If you have a home or a commercial building that was constructed more than 35 years ago, there is a good chance that it contains asbestos materials. Asbestos was widely used in the construction industry until the 1980s when domestic building materials no longer used it. However, it wasn’t until 2003 that it was banned and it became illegal to sell, store, use, or re-use materials containing asbestos.
Most home and business owners do not know what asbestos looks like, but there are ways you can figure out if it is on your property. First, you need to know when your home or the building was constructed because if it is at least 30 to 35 years old, then it is more than likely that asbestos-containing materials were used for its construction. Asbestos was present in everything from flooring tiles to cladding to electrical wiring insulation.
Knowing what type of building materials are on the property will also help determine if asbestos is present. If cement sheets were used, then they were probably made with asbestos. However, it can be difficult to tell just by looking at materials if they contain asbestos as flooring, ceiling tiles, and roofing that were made with the hazardous substance could have been updated prior to you purchasing the property.
Hire an Inspector
The best way to tell if there are asbestos materials in your home or commercial property is to hire a qualified contractor. The contractor needs to be familiar with construction practices, which materials could contain asbestos, and how to judge its condition. Contractors who handle asbestos are specifically trained in how to recognise it, in proper asbestos removal techniques, and in how to properly dispose of it so it isn’t a risk to anyone’s health.
Building contractors, whether they are in construction or demolition, are required to be licenced to remove asbestos. There are two types of licences, Type A and Type B. If a business holds a Type A licence, then it is allowed to remove any type of asbestos, including both friable and non-friable asbestos.
Friable means that dry materials will crumble, be reduced to dust, or are easily pulverised just by using hand pressure. If a building contractor holds a Type B licence, they are only allowed to remove materials that contain non-friable asbestos. An experienced inspector will be able to tell if the materials on the property are friable and develop a plan to remove them safely.
When you are looking for experienced asbestos contractors, double check their credentials to make sure they are properly licenced and insured for handling and removing the materials from your property. Everyone involved with the work has to be certified in handling asbestos so they know how to isolate areas where the materials are and how to protect themselves, other workers, and even the public from the dangers this material presents. Removing asbestos can be expensive, but if it’s on your property, it has to be removed to ensure the health of your family or employees.
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