Next week is National Asbestos Awareness Week and, while this may not be a high priority for some Victorians, it’s a timely reminder to take care for anyone who is currently planning or undertaking home renovations. As we often remind our readers, the first step in any renovation project is to look long and hard to any potential dangers involved before you start swinging a hammer.
One of the important health concerns for any renovator in Australia is the possible presence of asbestos sheeting or roofing, particularly if your home was built between World War 2 and the 1980’s.
The possible presence of asbestos is not a cause for panic, but it is important to remember that the first step in any renovation project is to look long and hard for any potential dangers involved before you start putting holes in walls or pulling things down. Broken asbestos sheeting and other asbestos products are a serious health threat, so if you are at all unsure about whether these products are in your home, get expert advice before you start.
Many people are unaware of how widely used asbestos was in building materials around the country until the mid-1980’s. We mined it, manufactured it and installed it in our homes, workplaces, hospitals and schools…including in around 40,000 kilometers of our pipelines…until its use was banned nationally at the end of 2003.
The Federal Government’s Asbestos Safety website provides these tips:
- Most people can’t tell whether a product contains asbestos just by looking at it.
- If you are unsure about a material in your home, the best advice is… 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!
- If you are working with any material that may contain asbestos, always ensure that you don’t come into contact with dust or small particles released from the materials.
- The only way to confirm the presence of asbestos is through testing by an accredited NATA testing laboratory. Information on testing and testers in your area can be accessed by calling 1800 621 666 or visiting www.nata.com.au.
- Don’t panic…Asbestos that is in good condition is unlikely to release asbestos fibres if left undisturbed. In some cases, you can simply paint them and leave them alone.
As we mentioned earlier, if you have any doubts at all the best course of action is to get experienced professional advice…just like getting the right advice when you are selling your home.
So, if you need any assistance in buying or selling, you can call us on 1300 400 400. You’ll also find lots of helpful tips in our free booklet, “FATAL REAL ESTATE TRAPS EXPOSED”, so feel free to download a copy while you’re here.