This is a simple question with a not so simple answer.
If you’re reading this then you likely have the inkling that you might be in one of the 90% of Australian homes built before 1990 unlucky enough to be manufactured with asbestos materials. If that’s the case, then you may also be aware of the fact that asbestos is no laughing matter, and is known to cause serious health concerns such as asbestosis — a scarring of the lung tissue — and can even lead to mesothelioma — a cancer of the lung which can be fatal. In fact an alarming statistic shows that even today, there are 4000 asbestos related deaths per year in Australia alone.
But enough of the fear mongering, I’m not here to scare your pants off, just to make sure that you’re aware that asbestos is something you don’t want to mess with. So with that being said, let’s take a look at how much it’s going to set you back to get that awful stuff removed.
How do I know if I need to get an asbestos inspection?
As previously mentioned, if you’re home was built before 1990, there is quite a high chance that you are one of the many ill-fated souls to have found themselves stuck with a whole lot of dangerous and unwanted material that would be better off residing on the dark side of the moon…if the moon would even take it.
Unfortunately though, when it comes to identifying asbestos, unless you’ve built your home with your own bare hands and are 100% certain that no asbestos was used in the construction of the property, then the only way to know for sure is to get an asbestos inspection. This is because you can’t tell if any given material contains asbestos simply by looking at it, which means that the material in question will need to be scientifically tested in order to know for certain what you’re dealing with.
So, how much does asbestos removal cost?
I wish I could give you a plain and simple answer, but the truth is that there is no set price for the removal of asbestos and it is going to depend on a number of different factors. I could just say that getting your asbestos removed is going to cost you anywhere from $1,200-$4,000, which is a reasonable estimate… but it’s not particularly useful because depending on where your property lies within this host of variables, you may end up paying less than this — or potentially more. Sorry. Unhelpful, I know.
Asbestos removal cost
As mentioned above, the amount of money you will be paying for the removal of asbestos is going to depend on a number of different factors.
Certain factors that need to be taken into consideration when it comes to asbestos removal will involve how much asbestos is present, where the asbestos is located, the current state that the asbestos is in, and what type of asbestos is found in the home… and it doesn’t quite end there. This is why there is no cookie-cutter approach to the overall cost of removing asbestos. I realise on the face of it, this might seem like money-grabbing, but it is essential that all of these factors are taken into consideration. The level and complexity of the job at hand is going to determine the number of team members needed, the necessary tools used, and the safety measures that need to be taken.
What factors are involved?
Where the asbestos is located:
Asbestos can be found in all sorts of places — fun, right? Asbestos can be found lurking in fences, roofing, ceilings, floors, sheds, and even soil — even your poor garden can’t escape it! So with this in mind, the cost of asbestos removal can vary dramatically depending on the level of preparation and safety precautions that need to be taken. For instance, the removal of asbestos that is externally located (i.e. found on the outside of a home) such as on the eaves of a roof or within a fence, is going to require far fewer safety measures than asbestos found within the home. This is because internally located asbestos poses a greater risk of contamination of the surrounding area that needs to be taken into account.
Amount of asbestos:
One of the biggest factors that will determine the cost is the overall volume of asbestos that can be found in the property. This is because the amount of asbestos there is to remove will dictate just how big a job it is and exactly how many hours will need to be spent removing it.
Type of asbestos:
Depending on the type of asbestos you have, specific techniques will need to be employed in order to remove it, with some being more time consuming and labour intensive than others. Yep, that’s right — as if asbestos wasn’t bad enough as it is, it also comes in all different shapes and sizes, just to make our lives more difficult. So, for example, if you’re “lucky” enough to have large chunks of asbestos then this is going to be a lot cheaper to remove than asbestos that comes in the form of loose dust particles.
Is the asbestos easy to get to? Believe it or not this is going to play a part in the overall cost of the removal process because there may be extra costs associated with gaining access to affected areas that are more tricky to get to. If there are obstacles or structures in the way then these may either need to be removed prior to the actual asbestos removal, or it could mean that additional hours will be required to bypass them in the first place.
Are there ways to cut costs?
Let me be frank, it’s never going to be a good idea to find ways of removing asbestos on a budget. That’s kind of like asking if you can cut corners when trying to remove a poisonous snake infestation living under your floors… it’s not that it’s impossible, it’s just that you might want to avoid trying at all costs. Although asbestos removal companies will vary somewhat in their removal costs, it is strongly recommended that you stay wary and perhaps even avoid quotes that seem way too good to be true. If someone says they will perform a full asbestos removal for a cost that seems significantly cheaper than average, there is a chance they may not be fully qualified or officially licensed to take on such a job. If they are, they may instead be taking shortcuts which can result in you and your family’s health being put at risk.
If you’re wondering if maybe this is something you can do on your own, I would cease that wondering right away if I were you. This can be a seriously dangerous procedure and is highly recommended that you do not overestimate your DIY capabilities in this case. I would love to say that you’re handy work in knocking together that patio decking and weekend bathroom reno is enough to qualify you, but I can’t. In fact Do-it-yourself asbestos removal is considered so dangerous that some states and territories have even made it illegal.
So, this is one best left to the professionals.
So, at the end of the day, there will be many factors that determine how much you need to shell out for asbestos removal, but the cost should be the least of your worries. The most important thing is that if you suspect there could be asbestos lurking in your property you should firstly get hard proof by having a professional asbestos inspection, then from that point on, take the necessary steps towards getting it expertly removed and taken far, far away. Your health, and the health of your family is not worth gambling on.