The USA’s EPA has recently enacted the Significant New Use Rule. This rule allows the government to evaluate asbestos use on a case by case basis. Unfortunately the new rule does not include the evaluation of exposure to asbestos in the air, ground or water. Asbestos has never been banned in the USA, however, it is tightly controlled.
Carbon Nanotubes, also known as CNTs, can be commonly found in household electrical appliances, bicycle equipment, and even tennis rackets!
The material is prized for its conductivity - which is ten times that of copper- and its tensile strength - 100 times that of steel - so it’s not surprising that many have dubbed Carbon Nanotubes a ‘Wonder Material’.
However, new research from the toxicology department of the UK’s Medical Research Council suggests that CNTs could be linked to mesothelioma.
If this all sounds worryingly familiar, that’s because it is. In our nation’s not too distant past asbestos once shared a similar reputation and was prized for its impressive heat resistant properties.
Since then, the cancer causing properties of asbestos and its links to mesothelioma have become widely known and in 2003 Australia banned the deadly mineral.
During the CNT experiments researchers introduced CNT fibres and asbestos fibres into the pleural cavity of mice, a body part similar to human lungs. The animals were then monitored for a period of twenty months.
What the researchers found was that mice with the introduced fibres had their cellular pathways for inflammation and caner activated and their DNA damaged; results that mymicked asbestos exposure. This was replicated over three different study groups.
The results of these three study groups showed that that between 10% and 25% of the animals exposed to CNT’s went onto develop mesothelioma.
The study was carefully set-up in order to replicate the low levels of chronic exposure experienced by workers in the asbestos industry. The lab conditions reflected what it would be like to be exposed to fibres in the air, eight hours a day, for a working life of 40 years.
Although the study certainly doesn’t prove that CNTs can cause mesothelioma in humans, it does make it frightfully clear that more research needs to be done and that CNTs may not be safe after all.
If nothing else, it is a reminder that It would be naive to think that an asbestos-level tragedy couldn’t happen again.
It's hard to believe that Christmas is just around the corner!
That's right, Christmas 2017 is less than a week away which means soon the new year will be upon us. Although no one knows for sure what the future holds, the Home Demolitions crew are pretty confident that 2018 will bring with it plenty more houses to demolish!
With that in mind we thought we would indulge in some nostalgia by taking a look back at some of the more memorable demolition jobs we performed this year:
5. Demolition with a view
Coming in at number five is this house in Dover Heights. Even with a steep gradient to contend with and torrential rain we were able to knock this job out quickly. In just a couple of days the site was a blank slate and ready for the builder to get to work on.
Why it made the list: Sure, there may not have been anything particularly unique or stand-out about the demolition job itself, but that stunning view of the Sydney CBD is one we soon won't forget!
4. Surprise in store
This asbestos cladded fibro home was covered in a brick facade. This particular brick facade job was so convincing that it wasn't until we started removing asbestos panels in the laundry toward the back of the dwelling that we were able to determine that the dwelling wasn't made out of brick at all, it was an asbestos cladded fibro house with a brick facade!
Why it made the list: It's not often that a brick facade job is this convincing!
3. Penrith's taste of the wild west
Hidden in the backyard of a normal-looking brick home in suburban Penrith stood this orange monstrosity. Constructed of wood covered in sand and painted, this bizarre structure looked like it belonged in some sort of theme park.
Why it made the list: Although we have certainly seen our fare share of sheds, shelters and other small structures in the backyards of houses we demolish, we have never seen anything quite like this!
2. Cubby house demolition
This cubby demolition proves that no job is ever too small for Home Demolitions. Plus it was a great excuse to get the youngest member of our team to work!
Why it made the list: not only was our tiny excavator operator more than up to the task, he was incredibly photogenic too!
1. Katoomba RSL
At the beginning of the year Home Demolitions was brought in to provide emergency demolition and asbestos remediation works at the fire ravaged Katoomba RSL. The job was big and fairly involved, requiring all three of our excavators and excvator operators.
Why it made the list: The Katoomba RSL club really was the heart of the community and although we are sad to see it damaged by fire and demolished, we feel honoured that we could be involved in clearing the way for what comes next.
From all of us here at home demolitions we just want to wish you a very merry Christmas and a happy and safe new year.
To everyone who engaged our services this year, recommended us to a friend or even just read our blog we would like to say a huge thank you!
We love what we do and are excited to perform more top-notch demolitions in the new year!
In a somewhat controversial move, the NSW State Government has voted in favour of demolishing the Sydney Olympic Stadium in Olympic park, Homebush.
That’s right, the stadium that brought us Cathy Freeman’s win in the 400m sprint, the Rabbitoh’s historic grand final win in 2014, the Socceroos' victory over Uruguay that got us into the 2006 world cup, and of course, the opening ceremony of the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games that launched the fleeting career of pop ‘icon’ Nikki Webster, is due to be destroyed and rebuilt.
