Asbestos removal: Sydney and NSW

If you’re renovating or demolishing a building that contains asbestos, you need to ensure that asbestos removal is performed safely, efficiently and in accordance with Government codes. It’s not just a legal requirement; it will keep your staff and contractors safe.

Airsafe can help. We’re a full service Sydney asbestos consultancy. With our own NATA-accredited laboratories, we can provide you with the specialist advice you need to remove asbestos and other hazardous materials from your site. We can help with everything from an initial asbestos audit or survey, to a clearance inspections once asbestos removal has been completed.

Airsafe has built an unrivalled reputation during more than 30 years in the asbestos and hazardous materials industry. We’ve worked on many of the biggest asbestos abatement projects undertaken in Sydney and throughout New South Wales. Our expertise is acknowledged by WorkSafe NSW, as well as state and local government authorities.

 

How do I find a reliable asbestos removal contractor?

Airsafe is an asbestos consultancy. While we don’t remove asbestos ourselves, we can help you find a reliable asbestos removal contractor who won’t cut corners, wherever you are in Sydney or NSW.

Airsafe has worked with hundreds of Sydney asbestos removal companies over the last three decades. We know the good ones, and they know us.

We only recommend asbestos removalists that satisfy all of Airsafe’s rigorous quality control and occupational safety practices, as well as SafeWork NSW licensing requirements.

If you need a qualified asbestos removal expert who can get the job done quickly, safely and cost-effectively, call Airsafe for our Sydney or NSW asbestos removal contractor recommendations.

Expert advice on asbestos removal: call Airsafe on (02) 9555 9034

asbestos removal in progress

Asbestos removal in progress

Asbestos removal cost

The cost of asbestos removal can vary widely between contractors. When you contact Airsafe for advice, we’ll give you the names of several reliable contractors. We encourage you to seek quotes from all of them and engage whoever offers the best value for money. However, we strongly discourage you from engaging low cost asbestos removal companies that you might find online.

In our experience, companies that compete purely on price for asbestos removals are often:

  • Unlicensed: Companies are free to offer low-cost asbestos removal services without going through WorkSafe’s licensing process. Legally, asbestos removal doesn’t require a license if less than 10m2 of non-friable asbestos or asbestos containing material (ACM) is being removed. But at Airsafe, we prefer to work with only licensed asbestos removal contractors.
  • Underinsured: If your contractor doesn’t have adequate public liability insurance (specifically covering asbestos) and workers’ compensation insurance, you could be legally liable, which could end up making asbestos removal cost more than you ever imagined.
  • Slapdash: Asbestos is one area where rigour, correct procedure, and paperwork are important, both to keep people safe and to protect you from potential legal consequences in the future. We’ve found that low cost asbestos removal companies often cut corners on asbestos precautions, removal and disposal procedures.

Friable asbestos removal

Although it’s important to take precautions for all asbestos removal, it’s particularly crucial in the case of friable asbestos. Friable asbestos is asbestos that’s either in powder form or can easily be crumbled in the hand. It’s the most dangerous form of asbestos because it’s very easy for fibres to become airborne and get inhaled into the lungs.

Because of the particular dangers around friable asbestos, WorkSafe requires a special license for its removal. This “Class A” license is difficult to obtain; most asbestos removal licenses are “Class B”, which only permit the removal of bonded (that is, non-friable) asbestos.

However, the distinction between friable and bonded asbestos is not always clear-cut. In particular, bonded asbestos can actually become friable, either through years of weather damage (as is common with fibro roofs) or through being damaged in the process of being removed. Rather than having to make the call yourself about whether your asbestos is friable or non-friable, just talk to Airsafe. We’ll take your particular situation into account when recommending a licensed removal contractor for you.

Expert advice on asbestos removal: call Airsafe on (02) 9555 9034

DIY asbestos removal?

Again, asbestos removal doesn’t legally require a license if:

  • less than 10m2 of asbestos or asbestos-containing material is being removed
  • the asbestos being removed is bonded rather than friable

If you only have a small amount of bonded asbestos to remove, you may be tempted to do it yourself, or hire an unlicensed handyman to do the job.

