If you intend to demolish your house but suspect that it has asbestos-containing materials, you should arrange for asbestos removal prior to the demolition work. Asbestos is a hazardous material that can be found in a whole raft of building products including floor and wall tiles, insulation, ductwork, pipework, roofing shingles, cement siding, etc. Because asbestos is regarded as a hazardous material, it is important that you bring in a professional to remove the material from your building before embarking on your demolition job. The professionals that do asbestos removal work are called asbestos contractors. Here is an inside scoop on the work that they do.
Identifying asbestos-containing materials.
The first step of the asbestos abatement process is to carry out a survey for asbestos-containing materials. The survey is designed to help identify all building products that may contain asbestos. But as it is difficult to be 100 percent sure whether or not a certain product contains asbestos by visual identification alone, samples are collected from 'suspect' products and taken to an accredited laboratory for testing. The findings of the tests performed may indicate that your house is free of asbestos or it contains significant amounts of the hazardous material. If it has been discovered that your home contains 'high risk' asbestos, the material will need to be removed in a safe and eco-friendly manner.
Identifying work-related hazards.
Prior to work starting, an asbestos removal contractor will consider the direct hazards associated with the job but also those hazards that are related to the work environment. If the contractor will be removing friable asbestos from a confined space such as the roof attic, for example, they will need to devise a safe system of work to minimise or prevent the release of asbestos fibres into the air. No the work should not be performed at height when the asbestos-containing materials can be removed while working from the ground. Warning signs and barricades can be used to clearly indicate the asbestos removal work areas.
Removing the asbestos.
Once all areas where asbestos removal work will be carried out have been properly indicated, the contractor will decide on the most appropriate methods of ridding of the asbestos with work-related hazards in mind. Generally speaking, the contractor has to choose between wet removal methods and dry removal methods. Wet methods are generally more desirable than dry methods, especially when the asbestos is friable. Unfortunately, wet methods are not suitable for use in all situations (e.g. when there is high risk of electrical hazards) and that is when dry methods come in handy.
Though you may not be legally required to hire an asbestos removal contractor to handle your project, it is always wise to prioritise your health and safety.