The epic knockdown rebuild of the Sydney Olympic stadium, currently known as ANZ stadium, will be accompanied by the demolition and re-construction of the Sydney Football Stadium in Moore Park. All up the project is expected to cost $2.3 billion.
The demolition of the old Olympic Stadium and construction of the new stadium is due to kick off in 2019 and be opened to the public in 2022. Work at the Sydney Football stadium will commence in 2018 and be completed by 2021.
The logic behind the project is to construct a new stadium better suited to the types of sports regularly played in Australia. This includes an expanded seating capacity of 70,000 - 80,000 sports fans for the rebuilt Sydney Olympic stadium and 45,000 sports fans for the new Football Stadium.
The NSW State Government also stated that Sydney’s sporting infrastructure had fallen behind the rest of the country and that construction of the new stadiums will make Sydney Australia’s number one destination for big events.
The project has been a long time coming and was first floated in parliament back in 2015.
Understandably not everyone is on board with some members of the government cabinet unsure as to why a state of the art facility that is less than 20 years old needs to be rebuilt.
Although opposition leader Luke Foley was in support of building a new Olympic Stadium, he was against rebuilding the Sydney Football Stadium in Moore Park, skeptical that the venue would ever be able to fill it’s proposed 45,000 seating capacity.
Is the Sydney housing bubble over? This was a question on many people’s mind after housing prices suffered a drop of 0.1 percent in September, the first time housing prices have dropped since April last year.
Sure, housing prices may have peaked but the Sydney property market’s time in the sun is far from over. What is occurring is a shift in what home buyers want and what is in high demand is changing.
An ABS study has found that although overall lending decreased by 5.3 percent in September, the amount of loans written to buy a clean block of land has been increasing. September saw loans for a block of land reach a new record high of almost $8 billion.
That’s right, clean blocks of land are back and in a big way!
Here at Home Demolitions we have always been big fans of the humble clean block of land and are are excited to see Sydney home buyers discovering what we have known all along!
So why all this new found affection for the clean slate? Well, there are several factors at play…
Firstly, supply is still struggling to keep up with demand and a lot of that new supply is in the form of apartments or semi-detached dwellings.
Although there has been an increase in people choosing to downsize their living arrangements home building continues to run at record highs suggesting that the available supply doesn’t match up with the type of housing home buyers want. To put it simply, detached dwellings are in demand and there simply aren’t enough to go round.
The freeing up of government land in Sydney’s western suburbs has also played a role, with previously unavailable blocks of land now up for sale.
And finally, demand for detached housing and clean blocks to build it on has been compounded by the increasing shift toward more apartments and townhouses in all of Australia’s capital cities. This drives competition and means new homebuyers are willing to build if the type of housing they want isn’t available.
For homeowners unhappy with their current dwelling, renovation or a knockdown rebuild are also becoming more popular as a way of avoiding high house prices and stamp duty.
Although we are obviously biased, we advocate for demolition over renovation as it is far quicker than long term renovation and provides you with a clean foundation to build your dream home on without being beholden to what came before. There really is nothing better than a fresh start.
To get an idea of how much it might cost to demolish your home check out our price guide.
Today marks the first day of National Asbestos Awareness month, an annual month long campaign to educate the Australian public on the dangers of asbestos and how to best manage any asbestos they might have in their home.
Australians have a reputation for punching above our weight on the world stage. Whether it be in sport, the creative arts or agriculture, it is not uncommon for Australia to be near the head of the pack. However, one area where we don’t want to be leading is in the amount of people suffering from asbestos related disease.
That’s right, Australia has one of the highest rates of asbestos related disease in the world. This is even more concerning when you remember that asbestos has been banned in Australia since 2003. In fact, rather than on the decline, the instance of asbestos related disease is actually on the increase in Australia.
So, why is this happening? Well, even though most Australians are aware that asbestos is dangerous, individuals are still continuing to maintain or renovate their homes without realising they are exposing themselves to deadly asbestos fibres. Most at risk are home renovators and tradesmen.
The theme of this year’s National Asbestos Awareness month is Renovating? Go Slow! Asbestos it’s a No Go, a catchy reminder of the importance of checking for asbestos before going ahead with home maintenance or a renovation project.
Throughout the month Asbestos Awareness Ambassadors, like renovation guru Cherie Barber, television presenter Don Burke, and actor John Jarratt, will be hitting social media, television and the airwaves to get this important message out.
Additionally, local councils will be holding events, Blue Lamington drives will be held to raise money for the Asbestos Diseases Research Institute, and BETTY - the mobile asbestos education house - will be touring Tasmania.
At Home Demolitions we regularly remove asbestos from homes all over Sydney. As a result we understand both the dangers and the importance of removing and disposing of it safely and are committed to helping to spread asbestos awareness and education.
For more information you can check out the offical National Asbestos Awareness month website.
