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Creating a Toxic-Free Home

Renovating old homes can be a worthwhile investment, especially if you're able to sell on a period property for a greater profit margin and reinvest that money again. However, if you're new to property development, then you may or may not be aware that certain property checks should be made and general tasks completed before you begin the renovation. This can encompass things such as checking the walls for asbestos, ensuring that energy supplies to the house are safely installed and in working order and checking the integrity of the flooring and generally structure, making sure it is stable and free from pests. Clearly if any of these pose a problem, then it will get fixed during the renovation; however, they need to be factored into your plans and budget to allow for adequate time for them to be rectified. It's especially important to take care of asbestos problems before any renovation takes place.

According to Australian Government statistics, over a third of homes in the country built before 1990 contain construction materials and products that use asbestos. Asbestos is a type of mineral with fibrous properties and has been used for the construction of buildings and earthenware pots for at least 4,500 years. As a building material it is both flexible and strong while being resistant to fire. This meant that it was also a common material to use for things like oven gloves and firefighter outfits. Unfortunately, it was discovered to be toxic and as such has now been banned in Australia.  

Having an asbestos survey conducted in your old property is a good idea if you plan on rebuilding the interior. Knocking down walls can cause carcinogenic debris to spread throughout the house and even outside of it. This type of inspection will establish how much asbestos you have in the property and what level of risk it poses. The National Association of Testing Authorities, Australia (NATA) are the organisation that are contacted to test the level of toxicity while acting as the governing body for Australian asbestos services. 

With hundreds of testing laboratories in Australia, there are plenty of companies to choose from. Just be sure to pick a company that is accredited by NATA and appropriately licensed to ensure lawful and competent practice. If a contractor fails to have a current licence, then it means that they are not covered by insurance. Prices range from $25-$200 per individual sample, and an initial consultation can be arranged to recommend sampling sites, which should give you an idea of how much to budget.

With the proper asbestos services, any property can again become a great place to live.


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