Most Australians know what asbestos is, but few are aware that it still poses a risk to the average person, even in today’s day and age. A third of all homes in Australia still contain (often hidden) asbestos, and someone dies every 13 hours from exposure to it. As professional asbestos removalists, the GBAR Group works with both companies and private contractors – but we’ve found that the latter is much less likely to turn to the professionals for help. If you’re a builder or renovator, you should be aware that your risk of asbestos exposure is very real. To combat this, we’ve compiled a step by step guide to managing your asbestos risk during restoration and building projects.
STEP 1 – GAUGE YOUR RISK
Before commencing with even the most minor renovation project, check with the owners (or the local council) if the home was built or renovated in the eighties in any way, even if only for the addition or removal of flooring and tiles. If so, there’s a good chance it might contain some kind of asbestos material. Remember that there’s no way to tell that something contains asbestos just by looking at it, so the moment you suspect its presence, you should call in the experts.
STEP 2 – WORK SLOWLY
Perhaps you’re not 100% sure if the home was built or renovated before 1987. Even if it wasn’t, it could still have been built much later using older materials. The good news is that in most cases undisturbed asbestos won’t pose much of a risk. If you commence working and unexpectedly find the presence of fibro sheeting, switchboards, piping, shingles, or loose fill insulation that you suspect could be older and therefore compromised, immediately stop your work and leave it alone. Then call the experts.
STEP 3 – FOLLOW THE CHECKLIST
Asbestos Awareness Australia has realised the challenge of taking into account exactly what could be asbestos in a home. To help make your pre-renovation project preparations easier, they have created a comprehensive and educational Healthy Household Checklist, which can further help you to identify and manage any asbestos containing materials. Follow this checklist and then, you guessed it – call the experts.
Getting asbestos professionally removed isn’t just safer – it’s also much quicker and costs less than you think it will!
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