Domestic Asbestos Removal

Introduction to Domestic Asbestos Removal

Domestic asbestos removal is not always required when consulting with contractors.  In some cases the surveyor may indicate that the type of asbestos in your home is non-friable (or not crumbling in texture).  The degree to which the asbestos is decaying and the state of the material typically determines the level of urgency for removal.

Alternatives to Removal

Encapsulating asbestos is a popular option in lieu of domestic asbestos removal with the rationale that it is safer to provide an effective barrier (specialised plastic sheeting is commonly used) between the material and the indoor environment.  This allows it to continue to decay while preventing the spread of harmful fibres throughout the home.  It is also a faster and more convenient means of temporarily dealing with the problem without the extensive removal procedure, which can be lengthy and which frequently prohibits the inhabitation of the house during the project per health and safety guidelines.

Many homeowners do find however that the process of encapsulating is indeed temporary.  Behind the plastic barrier the toxic asbestos continues to decay with time posing an ongoing “silent risk” to the inhabitants.  Eventually the fibres will infiltrate and dangerously impact the air quality of the home.  Asbestos is a confirmed carcinogen and the cause of many types of respiratory cancers and life threatening conditions.  The presence of asbestos in the home can lower the property value of a residence or make it more difficult to sell the property at a later date, and since the cost of encapsulating is equal to removal, many homeowners choose the option of domestic asbestos removal instead.

Planning the Removal Project

If the decision is made to completely remove the carcinogen from your home, it is important to remember that the health risks while handling the substance are extremely high.  Given the average cost of asbestos removal it can be tempting to consider an attempt to remove it yourself.  However not only is this highly hazardous to your own personal safety it is also illegal.  The Law requires a qualified licensed professional for all domestic asbestos removal projects.
In the planning phase of your project there are several steps that need to be taken to ensure both the success and the safety of your project:

  • Contract a professional surveyor who is licensed to inspect and take a sample of the suspected material to confirm the origin and type of asbestos.  The sample should only be taken by a professional.
  • Source a qualified asbestos removal company or contractor.  It is important to speak with more than one possible contractor at this juncture and not base your decision on solely on cost savings.  Ask for references.
  • Become educated on safe removal procedures so that you can address any safety concerns which may arise during the project.  Your local governance will have more information on the legal requirements (and helpful task sheets) which outline your responsibilities and those of the certified technician.
  • Clearly advise neighbours or those in proximity of the start and end date of your project and advise the appropriate safety measures.

In consideration of the cost of oversight to both to your personal health and to the long term health of those around you, the investment in caution and careful planning are clearly warranted for any domestic asbestos removal project.