28 Feb What Every Property Owner Should Know About Asbestos
The health scare about asbestos has subsided some years ago, and the experts and authorities continue to disseminate information that aim to help property owners know the impact of asbestos and how to avoid its harmful effects on public health and safety. However, some misconceptions still remain, and a lot of people still seek to gain more understanding about the issue.
If you’re a first-time homeowner or home builder, you’re most likely especially interested in knowing how to choose the right materials that will ensure the home you’re building or buying is sturdy as well as safe. Thus, one of the most pressing questions you will be faced with is how to tell the difference between asbestos fence (and Super Six) and Hardifence.
Here are some facts that will help you make more informed decisions:
Asbestos use has been greatly reduced. Unlike the past decades when the use of asbestos was so widespread, the production of asbestos (also known as Super Six) was discontinued in 1985. Hardifence was developed as an alternative, making newer properties virtually free from asbestos materials.
But the risks are still present. If the asbestos remains intact, it’s not considered a health risk. However, there’s no way of being 100% sure that the structure will be left undisturbed for the years to come. Somebody may do some renovation work (drilling, sawing, grinding or high-pressure cleaning) and unknowingly release the harmful fibres in the air. Unexpected structural damage or just ordinary wear and tear that comes with age can disturb the asbestos and should automatically be considered a safety emergency.
Staying away from asbestos is still the safest move. Experts say the safest approach is to simply remove the asbestos-based components if you suspect that there are still some left over in your property or site. But remember: Never try to handle the removal and disposal of asbestos by yourself. A licence is actually required for anyone to do this task. Call a professional contractor who is trained and equipped for the undertaking to avoid any serious health consequences.
Some investigations you can do. You can do some initial checking to help you figure out your next steps.
- Know the age of the structure. If it’s built before the ‘80s, there is a high chance that asbestos is present.
- Look for identifying marks. The material is safe if it’s been imprinted with the Hardifence name and manufacture date, or the label “Manufactured Without Asbestos” plus the date stamp.
- Check the capping. Fibre cement capping indicates the presence of asbestos. Hardifence materials feature a metal capping.
- Test the material. Hardifence material is soft; if you run a sharp object such as your fingernail on it, a scratch mark will most likely appear on the surface. Abrasions won’t show on the harder surface of Super Six (asbestos).