The True Cost Of Buying A Property With Asbestos
What You Need To Know About Asbestos
When buying your first home, there are many things to consider. Getting a building inspection, testing for meth and making sure it’s warm. But have you thought about asbestos?
What Is Asbestos?
You can’t see it, smell it or taste it – but asbestos is deadly. Asbestos is a mineral that comes from metamorphic rocks. It is resistant to fire, water and chemicals – which made it a popular substance to use in many building materials. Typical uses were in cladding, roofing, vehicle brakes, textured ceiling (like popcorn ceiling), and insulation. However, in 1984 it became illegal to import blue or brown asbestos into New Zealand because there was an increasing concern on its detrimental effects to human health.
Asbestos Health Effects
Asbestos itself isn’t harmful until it’s broken up or exposed. When this happens, the fibres become airborne, making it easy to inhale. Once these fibres reach the lungs, they are impossible to remove. Asbestos fibres cause micro-scarring in the lungs which can lead to asbestosis, and lung cancer. Asbestos isn’t a nice character, in fact – it’s the number one killer in the New Zealand workforce with over 170 dying from asbestos related causes each year.
New Asbestos Regulations
As of April 2018, any property that is to undergo renovations, will need to be tested for asbestos. This is because any property that has asbestos, poses a great risk to any builders or people working on the site. As soon as you undergo renovations, you pretty much become a PCBU (Person Conducting Business or Undertaking).
What are the different costs involved?
Because of the specialisation, equipment and risks involved with asbestos, removal is fairly expensive. Prices can start on the lower end of the spectrum at $400.00 for basic removal of cladding external materials or fence panels and $1,200.00 for internal areas
Why you can’t remove it yourself?
Asbestos cannot be removed safely if doing it yourself. It takes technical knowledge and the correct PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) to remove the asbestos without creating further damage to your property or your health.
What if I can’t afford removal?
We do understand that asbestos removal is an expensive process, and sometimes unaffordable. But what can you do if you still want to renovate? Your other main option is to get it encapsulated.
This is usually done by applying a sealant directly to the ACM (Asbestos Containing Material), which is then painted, sealed and covered with other building materials. This is definitely more of a ‘band-aid’ solution, which doesn’t get rid of the problem, but masks it and protects your health.
So who can you trust to get it done?
When it comes to asbestos removal, you want it done right the first time. A couple of things to ask of a reliable & affordable asbestos company like Chemcare include:
1. Are they licensed?
While many companies pride themselves on cheap prices or reliable services, it’s important they’re actually on the register – you can find out more information by checking the Worksafe asbestos register.
2. What license do they hold?
Those with a class A asbestos removal license can remove:
• Any amount of friable asbestos or ACM (a material that is easily reduced to a powder when crushed by hand like low density boards)
• Any amount of non-friable asbestos or ACM (harder to extract the asbestos from the material as it it generally bonded to the surface)
• Any amount of ACD (Asbestos Contaminated Debris)
Those with a class B asbestos removal license can remove:
• Any amount of non-friable asbestos or ACM
• ACD that is linked to the removal of any amount of non-friable asbestos or ACM
3. Will I be issued with a clearance certificate?
While this should be standard practice, it’s important to check. This will verify that your property is completely safe again and that the asbestos has either been removed or contained.
If you’re looking at a property that may contain asbestos, be sure to ask questions. How much is there? Could it be easily contained? While you may not be thinking of renovating in the near future, in time the asbestos will become an increased risk. If you need any more information regarding asbestos, removal or encapsulation – make sure to check out Chemcare.