There are many reasons why homeowners may opt to hire an unlicensed home handyman to assist with renovation and remodeling projects, many of which are related to a perceived ability to save money on some potentially expensive work. What many don’t realise, though, is just how much of a risk this can pose to their physical health and that of their families.
An estimated one in three Australian homes contains some form of asbestos, a substance commonly used in building materials until the mid-1980s which has been linked to mesothelioma, an incurable and lethal form of cancer. Homes which were built or renovated before 1990 are quite likely to contain asbestos, and aren’t at risk for exposure until building materials containing the substance become damaged, or are exposed as a result of renovation. Unlicensed or inexperienced handymen may not have the proper training or knowledge required to safely remove asbestos, or to prevent exposure.
What Homeowners Should Know About Asbestos
The first and most crucial bit of information homeowners should have about asbestos is that there is no safe level of exposure. Disturbed or damaged asbestos fibres are airborne, and can easily be inhaled if the proper precautions aren’t taken by builders. Because home handymen may not be knowledgeable about the dangers of asbestos fibre inhalation, homeowners are advised to work with licensed professionals when undertaking a home improvement project.
If you don’t know for certain whether your home contains asbestos products, you’re advised to always assume asbestos is present so you can take the proper precautions. You should also work with licensed, experienced professionals who are well-versed in renovations, home extensions or remodeling projects which may uncover the presence of this dangerous substance. When asbestos is removed properly by an experienced professional, the process is low-risk and relatively safe. It’s only when asbestos is handled improperly that it becomes a cause for very real concern.
Safe Asbestos Handling: Working with Professional Building Inspectors
While many building material products manufactured before 1990 are likely to contain asbestos, its presence can be neither confirmed nor ruled out unless testing takes place. For homeowners who are planning to work with a home handyman to complete a household project, erring on the side of caution is the best and most effective method for keeping your family safe.
Working with a professional building inspector before your home handyman arrives to begin work can help you to determine the likelihood of asbestos presence, A professional building inspector can also evaluate your property before work begins, or provide stage construction inspections to ensure all building work is being completed adequately and in in accordance with Australian Standards.
Before you start your home renovation, be sure the project won’t put the health of your household at risk, or that of an unlicensed handyman. By being proactive and preparing for the likelihood of an asbestos encounter, you can help to protect yourself, your family and builders on your property.
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