Questions You Should Ask Before Renovation

Renovating can be an exciting and fun time, turning something old into something new again is a thrilling thing to do and witness, however there are things you should consider before digging into any renovations.

 

When Was it Built?

Homes and businesses have cropped up all over Australia through the years and its important for you to know how old they are, why? Asbestos. Asbestos is a naturally-occurring mineral fibre that was popular due to its strength, flexibility, wide usage, and affordability. However once asbestos is worn or broken, fibres can be released into the air. These fibres can be inhaled causing chronic respiratory issues and in some cases death. Some of the diseases associated with asbestos include:

  • Lung Cancer
  • Asbestosis
  • Mesothelioma
  • Rounded Atelectasis
  • Pleural Thickening
  • Pleural Plaques
  • Pleural Effusion

Before the mid-1980’s asbestos was used in nearly all homes and businesses because of its wide variety of uses, this is why it is very important to know when the structure your planning on renovating was built, asbestos could be lurking undisturbed amidst the structure.

 

What are the types of Asbestos?

There are six different types of asbestos:

  • Tremolite Asbestos
  • Actinolite Asbestos
  • Anthophyllite Asbestos
  • Chrysotile Asbestos
  • Amosite Asbestos
  • Crocidolite Asbestos

The main forms of asbestos that are present in construction however are Chrysotile asbestos, Amosite asbestos and Crocidolite asbestos. After this the asbestos can be split into two categories; friable and non-friable.

Friable asbestos is easily broken and crushed, this means it can easily become airborne and be inhaled. Friable asbestos is more dangerous and should be treated with more caution.

Non-Friable Asbestos is hardier, less easily broken or damaged and can only become airborne once damaged, this asbestos although when inhaled is still as hazardous is less dangerous to remove.

 

How Do I Know?

So how do you know for sure if your looking at asbestos? Well the best way to know if something contains asbestos is to get it professionally tested, Asbestos Testing Melbourne. Get into contact with your local accredited asbestos removalist team and they can come to you and take multiple samples of any suspected asbestos safely and securely. Once the samples are taken they can take them to a NATA accredited laboratory for testing, these tests can normally be performed in under 24 hours, although multiple tests may take longer to ensure accurate results. Once testing has been completed they will contact you to let you know if asbestos is present and what dangers it may pose to you or the public.

 

What Are My Options?

So the tests have come in and asbestos is present in the area you wish to renovate, what are your options? Well you have four primary options and we shall go through them here:

Letting it be: If you do not need to renovate that area or can choose not to then sometimes the best option for dealing with asbestos is to let it be. This can only be done if the asbestos is in good order and has no damage. If you choose this option it is recommended that you regularly check up on the asbestos to ensure no new damage has occured that could put yourself or others at risk, regular checkups by professionals are also recommended.

 

Removal: Ultimately the safest solution to dealing with asbestos is removal, especially if you wish to renovate. It is not recommended that you attempt removal by yourself and it may be illegal to do so in your state or territory depending on the asbestos condition, location, amount or likelihood to become airborne. Accredited professionals know how to safely remove the asbestos from the structure causing minimal damage and risk, they also know the correct procedure for disposal, Asbestos Removal Melbourne.

 

Enclosure: Enclosing asbestos is generally not a long term option though it a good first step to dealing with the asbestos, enclosing asbestos means to seal the asbestos in a airtight container usually made from wood and plastic. Enclosure is best done by a professional to ensure that the asbestos is completely contained.

 

Further Reading:

http://www.cairns.qld.gov.au/water-waste-roads/waste/facilities/accepted-items

https://nt.gov.au/property/building-and-development/asbestos-and-building/asbestos-removal

https://www.australianasbestosnetwork.org.au/contact-us/

https://www.safework.sa.gov.au/show_page.jsp?id=2974

 

Three Cheap Ways to Deal with Asbestos

Asbestos is a naturally-occurring mineral fibre that was popular due to its strength, flexibility, wide usage, and affordability. However once asbestos is worn or broken, fibres can be released into the air. These fibres can be inhaled causing chronic respiratory issues and in some cases death.

 

So the question is, How do I keep myself and others safe from Asbestos without burning a hole in my wallet?

 

Before considering removal, professional testing is recommended to identify the type and area the asbestos covers. Asbestos Testing Sunshine Coast can enable you to call an asbestos professional and they will come to your property to collect a sample which they will take to an NATA accredited laboratory and return the results directly to you. This can happen within 24 hours however multiple samples may take longer to ensure accurate results. Utilizing a professional will also help keep yourself and others safe as they will inform you of any risks of contamination or health risks.

 

Number One: Let it be

Some asbestos is considered highly dangerous, if it has been damaged, releasing fibres in the air that we breath. However if the asbestos is well maintained and in good condition, sometimes the best course of action is to simply leave it alone. It is a smart idea to inspect the materials from time to time to ensure that deterioration and damage doesn’t take you by surprise. If you are wanting or thinking about working with or removing something with asbestos ask yourself these questions:

 

  • If it is in good condition, can you avoid it?
  • Have you thought about alternatives such as sealing or painting?
  • Should you utilize a professional?
  • Can you follow the laws and safety procedures for working with asbestos within your area?

