Guide To Asbestos Removal Brisbane
Learn information on Health Dangers, Licensing, Removal Types and Costs
If you’re concerned about asbestos in your home in Brisbane, you’re not alone. Australia was one of the world’s largest consumers of asbestos products until the 1980s.
It was mined until 1984. Asbestos, a collective term used to identify six mineral fibres that occur naturally, is classified into two basic groups.
The Serpentine group, or white type, is comprised of chrysotile. The Amphibole group, is comprised of grey, blue, or brown forms, or crocidolite, actinolite, and tremolite.
Removing asbestos is a priority for property owners today. The mineral was considered a desirable, versatile material because it’s flexible, strong, insulated from electricity and heat, remains chemically inert and, importantly, it’s inexpensive.
About a third of Australian homes contain some of these materials. The widespread use of these fibre materials in construction in the past means it’s important to take action now.
According to Asbestos Safety & Eradication Agency, about a third of homes built from 1945 to 1980 contain asbestos of one or both types:
- If the construction was built prior to the 1980s, it’s highly likely to contain asbestos or related products.
- If built between the years of 1985 to 1990, the structure is likely to contain asbetstos or products.
- If build after the 1990s decade, it’s possible that the building contains asbestos.
Unfortunately, even recently renovated properties in Australia may be at risk. These products were federally banned in Australia at year-end 2003.
Why Was Asbestos Banned in Australia?
A national import ban was passed to prevent the import of asbestos products into Australia. It’s now illegal to use or reuse asbestos materials. It’s also illegal to import, store, sell, supply, or install asbestos products.
Because the ban doesn’t apply to products and materials that were installed before the 2003 ban, it’s up to property owners to address asbestos related concerns. You can learn more from the Australian Border Protection website.
Asbestos exposure can lead to a variety of diseases including:
- Pleural disease
- Pleural plaque
- Occupational disease
- Peritoneal mesothelioma
Most illnesses occur years after exposure to the fibre. Asbestosis is a type of chronic inflammatory disease that affects lung tissues.
People with asbestosis are at higher risk for some cancers, such as lung cancer or mesothelioma. Health professionals report that other health effects, including throat or skin irritations, may result from inhaling dust thats present when it is removed from properties.
Without taking proper care to remove asbestos, it’s difficult to know when or if people inhaling the fibres will become ill. Asbestosis or other diseases related to exposure can take decades to develop.
What Licence Requirements Does the Queensland Government Require?
Queensland manages and controls asbestos use with 10 primary statutes plus two codes of practice. Local councils and various state agencies administer these laws.
Clearly, asbestos removal should not be a DIY project. Businesses that offer removal services must be properly licensed under Queensland laws. The current licenses available include:
Friable asbestos – Class A asbestos removal licence
> Can remove any amount of friable asbestos. Friable material is in powder form can be crumbled, pulverised or reduced to a powder by hand pressure . Class A licence holders can also perform Class B work.
Non-friable (Bonded) asbestos – Class B asbestos removal licence
> Can remove more than ten square metres of non-friable (Bonded) asbestos.
Safety legislation and workplace health laws regulate management and control of dangerous asbestos in a workplace. The law considers residences as a type of workplace when an asbestos removal contractor is involved.
When is Asbestos Removal Necessary?
Homeowners and business owners should consider asbestos removal any time renovation is planned. Those living in a property that was built prior to 1990 may be at risk of asbestos exposure.
Queensland government states that living in a home isn’t necessarily dangerous if the asbestos is in undamaged condition.
It is when it becomes “disturbed” that it becomes a health hazard. Frqeuency of exposure to asbestos fibres is known to increase the risk of disease. If you are planning to renovate your home, get a free Asbestos Removal Brisbane quote from a licensed removalist.
Where is asbestos most commonly found?
Areas that can contain asbestos include flat, patterned or corrugated walls, roof sheeting, chimney flues, hot water pipe lagging, cement sheeting, vinyl floors and tiles, insulation, eaves, cladding, garages, carports and sheds.
Asbestos Removal Procedures
- Notification: Contact Queensland Health & Safety and notify neighbours regarding the workplace removal plan
- Safety: Receive safety advice and disconnect the power if required
- Protective Gear: Wear masks, suits, and other protected equipment during the removal process
- Dismantling and Removal: Dangerous materials must be stacked/wrapped according to the law
- Vacuum and spray removal area. Area(s) are vacuumed and then sprayed with approved sealant after the removal process
- Inspection and Site Clearance: Inspect the removal site. Independent, licensed inspector conducts a clearance inspection
- Air Monitoring: Air monitoring will be performed depending on the type of material and council regulations.
