If you have an older home (built before 1987), there is the chance that asbestos-containing materials were used. It is understandable that you want these removed from your home in order to gain peace of mind, but what do you do if it’s only a small amount? Here’s what you need to know.
Asbestos can be defined as fibrous silicate materials that used to be popular for building. Asbestos is now recognised as a material that can be very dangerous to health as exposure can result in conditions such as asbestosis, lung cancer, and mesothelioma. The more exposure to the fibres, the greater the risk. Asbestos can be bonded or friable. Bonded asbestos is relatively stable if it is not disturbed and remains in good condition and is usually found in some form of sheeting. Friable asbestos is in the form of a powder or can be easily crumbled by hand, and carries greater risk.
Asbestos may be found in ceilings, roofs, eaves, floors, cladding, drains, flues, gutters, insulation, walls, fencing, and even certain types of flooring. There is also a possibility that it may contaminate the soil.
If you have less than 10 metres squared of asbestos in your home, then a license is not required to remove it. This means that you can do it yourself if you wish, but due to the nature of the material and the precautions that must be taken during removal and cleanup, it may be wise to seek the help of a licensed asbestos removal professional. It is vital that the professional that you choose is correctly licensed as there are different licenses for asbestos removal – one allowing the removal of bonded asbestos materials only, and one that allows the removal of both bonded and friable asbestos. They also need to be registered under the relevant State or Territory legislation. Before any removal work is carried out, they need to have obtained the correct permits from WorkCover.
Licensed asbestos removal professionals are well versed in the safety procedures that they have to follow when removing asbestos (wearing the correct personal protective equipment, double bagging and sealing the asbestos materials, decontaminating the site where appropriate, disposing of the materials in the correct places, etc).
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