As one of the only companies in the demolition industry to operate in a completely transparent fashion; Home Demolitions was recently selected to represent the Australian Demolition market in a not too distant piece for SBS's program Small Business Secrets. The upcoming insight covers an array of consumer focused questions and shares knowledge to both the demolition process but also the means in which it is performed and details some of the often overlooked components that make demolishing a house possible.
Stay tuned to SBS this coming June to get a glimpse of what it's like to plan and execute a typical demolition project in Sydney's inner suburbs.
Whilst a new excavator is nothing out of the ordinary for Home Demolitions, heck, we upgrade our machinery and equipment to keep up with the latest technology more frequently than some people change their undies! But, for the past decade or so, we have solely used Komatsu brand excavators and by all means, we still love our existing Komatsu models but every once in a while something new, something exciting, something outstanding comes along and it's simply too hard to resist.
This Sumitomo is a middleweight multipurpose excavator which is absolutely perfect for pretty much all nature of demolishing, it has more than enough weight and power to bring just about any structure down whilst maintaining a nimble versatility that enables it to squeeze into even the tightest of housing blocks. Unlike other manufacturers of excavation equipment, Sumitomo includes a plethora of nifty tools and features ranging from a neat'o blade attached to the front (perfect for creating perfectly level ground) all the way through to an oversized cup holder which fits even the most super sized coffee without a problem.
Although brand spanking new, this gutsy little tracker has made a big impression on the Home Demolition staff with some operators waiting in line for a chance to take it out for a spin. We're looking forward to see how it goes over the next couple of weeks. . . and who knows, maybe we'll go pick up a couple more!
~ Not even the beaches are safe.
The Environmental Protection Authority of Victoria has just announced it's latest addition to it's Strikeforce against illegal dumping. Executive Director of Regional Services, Damian Wells stated that the implementation of aerial surveillance will enable authorised officers to prosecute offenders in ordinarily remote locations with low visibility. The program builds on the work of EPA’s Illegal Dumping Strikeforce – a program dedicated to reducing the illegal dumping of industrial waste such as concrete, timber, bricks and asbestos.
The unmanned aerial vehicles *drones* will be fitted with a range of attachments to help officers calculate the volume of waste on a site, detect ‘hotspots’ via the use of thermal imaging and even collect air and water for sampling. More than 350,000 tonnes of construction and demolition waste "often containing asbestos and other harmful substances" is dumped in Victoria each year at a cost to local councils in the millions of dollars.
So, in a Orwellian era of environmental crime fighting coupled with fines exceeding $800,000 for the illegal dumping of waste without a licence, will the community start to see cleaner surroundings? I guess only time will tell.
In what is seemingly the least responsible manoeuvre that could be performed in a modern age of understanding asbestos and it's associated risks; A local man from the Northern coast of NSW has been issued a relatively small fine for crushing asbestos containing cement and repurposing it as aggregate for a new cement driveway.
The story although not uncommon has a surprise twist when considering the nature of the individuals business, performing excavations, demolitions and providing "quarry supplies" ~
It should be assumed that someone performing work in the presence of asbestos should be all to aware of the dangers, stipulations, regulations and ramifications of not handling this deadly compound within safety protocols, alas, here is an individual that for a living supplies stones, cement, aggregate and performs excavations with absolutely no regard for the potential health hazards to himself or others within close proximity.
If you witness what you believe to be the mishandling of asbestos, feel free to report it to your local council or Safework Australia.
The dawning of the Atomic Age following World War Two saw most of the western world enjoying a level of prosperity and care free lifestyles like no other - In fact, 1950s Australia was great; Petrol was cheap, Hawaiian shirts were in fashion and asbestos was rampant. Asbestos, as with most miracle products of bygone years (radium salts, lead paint, cigarettes) was hailed for its seemingly revolutionary approach to building and construction, offering lighter weights, greater structural integrity and having superior insulating and fire retarding properties. Soon, almost every house, school, hospital and business was being constructed out of the versatile asbestos cement board championed by multinationals like James Hardie and CSR.
With little surprise, asbestos managed to make its way into some of Sydney's most recognisable buildings and infrastructure. Previously, the Opera House was found to contain loose fill Asbestos based insulation (among many other things) and now it's The Sydney Harbour Bridge's turn to show us what it's made of.
According to acting Roads Minister Duncan Gay, ongoing maintenance work by Roads and Maritime Services NSW revealed an undisclosed amount of asbestos was discovered at the northern point of the iconic landmark earlier this February. In a statement released this week, Mr Gay reported that “While it is not uncommon for asbestos to be found during infrastructure work, I would expect better procedures and guidelines to be in place for the escalation of findings, I have asked the agency to carry out a full investigation into this incident. This will include monitoring where excess material from the site was taken and how it was remediated.”
These findings are only further evidence of this potentially deadly substances prevalence in Australia, if 300,000 people can cross The Sydney Harbour Bridge each day and be completely oblivious to the structures materials and their potential health risks, just imagine what is lurking in the ordinary Australian home.