If you’re considering a knock down rebuild or renovation of a property with a known risk of asbestos contamination, an asbestos inspection is vital.
Due to the health risks associated with asbestos, it is necessary to identify, remove and dispose of any relevant building materials properly.
As licensed and experienced asbestos experts, the team at Icon Asbestos Removals can help you manage the risks and undertake necessary asbestos removal in line with all legislation.
What is Asbestos & Where is it Found?
A naturally occurring mineral silicate fibre, Asbestos has been widely mined and used in the manufacturing of a vast number of materials for several decades.
Mining of asbestos and production of materials containing asbestos have ceased in Australia, however, still occur overseas.
With asbestos only being banned in late 2003, a variety of asbestos-containing materials may be present in homes or buildings constructed before this date.
Asbestos can be found across residential, industrial and commercial properties in:
- Fencing panels
- Roofing tiles
- Wall sheeting
- Cement flooring
- Sewer pipes
- Guttering and downpipes
- Flues for fireplaces
- Ceiling sealants and more.
Understanding The Risks of Asbestos
There are several significant health risks associated with exposure to asbestos fibres. This includes lung cancer and other terminal lung conditions such as asbestosis.
While these risks were not known initially, their discovery is what led to it being banned in Australia.
There are different types of asbestos, friable and non-friable, with both posing a risk to your health, though, friable asbestos, the loose, unbonded type of asbestos is considered higher risk.
This is due to the fibres easily becoming more easily airborne and inhaled. Non-friable is bonded into glues or concretes, but can still release fibres when broken or cut during removal.
The Importance of Asbestos Testing
As the presence of asbestos is often unknown, starting home renovations on an older home without performing proper checks is advised against.
The only way to confirm whether there is asbestos in your home is to have it inspected and tested.
While there are differing levels of asbestos found in properties and the risks may vary, safe work procedures must always be followed.
In some instances, it is not necessary to remove asbestos if it will remain untouched during renovations. However, an asbestos management plan should be in place to mitigate the risk of accidental exposure to airborne asbestos.
Your management plan must follow Work Health and Safety (WHS) guidelines and adhere to all relevant legislation. This protects not only the members of your household but all those working at your property during renovations.
The Asbestos Inspection Process
During an asbestos assessment, our licensed assessors first review the age of your property and any available information regarding its initial construction.
Following this, a physical audit/visual inspection is carried out of all accessible areas both inside and out. In high-risk properties, inaccessible areas will be assumed to contain asbestos.
Where asbestos is suspected or identified, samples may be taken for analysis and confirmation. Ultimately, laboratory testing is the only way to confirm the presence of asbestos.
In Australia, only a laboratory accredited by the National Association of Testing Authorities (NATA) is permitted to carry out testing for asbestos. The results of these tests will be shared with the property owner by the assessor and a plan developed for the next steps.
After Testing: Asbestos Removal and Safety
Where necessary, you will need to hire a licensed asbestos removalist. Only fully licensed and insured removalists should be engaged, failure to do so could see you face significant fines or jail time.
Asbestos, whether friable or non-friable, must be removed and disposed of following strict guidelines. This limits the risk of exposure, ensuring all fibres are contained and disposed of in an approved facility.
At Icon Asbestos Removals, we hold all relevant training and licensing to inspect, remove and dispose of asbestos safely. To speak with one of our highly experienced team members about the possibility of asbestos in your home, call today at 07 3053 3453.