City urges home renovators and DIYers to be asbestos aware

 The City of Greater Geraldton wants to make people more aware of asbestos.

The City of Greater Geraldton wants to make people more aware of asbestos.

In a stark message to all home renovators, tradies, handymen and DIYers, the City of Greater Geraldton wants to make people more aware of asbestos as part of Get to Know about Asbestos this November.

Many Australians wrongly believe that only fibro homes contain asbestos. With asbestos products still commonly found in and around brick, weatherboard, clad and fibro homes built or renovated before 1987, it’s vital that homeowners, renovators, tradesmen and handymen are aware of asbestos.

City of Greater Geraldton Mayor, Shane Van Styn, said home renovators and tradies need to be asbestos aware, and learn where asbestos might be found in homes and on properties and how to manage it safely because it’s not worth the risk to themselves or to their families.

“In Geraldton the predominant issue is asbestos sheet fencing, roofs and eaves. With the winds, fences often get damaged and sheets need removing, so it’s important that the entire sheet is taken out and no pieces are left in the ground,” he said.

“Earthmoving contractors also need to be on the lookout as sometimes blocks being cleared can have asbestos buried that could be disturbed and be spread around the property leading to a major contamination issue which is expensive to remediate.”

He encourages people to to find out more information.

Chair of the Asbestos Education Committee, Peter Dunphy, said asbestos could be anywhere.

“Under floor coverings such as carpets, linoleum and vinyl tiles, behind wall and floor tiles, in cement floors, internal and external walls, ceilings and ceiling space (insulation), eaves, garages, roofs, around hot water pipes, fences, extensions to homes, garages, outdoor toilets, backyard and farm sheds, chook sheds and even dog kennels,” he said.

“No one can tell if a product contains asbestos just by looking at it. Only scientific testing by an accredited National Association of Testing Authorities (NATA) can confirm if asbestos is present. If people aren’t sure if a product contains asbestos they should treat it as if it is asbestos and take all the necessary precautions to protect themselves and families.

“However, to be sure if asbestos is in homes, owners can have properties inspected by a licenced removalist or a licensed asbestos assessor to confirm if asbestos products are present,” said Mr Dunphy.

“If in good condition and left undisturbed, asbestos generally doesn’t pose a health risk. Although, with the aging of homes the popularity of DIY, renovating, knock-down-rebuild and with the redevelopment of old fibro home sites, it’s important that anyone working in or around homes or buildings constructed or renovated before 1987 know the dangers of asbestos and how to manage it safely.

“When homes contain asbestos, DIY is not recommended and renovating properties without knowing where asbestos might be located has been likened to playing ‘Renovation Roulette’.

“Don’t play Renovation Roulette! Don’t cut it, don’t drill it, don’t drop it, don’t sand it, don’t saw it, don’t scrape it, don’t scrub it, don’t dismantle it, Don’t tip it, don’t water blast it, don’t demolish it, and whatever you do, don’t dump it!”