Promoting asbestos awareness

Given the scope of our work from demolition to carpentry, electrical and plumbing work of existing homes varying in construction methods and eras – the risk of our contractors encountering asbestos containing materials is very real.

It is estimated that approximately one-third of all homes built in Australia contain asbestos products [Australian Government Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency], and as such Cape Cod holds pro-active identification, management and awareness of asbestos and its effects on health as vitally important.

Each of Cape Cod’s projects are inspected for hazardous materials by a consultant at the planning stage prior to any work being undertaken in order to identify any potential asbestos products existing in the home.

At this point, feedback is also given to Cape Cod’s clients – the homeowners, to increase their awareness of its presence and condition.

Work on the home is then planned and sequenced in accordance for the safe removal or handling by our licenced contractors in line with legislative requirements to ensure the safety of our workers, the residents of the home and the community.

Cape Cod continue to raise awareness and discussion around this serious but manageable risk amongst our workers.

Are You Asbestos Aware?

Did you know asbestos fibres were used in a vast array of building products, due to the mineral’s insulating and fire-resistant properties?

If your house was built or renovated before 1987, it’s likely to contain asbestos. Two types of asbestos can be considered as relevant to home renovators, being non-friable asbestos (also known as bonded asbestos) and Friable asbestos (loose asbestos), however, non-friable products were the most commonly used.

Common non-friable asbestos products are

  • asbestos cement sheeting (e.g. fibro, AC sheeting)
  • profiled sheets used on roofs (e.g. Super 6) and walls and flat sheets in flashings
  • imitation brick cladding
  • roof shingles
  • water, drainage or flue pipes
  • plaster patching compounds
  • textured paint
  • vinyl floor tiles.

If you use the appropriate safety precautions, you are permitted to remove a maximum of 10 square metres of bonded asbestos in NSW.

However, if removing more than 10 square metres, you MUST hire a qualified asbestos removalist who holds a current Safework NSW issued Class ‘B’ Licence. Non-friable asbestos is generally safe if it is maintained in good condition and undisturbed.

More uncommonly, friable asbestos was used as a loose-fill insulator in ceiling spaces of homes. During the 1960s and 70s it was installed as ceiling insulation in around 1000 ACT homes, as well as a smaller number in NSW, by Canberra-based company Mr Fluffy.

Friable asbestos can be also found in some old domestic heaters, stoves, hot water systems and associated pipe lagging and in the backing of vinyl and linoleum floor coverings. Friable materials are potentially very dangerous because the asbestos fibres can become airborne very easily. These materials must only be handled and removed by an asbestos removalist who holds a current Safework NSW issued Class ‘A’ asbestos removal licence.

For more information, see:

http://asbestosawareness.com.au/understanding-asbestos-nsw/

http://asbestosawareness.com.au/asbestos-in-the-home/interactive-house/