The only sure way is to have it tested click here for Asbestos Testing. Basically, cement cladding containing asbestos was used in buildings from the 40’s right through to the late 80’s, when asbestos was no longer used in cladding.
Often known as fibrolite, there is generally very little risk with this product if it is still static on your walls or wherever, by keeping it in good condition with painting the surface is a sensible precaution. Having said that, you would not for instance, in a worst case scenario, have the cement board in an enclosed space (eg; your garage) and cut it up with a skill saw, spreading dust and fibres everywhere. Unless you were well protected with proper masks you would risk inhaling the dust, but also you would be leaving dust and fibres around loose in your garage with the potential to breathe in later.
The important thing in disposing of asbestos is to try and avoid breaking and keep that to a minimum. We have specially imported tools when suitable to use that minimise breakage which reduces the risk.
We would make sure the ground is well covered with plastic, before removing the cladding and load it into a skip provided by Waste Management, or if a smaller job, remove ourselves and take to a large skip at our premises. When removing it our contractors will try to avoid breaking it, but this is not always possible. The aim is to catch it all in our ground sheets so that we can remove it all if it does break. In the event of it breaking our team are wearing their protective gear. We would have it off your walls and quickly into the skip or a small job, into our vehicle and sealed in plastic and taken and loaded in the skip at our premises.
Not only suitable, our methods are fast, but we have imported specialized equipment which on suitable jobs will reduce the breakages to a minimum. After it is all removed you will be sent a clearance certificate sent by an independent inspector who has checked the standard of the work carried out for you.
A Word of Caution
You can do it yourself, but once you start removing it – and especially if you start breaking it - you start to expose yourself to the possibility of contamination, resulting in a health risk.
Also beware we often get called out to sites that unregistered people have attempted to remove themselves which end up with pieces of fibrolite scattered on the ground. If this then is reported by Worksafe, it will result in the site being closed down by them, resulting in a very expensive clean up. It only needs a neighbour or someone driving by who then phones the authorities. This whole process then becomes very expensive and holds up the whole project. It can also include having to hire earth moving machinery in order to remove contaminated soil and can sometimes take weeks.
We would advise a professional removal. If a small job and you have done yourself we can collect from your property and load in a large skip at our premises to go to the asbestos tip when full. See pick up service.