Do-It-Yourself Asbestos Roof Removal During Home Renovations

Removal of asbestos is a dangerous undertaking and if carried out incorrectly could lead to contamination of the environment. Besides the work site contamination risk, your personal health is also put at risk, through the potential inhalation of harmful asbestos fibres.

The Proper Removal Procedure

Asbestos roof removal may be among the most risky and dangerous forms of asbestos removal. Before the removal work commences, the area below your roof work site should always be clear to prevent any asbestos pieces, including you, falling through the roof from getting impaled on items below.

Wood planks ought to be deployed for walking on as you work on your roof. This is because your old asbestos roof could have become thin due to many years of exposure to hail, wind and rain erosion. Usage of strong wooden planks helps in spreading out your weight, hence reducing the risk of your falling through.

When working on roof that is over a single storey, you may need to put in place more elaborate precautions for your own safety such as scaffolding and harnesses. If possible, you should leave this type of removal to the experts.

The essential safety equipment includes:

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  • Respirators
  • Coveralls
  • Boots
  • Gloves

It is possible that asbestos fibres get trapped in your personal fabric, such as fabric sneakers and boot laces and carried back into the house. Such items should be discarded after the job is finished and never reused.

Cleaning Up After Removal

The whole work area has to be fully decontaminated after the job is done. Usually, this is may be realized by employing a vacuum cleaner that is suitable for hazardous materials with a filter at .3 micron.

The waste asbestos must be securely wrapped in special bags sold in hardware stores across Australia. Based on the facility where you are dropping off your waste asbestos material, you may be required to wrap each asbestos sheet separately or in small groups of between 3 and 5 sheets, or in sizable bundles of about 30.

What to do after removal work:

  • Have the work area thoroughly cleaned as well as the equipment and tools.
  • Clean up the work site and tools using wet mops or rags which must be discarded after use. Avoid mops with attachments as they not easy to decontaminate.
  • If you must use a vacuum cleaner, it must be one that has a suitable high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter confirming to Australian Standard AS4260.
  • Keep your debris, dust and off-cuts always wet using water
  • Have your decontamination tools like the mops, rags double wrapped for proper disposal along with other waste going to the approved waste disposal site.
  • All materials used such as rags and mops should be double bagged for proper disposal.
  • Always have your respirator on.
  • According to Work Safe Australia (WHS), any roof cavity created must be vacuumed.

Legal Implications

Each state in Australia has its version of laws that regulate the removal of asbestos. Additionally some local councils or authorities may have specific regulations for asbestos handling, demolitions and renovations.

For example, in New South Wales, to remove bonded asbestos of an area in excess of 10 square meters of you need to have obtained an NSW Work Cover Bonded licence for asbestos removal. This means you must have attended a suitable training course conducted by TAFE or some other government certified training organization. If not, you will need to engage a professional asbestos removalist.