Recognise the Dangers and Plan for Safe Removal
Asbestos was a popular roofing material due to its durability, fire resistance, and insulating properties. However, its use has significantly declined since its severe health risks were discovered. In this article, we’ll discuss how to identify asbestos roofing materials and assess the potential risks associated with them.
Identifying Asbestos Roofing Materials
Types of Asbestos Roofing Materials: Common asbestos-containing roofing materials include asbestos cement sheets, shingles, and felt. These materials often appear distinct, with cement sheets as flat, corrugated panels and shingles resembling traditional tiles.
Age of the Roof: Asbestos was widely used in construction between the 1940s and 1980s. If your building was constructed or last roofed during this period, it may contain asbestos.
Professional Inspection: The only definitive way to identify asbestos-containing materials is through laboratory testing of samples. If you suspect your roof contains asbestos, hire a licensed inspector to collect samples and confirm its presence.
Assessing the Risks of Asbestos Roofing Materials
Condition of Asbestos Materials: The risk associated with asbestos roofing materials largely depends on their condition. Intact and undisturbed materials pose a lower risk, while damaged, deteriorating, or friable materials can release asbestos fibres into the air, posing a significant health hazard. Exposure Duration and Frequency: The risk of developing asbestos-related health issues increases with the duration and frequency of exposure to asbestos fibres. Those exposed to high levels of asbestos for prolonged periods are at a higher risk.
Planned Renovations or Repairs: If you plan to undertake renovations or repairs that could disturb asbestos-containing materials, the risk of asbestos exposure increases. In such cases, it’s crucial to engage a licensed asbestos abatement professional to remove and dispose of hazardous materials safely.
Steps to Mitigate Asbestos Roofing Risks
Regular Inspections: Regularly inspect your roof to monitor its condition and identify any signs of damage or deterioration. It will help you assess and manage the risks associated with asbestos roofing materials.
Prompt Repairs: If you identify minor damage, such as cracks or small holes in asbestos cement sheets, arrange for prompt repairs by a licensed professional. Proper repairs can help minimise the release of asbestos fibres.
Plan for Safe Removal: If your roof is in poor condition or you plan on undertaking renovations that may disturb asbestos-containing materials, work with a licensed asbestos abatement contractor to safely remove and replace the roof.
Avoid DIY: Never attempt to remove or repair asbestos-containing materials yourself. The risk of asbestos exposure and the potential legal consequences of improper handling and disposal make DIY asbestos work a dangerous and ill-advised option.
Identifying and assessing the risks associated with asbestos roofing materials is critical in ensuring the safety and well-being of those who live or work in the building. By regularly inspecting the roof, making prompt repairs, planning for safe removal, and avoiding DIY attempts, you can effectively manage and mitigate the risks posed by asbestos. Always work with licensed professionals experienced in asbestos abatement to ensure the health and safety of everyone involved.