 

Though it may seem counterintuitive sometimes the best thing to do, is nothing!

 

Number Two: Encapsulate

If the asbestos is not yet damaged then encapsulation could save you a large removal. There are two types of encapsulants: bridging, and penetrating. The type of asbestos will determine the encapsulation needed . Bridging encapsulants form a protective layer of coating over the asbestos, while penetrating encapsulants soak into the asbestos allowing it to harden.

If the asbestos is damaged it will need to be repaired and any loose Asbestos removed. Encapulatzation is best done by a professional as even a low spray can release Asbestos into the air to be potentially inhaled.

 

Number Three: Enclosure

Enclosing Asbestos is not necessarily  a long term option but can be useful until you raise the money to have it repaired, covered or removed. Enclosing the asbestos makes the environment around the asbestos safe. Enclosing the asbestos means to make a airtight enclosure for the area with the asbestos to ensure the fibres don’t escape and cause damage to yourself and others.  Enclosures are best made and put into place by professionals like Asbestos Removal Sunshine Coast, and can be made from plastic sheets, metal, and wood. However if the enclosure is not professionally installed you run the risk of it not being airtight. This can potentially allow for asbestos fibres to escape and become inhaled.

 

It is best to consult with professionals before you decide which option is best for you to ensure you have all of the information needed, the health risks involved and of course the costs.

 

Remember, the key to dealing with Asbestos is: Do your research and consult with professionals to find the best and safest option for your individual needs.

 

 

Further Reading:

Scared of Asbestos? Do this instead!

TAKE ACTION! Yes, Asbestos is a hazardous product, it can cause terrible harm to your health and to your wallet. But help is only a phone call away. Inaction will cause you to have anxiety regarding your health, or perhaps your tenant’s health? And not knowing the cost of removal will just leave you in the dark on what you can do about your asbestos. Don’t be scared, pick up that phone. It is always a plus to educate yourself further on what asbestos is.

 

Who you gonna call?

For asbestos testing Toowoomba area, it is simple enough to look up the yellow pages. You will find many people will offer testing solutions. What you are looking for is a contractor that can perform testing and also asbestos removal Toowoomba area. Finding the right contractor is key to having a successful encounter with your asbestos. Some people have used their current builder to remove their asbestos, they then find out later to their own detriment, that the builder was not licensed in removal and did not take all of the necessary precautions, such as using asbestos specialized vacuums etc. to contain all fibre release. Using a builder may just cause your whole property to become contaminated.

 

What do I look for in a good contractor?

 

  1. It’s the law. In Australia you must be a registered and licensed business to perform any type of asbestos removal, over 10m2.
  2. For testing asbestos, you want a contractor that takes the asbestos sample to a NATA accredited laboratory, any other way of testing is just not valid. Are you really prepared to take a guess on your health?
  3. The contractor you use should be able to offer you alternative solutions, either removal or encapsulation. Here the key; they should be able to tell you WHY they recommend one or the other. Remember: encapsulation is considerable cheaper than removal. It is not always offered by contractors as sometimes encapsulation is just not a viable option due to the location of the asbestos or the condition.
  4. Replacement product. Taking out asbestos is great! Then what do you replace it with, an asbestos contractor should be able to advise you on what you should replace it with and indeed, most will have industry contacts that they work with, and should be able to offer you the phone number of someone that can perform a replacement at best rate prices.

 

Don’t be afraid to contact your insurance provider, insurance companies are well versed in asbestos claims and how asbestos should be treated. Most insurance companies allow for claims, particularly if there is a weather event or such that has caused your asbestos to become broken or unsafe, it is in the insurance companies best interest to have this rectified immediately, so are to avoid having an asbestos heath insurance claim at a later stage.

 

Looking good!

It really I this simple. I know of many people that have loved with asbestos in their homes for decades before actually having any concerns. And sometimes that is how long it takes for the product to start to show any form of wear and tear. Now is the time to do something about your asbestos!

 

 

What about waste?

 

If your Asbestos Contractor recommends removal, they should be able to demonstrate to you that they understand the need to double wrap the product in a 200-micron thick plastic. Some city councils have a free pick up system for asbestos. Some councils do not. They will recommend that the waste will need to be moved by a licensed person in an EPA approved vehicle to an asbestos rated waste facility.

 

 

Further Reading:

Asbestos Guide – https://www.asbestossafety.gov.au/publications

http://ww2.health.wa.gov.au/~/media/Files/Corporate/general%20documents/Asbestos/PDF/Guidelines-Asbestos-Contaminated%20Sites-May2009.pdf

 

Encapsulation Products – https://thermaguardhrc.com.au/  https://www.fibrelok.co.uk/ https://flexcrete.com/asbestos-encapsulation/

Waste Guidelines: https://www.epa.gov/asbestos, https://www.brisbane.qld.gov.au/environment-waste/rubbish-tips-bins/asbestos