Don’t let the worry of your Asbestos Roof hang over your head…literally!
My Home Improvements MD, Greg Catton gives the rundown on what you need to know about removing that pesky Asbestos safely before undergoing roof replacement.
So you’ve been mulling over the “should I, shouldn’t I?” dilemma about removing the Asbestos in your roof. You know that it has to go for the sake of yours and your family’s health, but what are the dangers exactly? How can you know that its been properly and safely removed?
The good news is that Asbestos can be safely removed from your roof prior to roof replacement. You just need to follow the correct steps and make sure the job is done properly. Even though we don’t look after Asbestos removal directly, here’s the low down on how things work…
Won’t it be dangerous removing my Asbestos roof?
The short answer is no…so long as you leave it to the pros. At My Home Improvements we know roofs, we know paints and we know how to create a beautiful lasting finish, BUT we won’t ever attempt Asbestos removal. We leave it to the professionals. In fact, we are not even allowed on a work site until we have received a clearance certificate from an Asbestos remover.
There are two “classes” of Asbestos removers – A and B. We only recommend and work with A Class removers.
A Class and B Class removers. What’s the difference?
The lawman requires you to engage at least a B Class remover to take out the Asbestos in your roof who will be certified to follow minimum regulations. BUT! Here’s some points to consider about B Class removers versus A Class removers.
B Class Asbestos Removers:
- Are self-regulated and have very limited liability.
- Are permitted to have only one “umbrella” licenced person on site. So that means each individual worker removing the Asbestos doesn’t have to have a licence, only one worker.
- Are not authorised to remove friable Asbestos which refers to materials that will easily crumble into powder when crushed by hand. Friable Asbestos will release large amounts of air-borne Asbestos when touched or moved.
A Class Asbestos Removers:
- Are independently certified.
- Hold an “A” Class company licence and each team member will hold individual licences.
- Have air monitoring equipment.
- Must have a Safe Work Method Statement (SWMS) which is a comprehensive guideline for safely managing every step of a workers’ activity.
- Will door knock and leaflet drop in your street to advise neighbours about upcoming Asbestos removal.
- Will advise Workplace Health and Safety about upcoming works so they have their work checked and audited
B Class removers are permitted to remove 10 square metres or more of non friable Asbestos so they are TECHNICALLY permitted to work on roofs.
But if you are using a B Class remover and a roof sheet breaks and releases a cloud of Asbestos riddled dust, well that’s when you can run into problems. If that dust blows in to your neighbour’s yard and they call WH&S, you can get into strife for negligent use of an appropriate company.
A Class removers are qualified to safely remove any type of asbestos material. These guys value their licence. They won’t cut corners and will do everything by the book for you. Measure twice, cut once as they say!
Here’s how it’s done the right way:
Can’t I just remove the Asbestos myself?
Sorry but no. There’s no shortcuts when it comes to this stuff. It’s best to leave it to the professionals. Our advice is to get it done right once and never have to worry about it again. Not to mention of course the risk you would pose to yourself and your family by dealing with Asbestos.
I have Cellulose Fibre Insulation, what should I do about it?
We recommend that you remove any Cellulose Fibre Insulation (e.g. Cool or Cosy) if you are going to have Asbestos removed before roof replacement. You don’t have to by law and you can leave it in if its sprayed with PVA glue as its considered “sealed”. But like most things it’s better to think in the long run.
What if you go up in to the ceiling to store something and break the seal on the insulation? An electrician installing a light fitting could also damage and break the PVA seal. Sealed insulation is still classified as “contaminated” even once Asbestos has been removed. We believe it’s best to get rid of the stuff once and for all so you can live in your home with peace of mind.
The end result!
How do I know I’m dealing with a pro?
So you’re not going into the process blind, here are some key pointers to keep in mind when considering an Asbestos remover.
- Pre Sealing – most Asbestos roofs are painted and are therefore deemed to be sealed, meaning materials can be safely removed. However, if a roof is not sealed, an A Class remover will first seal the roof with PVA to minimise the risk of any Asbestos dust releasing into the air before. A properly licenced remover will always check to see if a roof is completely sealed before commencing work.
- Waste Disposal – all Asbestos material must be placed into a lined receptacle and then removed to an approved disposal site. Materials must never be broken in order to make them fit into a receptacle.
- Personal Protective Equipment – if you see workers removing Asbestos without wearing disposable suits, eye-wear and appropriate breathing masks, well, they probably aren’t licenced Asbestos removers.
- Post Removal – all ceilings and timbers must be vacuumed with a HEPA 13 filter once the materials have been removed then sprayed and sealed with a PVA glue.