So You Want To Demolish A House Part Three: Asbestos Removal

For the uninitiated, demolishing a house can be a daunting task. There are countless factors that can effect the time and cost of your demolition job, lots of paper work to sign and then there’s the actual structural demolition!

To make the whole process a little less daunting we have put together a series of blogs called 'So you want to demolish a house'. Each instalment will walk you step-by-step through the process of demolishing - from getting a quote to the actual demolition.

This week we thought we would talk about the elephant in the room, and by that we are of course referring to asbestos.

 Asbestos fibres can lead to serious health problems if inhaled so it is important asbestos is removed safely by a trained professional.

Asbestos fibres can lead to serious health problems if inhaled so it is important asbestos is removed safely by a trained professional.

It really is impossible to talk about demolition in Australia without talking about asbestos, as asbestos removal is a huge part of the demolition industry.

Asbestos has been banned in Australia for 15 years now, but the ban isn't retroactive, so if the home you are looking at demolishing was built before 1990 then there is a high chance it will contain asbestos in one form or another.

In Australia, asbestos is found in the home in two main forms:

Friable asbestos: The more dangerous of the two, friable asbestos has its fibres exposed. This type of asbestos was generally used in ceilings as insulation

Non-friable asbestos: Non-friable refers to asbestos fibres being suspended or encased in another material, such as cement. Asbestos fibre board, known colloquially as ‘fibro’, is the most common form of non-friable asbestos. 

Due to its warmer, more temperate climate, friable asbestos insulation products are usually not found in Sydney

 Asbestso removal in progress

Asbestso removal in progress

When an estimator comes to your property to give you a demolition quote, they will also identify any asbestos that needs to be removed before the excavators can start rolling in.

Even if the dwelling you are looking to demolish doesn’t have any visible asbestos, there is a good chance chance it could contain asbestos underneath tiles, in piping or behind fire places or splash backs. In some cases we have even discovered entire walls made out of asbestos sneakily hidden behind brick veneer!

 Asbestos has a habit of hiding where you least expect it, like behind this supposedly 'solid' brick wall. 

Asbestos has a habit of hiding where you least expect it, like behind this supposedly 'solid' brick wall. 

A few days before the structural demolition of the property starts, a trained asbestos crew will remove any and all asbestos contained in the house. Since asbestos fibres can lead to serious health problems if inhaled, the asbestos crew removes each panel of asbestos fibre board piece by piece without breaking it. The removed panels are then wrapped in plastic and placed in a skip for disposal.

As you would expect, this process is tedious and time consuming, but it is the only safe and legally compliant way to remove asbestos from a property. 

While this asbestos is being removed any tiles on the dwelling's roof will also be removed. This is so the tiles can be disposed of separately from any general waste. Since tiles are dense and heavy this saves on tipping costs and helps keep the price of your demolition down. 

Christof

Home Demolitions, Ryde, NSW, 2112

Christof is Home Demolitions resident media guru and content writer. His days are spent blogging about demolitions, brainstorming new ways to educate the public about the demolition process and photoshopping excavators into famous movie posters.