Coffs Coast homes hiding deadly secrets
WAS your home built or renovated before 1987? It most likely contains asbestos.
Considered the "cheap and cheerful" wonder building product of decades past, products made from asbestos include fibro sheeting (flat and corrugated), water, drainage and flue pipes, roofing shingles, as well as guttering and wall and floor coverings.
It could be anywhere in your home, not just in the obvious daggy old shed at the bottom of the garden.
After the health risks of asbestos were identified and flagged, use of the product was phased out in domestic building materials by the 1980s before being banned in 2003. In 2011 the Asbestos Awareness Campaign was launched.
The message of this awareness campaign is loud and clear that if you suspect asbestos in your home, "Don't cut it! Don't drill it! Don't drop it! Don't sand it! Don't saw it! Don't scrape it! Don't scrub it! Don't dismantle it! Don't tip it! Don't waterblast it! Don't demolish it! And whatever you do... Don't dump it!"
As a homeowner faced with a long list of "don'ts" what can you "do" when dealing with asbestos?
If left undisturbed, asbestos materials in good, stable condition are unlikely to release dangerous fibres and pose a health risk. But what if you want to renovate?
Then it's time to call an expert and have an asbestos consultation with a licensed, reputable asbestos demolition and removal company that complies with all regulations and legislation relating to the safe removal and disposal of asbestos.
With the amount of renovating being done in older homes across the Coffs Coast, local asbestos removal companies are being kept busy.
Grant Norton is a site manager with All Areas Demolition and Excavation and is overseeing a large asbestos removal job at a home in Korora.
"People owe it to themselves and their families to get a consultation before they start any work on these older homes," Mr Norton said.
"You can have asbestos in practically any part of the home and if you don't know what you're looking for it can be a disaster. If you unknowingly knock down a wall with asbestos in it then use your vacuum to clean up the mess, you're transforming dangerous fibres and contaminating your whole house. Once you disturb asbestos-contaminated materials you have a serious problem."
It only takes a phone call to organise an asbestos consultation and a sample test. You'll have the result in a couple of days and the ability to make an informed decision.
"I've been in the business for 15 years and it's never been so busy. Since Christmas it has been full on with jobs across the Coffs Coast and down to Kempsey and Dubbo. Everyone seems to be renovating.
"At All Areas Demolition and Excavation the safe and proper removal of asbestos is quickly becoming the most requested service we provide. Everyone seems to be renovating."
Some questions you need to ask:
- Is your contractor licensed and insured for asbestos removal?
- Has your contractor had samples of the material tested for the presence of asbestos?
- Can they provide the mandatory WorkCover Permit for Asbestos Removal from your property?
- Have they notified neighbouring properties?
- What precautions will the contractor implement to prevent asbestos contamination of your home?