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When it comes to asbestos removal work and services, there are many reasons that you might need them in Australia.
Asbestos was widely used in the building and construction industry, particularly between the late 1950s and late 1980s. Homes, commercial buildings, industrial properties and almost every building that was built during that time is likely to have asbestos containing materials in some form or another.
So, there is a chance that if you live in a home or work in a building that was built prior to 2003 – when the use of asbestos, in any form, was banned in Australia – asbestos may be present.
If asbestos is present in your property, your safest option is to have it removed, by licensed asbestos removalists company. However, finding the best asbestos removal company may be difficult, because let’s face it, this isn’t a service that you need all too often.
To make the process of asbestos removal easier for you, we’ve put together some tips on the things you should look for when you choose an asbestos removal service.
But, before we jump right into the tips, let’s talk about asbestos, why it was used, where it might be, and why it should be removed.
Keep reading to learn about asbestos and asbestos removal.
There are many reasons as to why asbestos was so widely used throughout Australia. And when we say widely used, we really mean it – Australia had the highest use of asbestos in the world, per capita between the 1960s and 1980s.
One of the reasons for it’s widespread use was that it is a naturally abundant material. Asbestos is a naturally occurring compound mineral that is made of lots of flexible and very small fibres. Its natural abundance meant that it was a very affordable material.
But, besides being affordable, the fibres were extremely versatile. Asbestos fibres are resistant to heat, corrosion and electricity. They are also very strong but lightweight, so they could add strength to existing building materials, like adhesives and cement, and make them even stronger.
Because it is so durable, building materials that contained asbestos could last a very long time.
The application of asbestos in homes and buildings in Australia is very vast and varied, which is why we say that if your home was built between 1950 and 2003, it’s a good idea to have an asbestos inspection in your home.
Asbestos fibres were used on their own to provide insulation, particularly in walls and ceiling cavities. It was also commonly mixed with cement to make asbestos cement sheets and asbestos cement products like pipes. These asbestos cement materials were used to build walls, ceilings, roofing, and even fences. Asbestos fibres were also mixed with adhesives to seal windows, provide backings to floor and wall tiles, and pipe lagging.
These are only some of the ways it was used in homes and buildings, which is why it is common to find it.
With all these building benefits, it might be difficult to see what the problem with asbestos is. Well, asbestos poses a serious risk to human health.
The minuscule asbestos fibres might look harmless, but the problems arise when you are exposed to them. As the fibres are so small and easily become airborne when disturbed, they can be floating in the air without you even realising, and you may end up swallowing them.
If you swallow airborne asbestos fibres, due to their small size, they can actually end up deep in your lung tissue, and the body is usually unable to expel them if they end up in the deeper part of the lungs. As the body recognises that there are foreign fibres present in the body, it will make efforts to get rid of them. It does this by trying to absorb the fibres, however, the body cannot absorb them, and scar tissue can form in the lungs.
This scar tissue can lead to a number of illnesses, most of which are incurable, like lung cancer, mesothelioma, and asbestosis. While it usually takes repeated exposure to asbestos fibres for you to develop these illnesses, if you don’t know that you’ve disturbed asbestos fibres, you may not realise that you’re being exposed to them.
At Asbestos Australia, we tend to err on the side of caution when it comes to asbestos on a property, and we believe that in most cases, removing asbestos is the best option.
At the very least, we highly recommend that if your home, building, workspace or commercial property was built or has structures on it that were built prior to 2003, you should book an asbestos inspection.
Asbestos can be difficult to spot as it can take so many different forms. It’s best to have professional asbetos testing for you so you have peace of mind.
When we inspect for asbestos it will be classified as being either friable asbestos or non-friable asbestos. If there is friable asbestos it means that the asbestos is easily disturbed and able to be crumbled with little pressure. This means that it is able to become airborne and your risk of exposure is great. If the asbestos is non-friable, it means it has been mixed with another material, like cement. It won’t be able to be easily crumbled under a small amount of pressure, and will only really become disturbed through actions like sawing, cutting, drilling, water blasting and using tools on it.
If your property is found to have friable asbestos it should be removed immediately – by a licensed asbestos removalist. If your property has non-friable asbestos, then you may not need to remove it right away, but you should be aware of its presence, monitor its condition, and ensure that you do not do anything that will disturb it.
