Asbestos, a group of six naturally occurring minerals, was commonly used in Australian homes built before the 1980s due to its resistance to heat, fire and chemical damage. However, asbestos fibres are harmful to human health, leading to diseases like mesothelioma, lung cancer and asbestosis when inhaled. Therefore, proper asbestos removal is crucial for maintaining a safe living environment. If you are contemplating buying a home that may contain asbestos, this guide will walk you through the ABCs of residential asbestos removal for homeowners in Australia.
Firstly, it's critical to recognise the potential presence of asbestos in your home. Most Australian homes built before the mid-1980s are likely to contain asbestos. It was typically used in roof shingles, insulation, wall claddings, vinyl floor tiles and even in certain types of paint.
Undisturbed, asbestos is relatively safe. However, when these materials deteriorate or are damaged, asbestos fibres can be released into the air. If you're planning any renovation or demolition that may disturb these materials, you need to consider asbestos removal.
B: Bring in the Professionals
While it may be tempting to remove asbestos yourself to save on costs, it's highly recommended to hire licensed professionals due to the health risks involved. Asbestos removal is a delicate process that requires specific knowledge, equipment and safety measures to ensure it's completed without exposing anyone to asbestos fibres.
In Australia, professionals need to be licensed by the relevant state or territory body to carry out asbestos removal work. Hiring licensed professionals provides assurance that they follow stringent guidelines to minimise the risk of asbestos exposure.
C: Compliance with Regulations
Australian laws have strict regulations for asbestos management and removal, which vary by state and territory. Homeowners are responsible for complying with these regulations, which may involve having an asbestos management plan if asbestos is present.
When hiring a professional, they should provide a clear and detailed plan that follows local regulations. This plan should include information about how they will safely remove and dispose of the asbestos. Moreover, once the job is done, they should also provide an asbestos clearance certificate, confirming that the area is safe for reoccupation.
Understanding the ABCs of residential asbestos removal—awareness, bringing in professionals and compliance with regulations—is a fundamental step in ensuring the safety and well-being of your household. While it may seem daunting, proper asbestos removal is a worthwhile investment in maintaining a safe and healthy home environment.
For more information, contact a residential asbestos removalist.