Asbestos was extensively used in numerous building materials before the 1970s. It is today normally found as pipe and duct insulation, attic insulation, floor, wall and ceiling tiles. Today it generally recognized that asbestos does pose some serious health risks and its removal is being encouraged globally.
However, that should not unnecessarily frighten you. If those materials containing asbestos are undamaged, it is best to just leave them alone. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says that it is even more hazardous to disturb them. Removal may become necessary when that material containing asbestos is crumbling, damaged or flaking. However, when planning on doing some remodeling which may disrupt that material, removal would be the best option.
Identifying Asbestos Fiber
Perhaps the most common building products that you will come across whenever undertaking renovations in older buildings are fibro sheeting. This was extensively utilized beginning from the early 1950's after the end of World War II. It gained a great reputation because of its durable nature and is cheap. Consequently, it became extensively employed in the building of less costly style home dwellings.
The most probable variety of fibro that you may come across in an old building is flat sheet variety of fibro, often employed for the outside covering of homes, sheds and garages. The sheeting just got nailed to the framed wooden structure hence making the work of construction cheap and quick. It was no wonder that it was widely used. It can from time to time be seen within the house in places like toilets and backrooms.
Basics Of Asbestos Removal
Removal of asbestos is basically a 2-step process. The first step would be to have the asbestos material tested so as to ascertain if it indeed does contain the harmful asbestos fibro. The second step will be to have it competently removed. In doing this, you should take note of the following :
- Get in touch with your state or territory asbestos authority or program for guidance. In Australia, all aspects involving the removal of asbestos fall under Work safe Occupational Health and Safety regulations.
- Seek out certified contractors and inspectors who have been trained and licensed in testing and removal of asbestos.
- To steer clear of any possible conflict of interest, it is advisable to have the suspect materials being tested by one testing company and the removal being carried out by another different company.
- Be ready because in some instances, you may need to temporarily relocate the entire household as the work is being carried out.
Hiring The Right Contractor
It is recommended that you engage a contractor who is licensed by your respective state or territory to carry out removals. They are more likely to be well trained and conversant with all legal requirements regarding removal of hazardous waste materials like asbestos.
Before the commencement of the work, you may want to get a written agreement or contract which clearly spells out all the contractor will do as part of the removal including aspects like premises cleanup and the disposal of the asbestos waste materials.
At the conclusion of the work, obtain some written proof that all legal and environmental procedures were adhered to by the contractor in the approved manner. If feasible, get a follow-up safety test conducted by a licensed government asbestos inspector in accordance with Australian Work Health and Safety Strategy 2012-2022. The vision of this strategy is the promotion of safe, healthy and productive working lives for all.