If you’re planning on renovating your home, one of the first and best things you should do is get an asbestos inspection, and then if asbestos is identified, have it removed, so that you don’t run the risk of disturbing it.
So, while you don’t necessarily have to remove asbestos from your home or property, at Asbestos Australia, we think it’s better to be safe than sorry and have it removed.
So, now that you know a lot more about asbestos, let’s talk about what you need in an asbestos removalist.
As we touched on earlier, it’s not easy to know what to look for when you search for an asbestos removal company near you. That’s for a couple of reasons – the first being that it isn’t a service that you’re likely to use on a regular basis so you may not know what to look for exactly; the second reason is because there are actually quite a lot of asbestos removal companies out there, which can cause confusion about knowing who to choose.
So, to make it easier to find the right asbestos removalist for you, here’s what we believe you need to look for.
Working with asbestos in any form is dangerous, especially when you’re removing it, which is why it shouldn’t be done by just anyone. The person or people performing the asbestos abatement should have a large catalogue of removal experience from all kinds of properties. By this, we mean that they should have removed asbestos from residential homes and properties, commercial buildings, and industrial properties. This wide range of property experience is important because it means they will have seen asbestos-containing material in many different forms and in many different places. And they have probably had to remove it from some pretty difficult or awkward areas along the way. This means that they know what they are looking for and they know how to remove asbestos properly.
You also want to work with a company that has been around for a long time – at least 10 years. This is because they will have seen not only various types of asbestos and properties but also experienced a lot of training and changes in technology. Asbestos removal can be extremely difficult and it’s best to work with someone who has had time and experience in developing their techniques.
There are a lot of rules and regulations around asbestos removal, including who can remove what types of asbestos and how it is disposed of. In Victoria, people can remove a small amount (10sqm) of non-friable asbestos from their homes themselves – however, that’s it and often you will need to remove more than that. You also need to ensure you dispose ofit correctly, which can be difficult.
An asbestos removal licence holder can remove much larger quantities and will dispose of it in the right asbestos-licensed landfill. Asbestos removalists fall into two license types, Class A and Class B.
Class B license holders can remove non-friable asbestos from properties. Class A License holders can remove non-friable asbestos AND friable asbestos. This means that they can remove any kind of asbestos and any quantity of it, which means their services are a lot more flexible and versatile.
When choosing your asbestos removal company, make sure you ask to see their licenses and qualifications so you can make an educated decision.
As we talked about earlier – asbestos can be very hazardous to the health of anyone who is exposed to it. This is why a removalist who is proactive about safety is important.
They should be using safety equipment and materials, wearing personal protective clothing, and providing advice and updates along the way to ensure that they safely remove asbestos.
The more experienced an asbestos company is, the more likely they will guide you through the process and explain their safety precautions before they perform any removal services.
Asbestos removal is not the cheapest service – this is because there are a lot of safety risks to performing the procedure, however, a professional asbestos removal company will charge competitive rates.
In most instances, the best asbestos removalist will provide free quotes for their services, and we recommend getting quotes from a few services to make it easier to understand the quality of the company. If they are all charging similar amounts, you will have an idea of who the true professionals are. If a company is asking you to pay for a quote for their services, we suggest you walk away.
We suggest that you be weary of asbestos removalists who charge a significant amount less for their services than other companies. This may indicate sloppy work and cutting corners, which when it comes to asbestos, safety is paramount.
The reviews of a company say a lot. When people don’t receive satisfactory services they are more than happy to let people know, and in many instances, it can be the perfect warning so you can avoid working with a dodgy company. Now, to be fair, if a company has a few average reviews but mainly good ones, then you shouldn’t hold the average ones against them, but if there are a healthy amount of bad reviews, we suggest you avoid that company.
Most professional asbestos removalist companies will have reviews and/or ratings on their websites, but also check out their social media pages and search engine listings for real insight.
We hope the above information makes your search for an asbestos removal service a lot easier. If you need asbestos removal services anywhere in Melbourne, Geelong or Victoria, get in touch with us here at Asbestos Australia – we’re a highly qualified and experienced asbestos removal company and we’d love to help you today!
Posted By: Tommy Clappers