There were many applications for asbestos before. It had various properties (such as insulation, tensile strength, and flexibility), which allowed it to be used in different industries. It was also very affordable, and this made it a popular choice with regards to home building.
As a matter of fact, before the mid-1980s, a lot of Australian homes were built with asbestos-containing materials (ACMs). If your house was constructed during this period, you are likely to find ACMs in these parts of your property:
- Wall sheeting
- Vinyl sheet flooring
- Roof sheeting
- Carpet and tile underlays
- Concrete formwork
- Gables and eaves
- Drainage and flue pipes
- Waterproof membrane
- Imitation brick cladding
However, it’s important to note that asbestos is now considered a dangerous material. If you suspect that your home was built with ACMs, you should seek help from asbestos inspection and asbestos testing experts. With their knowledge and equipment in detecting asbestos, you would be properly advised on whether asbestos removal is necessary or not. Consequently, you’ll be able to guarantee the safety of your home.
Being constantly exposed to high amounts of asbestos has its risks. By breathing in asbestos fibres every day for several years, your chances of contracting asbestosis, lung cancer, or mesothelioma become higher. What’s even more disquieting is that you will only start exhibiting symptoms 20 to 30 years after your first exposure to asbestos fibres.
What you should do when dealing with asbestos
There are many ways for you to discover asbestos: Some homeowners only find out about it accidentally during renovations or repairs. But regardless of how you learned that your home has ACMs, it is essential to prioritise safety when you’re dealing with any of these circumstances. Keep these tips in mind to ensure that you’re handling the situation properly.
When you find asbestos in your home
You can check Google for images of ACMs, and from there, you can have an idea on what asbestos looks like. However, identifying asbestos isn’t really that simple. Remember that you’re dealing with a hazardous material, and you have no way of knowing the real extent of damage or danger. The best thing to do is to call an asbestos assessor to check if a particular area in your home has ACMs. They can test the material and advise you on whether you should enlist the help of asbestos removal contractors. Take note: Asbestos assessors aren’t qualified to carry out asbestos removal; they are only allowed to do inspections and testing.
When you accidentally break asbestos
Sometimes, during renovations or repairs, you discover ACMs — but unfortunately at the expense of breaking them. This is quite dangerous because once you have damaged an ACM, this means that asbestos fibres have been released into the air and you can easily breathe them in. Of course, you can’t do an emergency asbestos removal right then and there, all by yourself. You can do a temporary fix, though, while waiting for professional asbestos removers. One thing you can try is wiping off the dust with a damp cloth. Make sure that you put this in a plastic bag after use, double wrap it, and dump it in your garbage bin. You can also try sealing the cracked ACM with paint or PVA glue, but if the damage is bigger, you’ll need a professional to replace the entire sheeting and handle asbestos disposal for you.
When you want to remove asbestos
In Australia, non-professionals are legally allowed to perform asbestos removal. This means that you can actually do this without ringing your local asbestos removal companies — but of course there are restrictions on the scope of work that you can do. Non-pros can only remove non-friable asbestos from areas that do not exceed 10m2. Also, the job must not take more than one hour in a period of seven days. You must wear personal protective equipment too as this will ensure your safety while doing the task. Disposing of asbestos is another matter, though. Ask your local council what sites are approved for asbestos disposal or have asbestos removal companies take care of it for you.
What to look for when hiring asbestos removal companies
There are different types of licences issued to asbestos contractors, but the two general classes are: class A (for friable asbestos removal) and class B (for non-friable or bonded asbestos removal). Friable asbestos is characterised as dry and loose; therefore, it crumbles easily and can be released into the air in a matter of seconds. Non-friable asbestos, on the other hand, is more solid, so it doesn’t break so easily.
Asbestos removal requires a careful process, and definitely there are risks involved when doing it. For you to have peace of mind, your contractor should have a public liability insurance, which can cover damage to your property. There’s no telling when an accident would happen so make sure that your contractor has workers’ compensation as well.
Know what other customers think of the businesses. This will show you if they are reliable and trustworthy, if they carry out jobs thoroughly and satisfactorily, and if they can finish tasks within a reasonable time period.
Check out these reviews on some of the top asbestos removal services in Brisbane:
”RiverCity were easy to deal with and did a good tidy job of removing an old asbestos fence from the side of our property.” - Kate from Windsor, Qld on RiverCity Asbestos Removals
“I would highly recommend SAFE Asbestos Management. I struggled for a long time finding a company that would remove two old box air-conditioning units that were in an asbestos house and be able to re-plaster the wall once the units and asbestos was removed. The guys provided an accurate quote, met with me outside business hours and were prompt and courteous. The job itself happened exactly when I booked it in and went off without a hitch. The finish was excellent. There was also great support through the main office whenever I needed to check anything.” - Michaela from Kedron, Qld on SAFE Asbestos Group
Cost of asbestos removal services
Asbestos removal services vary in pricing, and this is due to a number of factors like the size and complexity of the job. Nevertheless, businesses usually start charging at $45/hr.
When posting your job on the site, provide as many details as you can so that businesses could send accurate quotes. Some companies may prefer to do a site visit before giving you a written quote, and you might want to consider this as well.