investor-q-a

How to remove asbestos from your property

By Staff Reporter

Asbestos is a problem that has many investors worried. Here, Smart Property Investment delves into how to identify and sort out this problem.

Finding asbestos isn’t the end of your investing journey. In fact, “Asbestos was used in over 3,000 building applications” until it was made illegal in a complete ban in 2003, Thunderstruck Asbestos Removal’s director, Gordon Barr, said.

These 'applications' included anything from “roofing, gutters, downpipes, cladding, vinyl sheeting, vinyl tiles, fencing, fence capping, weatherboards, pipe lagging, air vents [and] pipes,” he explained.

In fact, the majority of areas within a home (both external and internal) may contain asbestos.

“Three types of asbestos and combinations of them were used blue (crocidolite) white (chrysotile) and brown (amosite) in a cement matrix.

“If inhaled, even in small quantities, this can lead to a painful death.”

Any building erected before the 1990s is highly likely to contain asbestos and a building and pest inspection will only pick up on it “where it is done by a qualified builder with extensive renovation experience and there is a specific request,” said Mr Barr.

Before undertaking renovations, properties that may contain this material should have an asbestos survey undertaken by a competent Licensed Asbestos Removalist.

Two terms thrown around a lot are 'Friable' and 'Non Friable'. These terms relate to how dangerous asbestos is, based on the ability of the material to release fibres into the air. Friable asbestos is easily crumbled, turned to powder or broken by hand. Non-friable does not have this quality, and is therefore seen to be safer.

Friable asbestos must not be touched by an unlicensed renovator. Rules regarding non-friable asbestos, however, differ in each state. 

For the majority of homeowners, owner builders and DIY renovators, if more than 10 square metres of bonded asbestos is being removed, and the asbestos is non-friable, a licence is required.

Safety precautions must be taken, asbestos waste needs to be double wrapped/bagged in thick plastic, taped closed and labeled correctly. It must be disposed of at an approved council site. It must never be cleaned or cut with power tools. It cannot be stored, sold or given away.

These items should be checked under each state and territory’s laws.

Useful resources:

NSW Government - ‘Fibro and Asbestos – Homeowners and Renovators Guide’

Queensland Government - ‘Asbestos: A home renovator’s and tradesperson’s guide for minor work in domestic buildings’

Federal Government Health Department - ‘ASBESTOS: A guide for householders and the general public’

Australian Asbestos Network – DIY Renovators Guide

Asbestos Awareness Week campaign - Get smart about asbestos (Don't Play Renovation Roulette)

 

- Have you found asbestos in any of your own renovations before? Tell us your story: [email protected]

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