Safe asbestos removal is vital for everyone’s health because while the problems asbestos causes are not realised for a very long time, the problems it causes are very real.
The perceived problem is so bad that no matter how good your asbestos roof looks, having an asbestos roof decreases the value of your home, as any real estate agent will tell you. One third of buyers will not consider purchasing a home with this kind of roof, especially if they have children.
What is asbestos?
Asbestos is a mineral that has been mined for centuries throughout the world, including Australia. It naturally clumps together into soft fibres and is an amazing insulator, as well as being resistant to fire and electricity. When mixed with other substances, asbestos adds strength and it is relatively cheap to produce.
With all these things going for it, asbestos seemed like the perfect partner for the construction industry, as well as others that include ship building, aircraft and firefighting. It was used widely in Australia from the 1940s until the 1980s.
What are the risks?
Sadly, microscopic fibres can be inhaled, and because the body has enormous difficulty ridding itself of these fibres, they remain in the body, gradually causing scarring, inflammation, or cancer.
The fibres are particularly problematic when they lodge in the lungs, although most people are not aware of inhaling asbestos fibres for 40 – 50 years after the event.
Inhaling tiny fibres of asbestos into your lungs can cause:
- Lung cancer
To reduce the danger to you and those around you, there are strict guidelines around removing, storing and disposing of asbestos.
Is it asbestos?
Cement sheeting looks a lot like asbestos, and while some types of asbestos were used in fire walls until around 2002, as a rule, if your home was constructed after 1990, it is unlikely that your roof will be made from asbestos. However, if you are not sure what material your roof is made from, call in an expert to check this for you.
How dangerous is my roof?
It is usually only when the sheets of asbestos are broken that fibres can fly off and be inadvertently inhaled. While asbestos sheets remain intact and sit on your roof, there is little danger from them, providing they are well sealed.
Brisbane licensed asbestos removalist
Because asbestos can be so dangerous to health, it is it is illegal for untrained and unlicensed people to remove more than 10 square metres of asbestos from building sites in Australia. The term “building sites” does not only mean industrial sites, but also includes houses, sheds and other types of construction.
If you have an asbestos roof that needs replacing, you are in safe hands when using Stark Roofing as your contractors.
Russell Stark is a licensed asbestos removalist, currently holding two certificates for removing asbestos:
- Asbestos Removalist Certificate
- Asbestos Removal Supervisor Certificate
This means that Russell is licensed to both remove asbestos sheeting from your roof and supervise others while they remove it.
Not only is he licensed, but he and the team are experienced. They have removed hundreds of asbestos roofs and fully understand the danger. They will follow legal guidelines to ensure the safety of you, your family and your neighbours, as well as themselves.
Removal of asbestos by Stark Roofing
1. When you have accepted the Stark Roofing quote, Russell Stark will commence the preparation and planning of the removal by developing a safe work method statement (SWMS) and removal control plan that will tell you::
- How the asbestos will be removed from both the roof and the property.
- Where roof sheeting will be stored prior to removal from the property.
- Who will be undertaking the required work
2. In accordance with the law, he will notify local authorities 7 days prior to the removal of the asbestos.
3. Signage and barriers will be used to keep unauthorised people off the work site.
4. Contractors will wear protective clothing and masks while handling the asbestos sheeting.
5. PVC will be sprayed onto the asbestos sheeting while it is still installed on the roof, to reduce the risk of fibres escaping into the air during the removal process.
6. All sheeting that is taken off the roof will be wrapped in heavy duty plastic while it rests on the ground prior to removal from your property so that it does not contaminate your yard. It is strongly recommended that the owner ensures friends/family and pets stay well away from the stored sheets.
7. The ceiling cavity will be vacuumed with a special vacuum cleaner that is approved for use during the removal of asbestos, to remove any dust or debris from the ceiling.
8. The ceiling cavity will then be sprayed with PVC to trap any loose fibres that are not picked up by the vacuum cleaner.
9. A licensed asbestos transporter will take the plastic-wrapped asbestos sheeting from your yard to an approved toxic dump.
Can I remove my own asbestos roof?
A home owner can do minor renovations, removing less than 10 square metres of asbestos and disposing of it at a toxic waste dump.
Should you decide to do this, Queensland Workplace Health and Safety advise you must develop a safe work method statement (SWMS), and that the strict guidelines set out by this government department are followed.
Failing to do so could contaminate your home, your yard or your neighbourhood. For instance, using a broom or an ordinary household vacuum cleaner to clean up the ceiling cavity is likely to flip fibres up in the air that could be inhaled by your children, causing issues in the future. http://www.deir.qld.gov.au/asbestos/
Home-owners who want to remove more than 10 square metres of asbestos, must hold a certificate issued by Queensland Health before they start the work.
Please note that if more than 20% of a roof is being replaced, a building approval from a building certifier is required.
Can I have my asbestos roof repaired rather than replaced?
Repairing an asbestos roof is not an easy thing to do because once asbestos sheeting has lain in the Queensland sun for many years, it is notoriously brittle. Walking on an asbestos roof is likely to crack the sheets, and this makes them a danger to you and others in your environment, as fibres can escape from cracked sheets.
It may be possible to use a type of PVC sealant to stick small sections together, or to overlay sections of roof with metal or fibreglass sheeting that has the same profile. However, because asbestos sheeting is considered so dangerous when it is broken, replacing the whole roof is the safest thing to do.
For further independent information, see http://www.asbestoswise.com.au/
Free, no-obligation quotes in Brisbane. If you want it to last, ring Russell Stark!