Asbestos Removal Sydney – What To Do If You Find Asbestos In Your Home
Asbestos was widely used in Australian building materials from the 1940s to the late 1980s before being banned. If you find asbestos in your Sydney home, proper removal by a licensed professional is vital to avoid health risks. Here is a step-by-step guide on dealing with asbestos if discovered in a residential property.
The first step is confirming if a material contains asbestos, which is not always obvious from sight alone. Asbestos fibres may be hidden in cement sheeting, walls, flooring, roofs, eaves and other products. If you suspect asbestos is present, do not disturb the material. Contact an asbestos inspection company to test the material and verify if it is asbestos containing. Licensed inspectors follow safety procedures in collecting small samples for asbestos testing.
Making An Asbestos Management Plan
Once asbestos is confirmed in your home, the next step is developing an asbestos management plan tailored to your situation. This includes:
- Documenting the location, type and condition of all asbestos materials found. Photographs are useful references.
- Assessing if the asbestos is friable (easily crumbled by hand) or non-friable. Friable asbestos is highly hazardous if fibres become airborne.
- Evaluating risks associated with accessibility and disturbance of asbestos materials. For example, is it in a high traffic area?
- Deciding which materials need immediate asbestos removal for safety, versus encapsulating/sealing materials that pose low risks if undisturbed.
Choosing An Asbestos Removal Company
Only specially trained, licensed asbestos removalists should handle the process. Choosing an experienced, reputable company is critical for safety. Verify they are licensed by WorkCover NSW and all workers have completed the required safety training. Ask how they encapsulate areas, suppress asbestos fibres, dispose of waste, and make the job site clean and safe again. Get several quotes to compare costs.
Asbestos Removal Process
Strict procedures regulated by WorkCover NSW govern asbestos removal work in residential properties:
- The site is prepared by sealing vents, windows and doors with plastic sheeting to contain asbestos fibres. Furniture is also removed.
- Signs are posted to indicate asbestos abatement work is occurring.
- Asbestos materials are thoroughly wetted down to suppress fibres before removal.
- Workers wear protective suits and approved respirators.
- Asbestos materials are carefully extracted without damaging them further. Non-friable materials are kept intact if possible.
- All asbestos waste must be sealed in labelled plastic bags and disposed of at an approved site.
- Site decontamination includes cleaning all surfaces with HEPA vacuums. Air monitoring also ensures the site is fibre-free after work completes.
- Homeowners receive a clearance certificate confirming the site is safe following asbestos removal.
Long-Term Asbestos Management
For any asbestos materials remaining in a home, implement an ongoing inspection and maintenance program. Re-inspect these materials annually, ensuring they remain undisturbed and in good condition. Any deterioration will require removal. Use licensed professionals for repairs, renovations or removal to avoid asbestos disturbance. Following proper asbestos safety practices when dealing with this carcinogenic material protects you and your family.