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Once upon a time, asbestos was a darling of the construction industry. And who can blame the industry? After all, it had the characteristics that make it ideal for construction: it's resistant to fire, heat, and chemical corrosion.
Asbestos is also an excellent insulator, making it perfect for electrical wirings. It can absorb sound too, which is ideal for soundproofing. What's more, asbestos was cheap and widely available.
But reports of people getting sick from asbestos became too big to ignore. Sometime in the 1980s, asbestos was phased out and eventually banned in December 2003 in Australia.
Many of the homes built before 1990 in Australia contain this mineral, so if you're home falls under this category, it's best to make sure and have it tested. However, asbestos removal can be expensive, so it's important to find budget-friendly ways to get the job done.
Have your home tested for asbestos first
Your first step should be to test your home for any asbestos-containing materials (ACMs). Professionals from trusted companies like Sydney Asbestos Testing Service can do this for you.
Getting your home tested means you can assess your risk of exposure. And if you know where the danger is coming from, then you can take appropriate steps. It's better to know your enemy, right?
Also, if you know exactly where ACMs are in your home, you won't accidentally disturb them during renovations or repairs. Asbestos fibres are very small and can easily be inhaled.
When this happens, they can become lodged in the lungs and cause serious health problems over time. Even short-term exposure to asbestos can irritate the lungs and airways.
Tip #1: Get multiple quotes
To reiterate, asbestos is a dangerous substance. If your home tested positive for ACMs, contacting professionals specialising in asbestos removal is ideal.
When looking for professionals, try to shop around - get multiple quotes from different asbestos removal contractors before deciding. Asking around can help you get the best possible price.
Moreover, ask each contractor about their experience, licensing, and insurance. And don't forget to get a detailed estimate of the work needed and the cost of materials.
Once you have received multiple quotes, you can choose the contractor that offers the best combination of price, experience, and reputation.
Tip #2: Negotiate with contractors
Don't hesitate to negotiate with asbestos removal contractors. They know the importance of their job to people's well-being. They're usually amenable to negotiating on price, especially if you're willing to pay in cash or hire them for a large job.
Be clear about your budget, though, and what you're willing to pay. Also, you can try to negotiate on other aspects of the service, like the job's start date or the payment schedule.
Tip #3: Take advantage of government programs
Another solution worth considering is the Australian government programs that can help you pay for asbestos removal. Research your options and see if you qualify for any financial assistance.
Here are some examples of these government programs:
Asbestos Removal Fund: The Asbestos Removal Fund is a federal government program that provides financial assistance to homeowners and businesses to remove asbestos from their homes and workplaces.
Home Renovation Deduction: The Home Renovation Deduction is a tax deduction that can offset the cost of eligible home renovations, including asbestos removal.
State and territory government programs: Many state and territory governments also offer financial assistance for asbestos removal. Check your state or territory government's website for more information.
To learn more about government programs that can help you pay for asbestos removal, visit the Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency (ASEA) website.
The eligibility requirements for government asbestos removal programs vary, however. So, check the details for each program before you apply.
Tip #4: Consider doing some of the work
If you're on a tight budget, you can save money by doing some of the work. Keep in mind though, that without a certificate, homeowners can only remove a maximum of 10 square metres of bonded asbestos. Beyond this, you need to get either a licensed asbestos specialist or a bonded asbestos removal license.
If you opt for the latter, you'll need to complete a training course conducted by the Technical and Further Education (TAFE) or any registered training organisation.
If you do decide on a DIY solution, consider these measures:
Take all necessary safety precautions. This includes wearing appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE), such as respirators, gloves, and goggles. You should also seal off the work area to prevent asbestos fibres from spreading to other parts of your home.
Follow proper removal procedures. There are specific procedures that must be followed when removing asbestos. Research these procedures carefully before starting any work.
Dispose of asbestos waste properly. Asbestos waste must be disposed of in a licensed landfill. Contact your local landfill for instructions on safely disposing of asbestos waste.
Remember, if you're unsure whether to remove asbestos yourself, err on the side of caution and consult a professional contractor.
Asbestos removal can be quite pricey, but it doesn't have to be. With the tips enumerated in this blog, you can choose a solution best suited to your situation. Remember, though, that the dangers of asbestos exposure are very real and pose a risk to people's health.
At the end of the day, the safety and health of your family is always the top consideration. Good luck!