- Disposal: Transport waste to an approved Council waste facility.
Removing potentially dangerous substances from the roof is a major job. The roof may contain bonded or non-friable asbestos These agents harden or bind the roof with vinyl, cement, or asphalt.
Special techniques are used to remove asphalt roof tiles or fibro cement sheets. The first step involves removing the material from the roof, including insulation.
The roof area is vacuumed and a sealant is applied to protect against the inhalation of fibres. Edge protection is built to protect workers at all times.
Friable asbestos can be present in textured, popcorn-vermiculite, acoustic, or stippled ceiling. Only a professional with an A Class removal license may remove this type of material as it is dry and crumbles to the touch.
The contractor must sweep or vacuum with professional equipment to prevent release of airborne fibres. It may be necessary to completely remove or retexture an existing ceiling after removal.
Removing ACMs from walls typically involves electrical and wiring concerns. During removal the material is stacked on double-wrap plastic sheets.
The materials must be securely taped while the removal process proceeds. Dry sweeping should be avoided because doing so stirs airborne fibres. Upon completion the area is cleaned and cleared..
Other common areas which are prone to asbestos are floors, cladding, fencing and soil.
What are Site Clearance Certificates?
A clearance inspection is required to determine the area is free from asbestos. Certificates are issued once the proeprty has been cleared of all asbestos.
A clearance certificate may only be issued when the removal area and the surrounding areas(s) are free from visible contamination.
What is Air Monitoring?
Air monitoring is used to collect fibre samples from the air. Air monitoring includes three steps: 1) monitor of exposure; 2) control of exposure; 3) clearance monitoring.
If monitoring shows a fibre concentration reading is less than 0.01 fibres per milliliter, then the areas is deemd safe.
What is Asbestos Testing?
Testing is performed to identify the presence of asbestos. All tests must be performed at a NATA (National Association of Testing Authorities) authorised laboratory.
How is Asbestos Disposal Handled?
Local councils provide a list of approved asbestos waste facilites throughout South East Queensland. Contact the local council to confirm waste tracking, fees, special arrangements, and requirements before disposal.
What are Asbestos Demolitions?
It may be necessary to demolish a structure after removing asbestos. All demolition projects require prior notifications to be sent to Workplace Health & Safety Queensland.
How Much Does Asbestos Removal Cost?
To determine asbestos removal costs, it’s important to know the type of material (whether Class A friable or Class B bonded) involved.
The removalist must determine the volume and site accessibility, height and location of the asbestos. Sample pricing is below.
- Fencing – Average cost $30-$50 to remove and dispose asbestos from the fence.
- Roofing – Average Costs $20-$80 per square meter to remove and disposal. The cost will depend on the roof height and gradient.
- Sheds – Average costs $60-$130 per square meter to remove and dispose from slabs.
- Cladding – Average costs $35-$70 per square meter to remove and disposal.
- Eaves – Average cost $35-$60 per lineal meter to removal and disposal from the eaves.
- Ceilings – Average costs $40-$100 per square meter.
- Air Monitoring – The cost of monitoring the air is about $500-$1,500.
Service Locations in South East Queensland
South East Queensland is a large metro area. More than three million people live here, with 70 percent of residents living in Greater Brisbane.
The Queensland Government predicts that more than three million additional people will move here over the next 15 years to find jobs and cultural opportunities.
About 220,000 people live in Brisbane Northside. Residents of the area are made of young vibrant professionals and familes. The area stretches from Brighton on the North to Pinkenba and Hendra in th South.
Brisbane Southside includes suburbs such as Marooka, Eight Mile Plains and Algester and Acacia Ridge.
This growing community projects the number of residents to more than double in the next 15 years. Its current population is more than 200,000 people. Historic buildings are plentiful, and there are more numerous parks and activities for families to do.
Located about 125 km west of Brisbane, Toowoomba is also known as “The Garden City”. Known as one of Queensland’s largest inland areas, it has a population of around 120,000.
We hope you found the Asbestos removals Brisbane guide helpful. It’s clear that removing the asbestos is the safest option but remember, if it isn’t disturbed is isn’t dangerous.
If you would like more information or have anmy questions please let us know.