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Asbestos is a fibrous silicate material previously used in construction and industry. Asbestos is now banned in Australia and must be removed from buildings because of the dangerous health effects of breathing in asbestos fibres/dust. Brisbane City Council says only licenced contractors should remove or break asbestos fibres.
Asbestos is made from mostly silicon and oxygen and is found naturally as bundles of fibres in soils and rocks. There are two types of asbestos based on formation: chrysotile, or ‘white’ asbestos; and amphibole asbestos. White asbestos was most commonly used in construction because of its spiral formation, which makes it highly durable and heat resistant. However, because these fibres are too small to see, can be breathed in, and are made of silicon, they are highly toxic.
White Asbestos can be further broken down in construction as friable – or non-bonded – asbestos, or non-friable – or bonded – asbestos. Friable asbestos was used in objects you might consider fragile, such as paper products, vinyl sheets, patching compounds, fire blankets and sprayed insulation. When dry, friable asbestos can be easily powdered and therefore dangerous. Non-friable asbestos is asbestos mixed into cement, used for roofing, ceiling and flooring. Non-friable asbestos is harder to break down and thus should be lower on your removal priorities than friable asbestos.
It is illegal to use asbestos in Australia, but it was previously used for cement sheets and pipes, clutch and brake linings, insulation, building materials, boilers, electrical fittings, gaskets, floor tiles, plastics, textiles and other products. Your building could have asbestos in it if it was constructed before 2003. If you suspect your building may have asbestos in it, get the material analysed then removed.
It is difficult to tell whether asbestos has been used in your building material, but if you can see fibrous fuzz or strands in the air, the building is dangerous and should only be approached by a licenced contractor or asbestos removal specialist.
If your building was constructed before 2003, it may have asbestos in it. But it is most likely that your building has asbestos in it if it was constructed before 1980. After that, the younger it is the less likely it was constructed with asbestos.
It is recommended if your building was constructed before 2003 that you presume your building has asbestos in it as a precautionary measure. You can then get the material analysed and removed.
Asbestos is banned today in Australia. It is illegal to import, buy, sell, supply, install or re-use asbestos. But that doesn’t mean all buildings are free of it; asbestos is still found in commercial and residential buildings constructed before 2003.
The average minimum cost for an asbestos removal job is around $1750. Beyond that, pricing depends on the material you have to remove and the size of that material.
Per Square Metre
iSeekplant has a vast Australian network of trusted asbestos removal companies contracting in all capital cities from Brisbane to Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne to Darwin, Perth, Adelaide and Hobart. We also have asbestos removalists operating in all major towns and cities from Townsville to Toowoomba, Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast to Newcastle, Central Coast, Geelong and Mildura.