But just because something is legal, that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea! At Airsafe, we discourage DIY asbestos removal because we simply don’t think untrained people should be messing about with asbestos. If you found out the someone in a nearby building was removing asbestos from their premises, would you trust them to do it properly? Wouldn’t you feel safer knowing that they had used a licensed asbestos removal contractor?

Airsafe can recommend a contractor who will be happy to quote on removing and disposing of any amount of asbestos, however small.

Avoid asbestos exposure with air quality monitoring

One thing all Airsafe’s recommended asbestos removalists have in common is that they use air monitoring during asbestos removal. Air monitoring involves using specialised equipment to ensure that the control measures in place around asbestos removal are working as intended.

air monitoring equipment on site

Air monitoring equipment on site

This is the point where Airsafe gets directly involved in the asbestos removal process. As Sydney’s most experienced asbestos consultancy, we’re acknowledged experts in keeping people safe during asbestos removal using air quality monitoring. We’re fully accredited to carry out air monitoring by NATA, the National Association of Testing Authorities, and we’re Licensed Asbestos Assessors with WorkSafe, which is a legal requirement for air monitoring during friable asbestos removal works.

Air monitoring is mandatory when friable asbestos is being removed. However, WorkSafe NSW also recommends air monitoring in a variety of other situations, including:

  • When more than 10m2 of bonded asbestos is being removed
  • When asbestos removal is taking place in a public location
  • When the risk of exposure to asbestos is unknown or unclear

See Work Safe Australia’s How to Safely Remove Asbestos Code of Practice [PDF] for details.

Air monitoring during asbestos removal is good practice because it offers reassurance that the correct control measures are in place and are working. Similar to using a licensed asbestos removalist, having air monitoring performed by a Licensed Asbestos Assessor like Airsafe gives you peace of mind, and documentation of safety that protects you against possible future legal action. Not to mention that taking care of the safety of your employees, contractors and the general public is the right thing to do.

Asbestos disposal

Of course, it’s not just important to think about safe asbestos removal; you also need to think about the safe disposal of asbestos waste. As you may have noticed in the news, illegal asbestos dumping is a regular problem in New South Wales. It’s yet another reason to use licensed asbestos removal contractors, recommended by Airsafe: if you end up hiring a cowboy who dumps asbestos from your site near a primary school, you could be legally responsible.

The rules on safely disposing of asbestos waste are outlined by the EPA as follows:

  • Waste must be stored on the premises in an environmentally safe manner.
  • Bonded asbestos material must be securely packaged at all times.
  • Friable asbestos material must be kept in a sealed container.
  • Asbestos-contaminated soils must be wetted down.
  • All asbestos waste must be transported in a covered, leak-proof vehicle.
  • Asbestos waste must be disposed of at a landfill site that can lawfully receive this waste.
  • It is illegal to dispose of asbestos waste in domestic garbage bins.
  • It is also illegal to re-use, recycle or illegally dump asbestos products.

It’s important to know that not every landfill in NSW accepts asbestos waste. Before taking asbestos or asbestos containing material to a landfill, you must contact them to check that they can receive your waste, and for any specific requirements they have about delivery. (Of course, a licensed asbestos removal contractor will do all this for you, and is the best person to advise you on the requirements for asbestos disposal.)

Clearance inspections following asbestos removal

The final step in asbestos removal, before recommencing work on the site, is a clearance inspection to make sure that all asbestos has been effectively removed. If not done properly, this can cause a further delay, with clearance certificates rejected by authorities because they’re inadequately documented or the correct procedures haven’t been followed.

Airsafe’s clearance certificates, on the other hand, are so trusted by the authorities that our clients never have these delays. So to get things moving, and to be sure that your site is genuinely clear of asbestos, book an asbestos clearance inspection with Airsafe.

Expert advice on asbestos removal: call Airsafe on (02) 9555 9034

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