How to avoid unexpected costs during your renovation

Cost-Efficient Renovation Strategies

Whether it be on an industrial, commercial or residential scale, certain precautions typically need to be assessed prior to building modifications.

Unexpected finds such as asbestos or other hazardous can be detrimental to the project’s budget and can delay progress instantly.

In this article, we follow on from our previous discussion in regard to management of asbestos in the workplace and examine pre-project planning strategies to ensure your property renovations are delivered on time and budget.

How to avoid unexpected finds…

Preparation and site assessment are essential to any demolition or refurbishment work. This pre-planning method would identify any (potential) asbestos or other hazardous materials risks. The following steps should be followed when performing any refurbishment and/or demolition works:

Step 1: Site assessment

Occupational hygienists or asbestos assessors will conduct a site assessment of the areas that will be refurbished or demolished. In particular, the following would be considered in such an assessment:

  • Items that could be a fire or explosion risk
  • Any toxic or hazardous chemicals
  • Debris that could hinder the demolition
  • Any materials that have the potential to be toxic (such as asbestos)
  • Potential risks to surrounding environments, including surface water.

It should also be noted that it is a legal requirement (all around Australia) to determine whether asbestos is present prior to a demolition on a workplace site (i.e. where it is likely or whether it is known – e.g. for those buildings constructed prior to 31 December 2003, which is the date of the total ban on asbestos in Australia).

Step 2: Identification of asbestos and/or hazardous material risks

A more intrusive assessment will need to be completed to confirm the presence (or absence) of asbestos risks present within the building. This gathers a great understanding on what potential risks may be discovered during the future works. Under Victorian Occupational Health and Safety Regulations 2017, this assessment is called a Division 6—Demolition and refurbishment where asbestos is present and is required prior to any refurbishment/demolition works being carried out on-site (a similar requirement exists in other parts of Australia).

The method that is always at the top of the hierarchy of control is elimination. Therefore, eliminating a risk entirely should always be the aim when undertaking risk control. This may involve, for example, contacting environmental consultants to remove asbestos risks (i.e. by facilitating the process of asbestos removal).

Step 3: Removal of Asbestos Materials

Asbestos abatement is performed by a licensed asbestos removal contractor and this ensures the removal process is completed in accordance with State regulations. An independent asbestos hygienist is appointed to supervise the removal process and ensures all relevant (including administrative and engineering) controls are in place throughout the process.

Helia EHS specialises in providing project management and supervision services for all types of asbestos removal works. We can ensure that works are carried out in accordance with regulatory requirements, provide NATA accredited air monitoring services, along with clearance certificates upon completion of the work.

It’s crucial that you understand the significance of discovering asbestos (or other hazardous materials) and how dramatically this can impact your demolition project.

If you wish to learn more about these assessments, please contact us for more information here.

We’re here to help with any issues that you may not be aware about in your property portfolio.

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