If your next reno or subdivision property was built pre-1990, beware:
It’s likely you have asbestos in the roof sheeting, the wet areas of your home (laundry, bathroom, kitchen), and maybe even in an old shed out the back.
But the list doesn’t end there… far from it!
You Can Often Find Asbestos In:
- Outdoor Toilets: Although strange now, back in the ’50s to the ’80s, outdoor toilets were a common feature in many Australian homes. And these toilets were often made with asbestos roofing. While new homes aren’t built with outdoor toilets anymore, demolishing the old ones is a tricky, dangerous, and potentially expensive task.
- Dog Kennels & Cubby Houses: Older dog kennels and kids’ cubby houses were often made from leftover building asbestos. (Can you imagine your precious children or pets breathing this poison in?!)
- Outdoor Pergolas, Garages and Retaining Walls: It’s often the exterior add-ons you forget about when you survey a property, so take a walk in the backyard and assess the area! Anything pre-1990 deserves your careful attention!
- Barbeques: Asbestos cement sheeting was often used on the underside of the barbeque or to support the ceramic tiles used around the barbeque benchtop. Oops!
- Electrical Meter Boxes: Did you know asbestos was often used in older-style electrical fuse and meter boxes? Electrical backing boards were manufactured containing asbestos as a fire retardant and to resist electrical arcing. And even boards with new digital meters and modern circuit breakers may still be mounted… on the old asbestos board!!!
Asbestos Won’t Just Kill Your Project… It May Very Well Kill YOU!
This horrid cement-based material has already killed over ten thousand Australians since the ’80s. And cancer experts predict it will kill 25 thousand more in the coming decades.
But then again, you can’t avoid it!
Despite the phase-out initiated more than 30 years ago, and despite the total ban enforced since 2003 – – Asbestos is still pretty much everywhere.
There’s no way around it –
If You Invest In Property, You Need To Know The Right Way To Deal With Asbestos!
Otherwise, you might end up losing much more than just money.
Using active property strategies like Renovation, Subdivision and Development you are more than likely going to need to demolish a property at some stage… or at least shift it or renovate it!
It’s critical you learn how to remove asbestos properly.
Which is why I have requested asbestos expert, Brian Sketcher from Asbestos-Audits Queensland, to send us some of his best tips.
Here’s what Brian had to say:
“If you’ve recently bought a property and you’ve planned to demolish, split the block, sell one and build on the other, that’s a great idea – in theory.
In reality, there’s a high chance you’ll be dealing with asbestos.
It’s not just from roofs and fences: Most of the house could be asbestos.
That includes the roof, walls, internal ceilings, floor coverings, various pipes and electricals.”
As any property devotee knows, getting a building checked for asbestos prior to purchase is just part of the necessary due diligence.
“If you find asbestos, removing it can be a lengthy process. [And length process mean bigger holding costs, and smaller profits! MJ]
If the amount of asbestos found is under a certain maximum (varies from state to state), the owner can legally remove it themselves. However, it’s highly unadvisable!”
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Asbestos isn’t something to take lightly!
Don’t put yourself, your family, and your future buyers and tenants at risk! It’s not only criminally wrong… it’s morally wrong!
As the owner of the block, the responsibility of choosing the right demolisher for the job is on you! “Don’t expect your demolition guy to “just take it away” with no issue,” says Brian. “If you’re demolishing, your first step should be to ensure your demolisher has an asbestos licence for removal.”
As someone who’s been in the industry for a while now, Brian has seen it all…Including people getting charged for the removal of “asbestos-riddled walls”… Which in fact were just harmless masonite wood!
“It’s always worth getting a second opinion. Just in case!”
If your second opinion agrees there’s asbestos to remove, make sure you receive a Clearance Certificate from your demolisher. It’s a very important certificate because it says the site is safe to re-occupy!
Request a copy of the Waste Disposal Certificate to make sure the asbestos was disposed of properly – and not just tipped into some landfill (yes, that happens!).
Even as the property owner, there are several regulations around the presence of asbestos you need to abide by.
As a Person Conducting a Business or Undertaking (PCBU), these regulations include:
- Training of workers at risk for encountering asbestos
- Health monitoring
- Controlling risk of exposure
- An asbestos management plan
- Identifying asbestos, and indicating its presence and location
And It’s Up To YOU To Ensure These Regulations Are Met!
If you don’t let workers know there’s asbestos present, you are considered directly at fault for potential harm to their health and wellbeing.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking asbestos removal is just an optional extra.
It’s serious business.
Failure to treat it with the proper care will eventually result in notices, fines, jail time… even disease and death.
But, like Brian says,
“Asbestos doesn’t need to be a drama. Just think of it as another step in the process.
Disconnect the power (electrician). Disconnect the water (plumber). Locate and remove asbestos (asbestos auditor). Demolish building. Receive clearance. And keep going!”
Asbestos may sound scary, but if you handle its removal with respect and proper precautions, it becomes “just another tick” to check off your property prep list.
If you have any further questions, or if you’re dealing with your own asbestos issue, leave a comment below and Brian will get back to you as soon as he can!
If you want more information on the health issues that can be caused by asbestos, take a look at this site: https://www.mesotheliomahub.com/mesothelioma/asbestos/exposure/