How to Check For Asbestos Presence in a Building

Many people in Australia have known about asbestos, and its use in a building possesses a great danger to the occupants. However, their awareness to the danger of asbestos is insufficient to stop them from disturbing this deadly material.

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In the last few years, people who are exposed to the cancerous fibres come from DIY home renovators. They accidentally damaged the ACM in the renovation process by sanding, scrapping, or even breaking the contaminated structures. Therefore, it is important to be aware which structures that are actually contaminated by ACM.

The product variety makes it hard to be identified since ACM was made in various types, shapes, and forms. Approximately 3,000 products around the world have been identified for using this dangerous mineral. Most of the products can be found in the construction industry.

Some of the asbestos sheeting products that have been identified are as follow:

  • Asphalt floor tiles
  • Fibro asbestos sheeting
  • Window putty
  • Fireplace logs
  • Kitchen splash back
  • Roofing & gutter
  • Electric box
  • Dog kernel
  • Heater
  • Insulation system
  • Other asbestos sheeting materials.

There is many other asbestos sheeting used in a building, especially in the old ones. The government has administered that a property built before the 1990s has a high chance to use ACM in its structures.


The danger of ACM

Having an old building contaminated by ACM can be very dangerous since the contaminated material can release its carcinogenic fibres slowly overtime. An ACM that is installed outdoor will damage faster due to the weathering process. The damaged ACM will slowly contaminate the surrounding and expose the people who live or work in the premises.

A person who is exposed to the deadly fibres will not notice the amount of fibres that have entered the body and damage the internal linings of the organ. The fibres will develop scarring to the internal organ for more than 20 years without showing any illness sign. In most cases, the first symptom of the disease can appear up to 70 years after the initial exposure. This is where asbestos got its name as “The Silent Killer”.


Know your enemy

The best thing to do when living in an old property that may be contaminated by ACM is to know what kind of danger it possesses. By knowing the contamination source and how it can harm the health, it would raise an awareness of the ACM hazard.

However, an ACM fibre can be 200 times as small as a piece of hair. So, it is hard to identify whether a building product contains this cancerous fibre without the proper method. In some cases, even a licensed assessor cannot identify a suspected material without further analysis in a laboratory. Nevertheless, homeowners may be able to check their homes by several ways that do not disturb the ACM presence in the premises.

One of the easiest ways to inspect a property for any contamination is by determining the initial construction year. Most properties that were built up to 1989 are most likely to use ACMs in the structure. Another thing that can be done to find out ACM presence in one building is by checking the asbestos register. The document contains a complete list of ACM, which has been identified earlier. As regulated by the government, a homeowner who doesn’t obtain the document will be charged or sent to prison for neglecting the public safety.

The best way to get a comprehensive identification of ACM in a building is by hiring a licensed assessor to perform a complete inspection of the contaminated building.

The identification steps are as follows:


1. Visual inspection

The assessor will look around the premises to find the ACMs, an extensive training and extended experience allow him to locate all contaminated products, including the ones hidden behind another building structures. In some situation, the contaminated material can be easily found because there are labels on the product, which mention that it contains asbestos. But, if the assessor is unsure with one or more of the suspected material, he will gather some samples and send them to the lab.


2. Lab analysis

The samples taken from suspected materials will be investigated in a lab accredited by NATA to perform an ACM analysis. One of the common analysis method used is a Polarized Light Microscopy (PLM). This method allows the analyst to identify the asbestos fibres from the samples. The analysis report will be combined with the assessor inspection result to get a complete report.


3. Final report

The final report is useful to get a better insight of the contamination level in a building. The report can also be used to determine the next step to clean the property from all ACMs.

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Further actions

When all ACMs have been identified, it is time to take the next step for a clean environment by remediating the building. The remediation project must be performed by a professional who has been licensed to carry out an asbestos removal.

However, since many contractors claim themselves as the expert, it would be wise to have them checked before deciding to hire their removal service. The assessment can be as simple as counting 1…2…3:


1. Written prove

The right asbestos removalist will be able to show his licensing documents. So, do not trust a contractor who cannot prove his capability on paper.


2. References

A client has the right to ask for some reference of the contractor’s previous project.


3. Adequate equipment and insurance coverage

Working with dangerous material like asbestos requires particular equipment and liability insurance coverage to ensure that the job is carried out properly. The insurance will also work as a warranty for the client, as well as the workers, when an accident occurs during the removal project.

Nevertheless, all the trouble of finding the right contractor can be skipped by taking the services provided by our endorsed contractors. Have your homes and other types of property checked for any asbestos contamination and clean it to get a secure home free from asbestos products. So, get your phone and contact our endorsed contractors to get your free quotes today.

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