is not a job to take lightly.
In some cases, as long as they are not worn or damaged, it may be better to leave asbestos containing materials undisturbed. A licensed professional can best advise you on whether you need to remove asbestos, and can then go about it safely.
How can we help?
Our team can inspect your property for asbestos containing materials and confirm the presence of asbestos with NATA accredited laboratory testing. We can provide advice on removal, and help you find the right removalist for the job.
We’re also experienced in dealing with asbestos in workplaces, so talk to us if you require an asbestos management plan for your organisation.