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electical work in asbestos-fibro cladding

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  1. #1
    Apprentice (new member)
    Join Date
    Jan 2008

    Unhappy electical work in asbestos-fibro cladding

    Just bought a house - all the internal cladding and ceiling is old fibro which probably contains asbestos. Looking to relocate/add a few powerpoints, light switches/fittings etc., fairly basic bread-and-butter stuff. Questions for any electricians out there is how do you deal with fibro for these sorts of jobs? Can you use power tools for drilling, cutting holes etc? How do you deal with dust and disposal, and does the cost blow out relative to plasterboard?

    Any advice much appreciated - I've looked through all the asbestos forums but not much help

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2009


    No need to use power tools, the old flat blade screwdriver and hammer/pliers does the job.

  3. #3
    Lumberlubber Bleedin Thumb's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2006


    I would say that if you wanted to do this work properly you would have to bring in special licenced contractors with sealed overalls dust extraction equipment etc etc.

    In the real word...isolate the room with a plastic curtain, wear the disposable overall, a respirator with the proper filter dampen the wall with a squirt bottle and keep damp and have a vacuum cleaner with the best hepa filter running as you drill.
    It only takes one fiber! and the fibers are so fine that they will be suspended in the air and can settle anywhere in the house.. lets say on your pillow..or the babies cot.

    Really treat it as the dangerous substance that it is.
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  4. #4
    1K Club Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2007


    Any tool, regardless of what it is, that has any kind of motor (electric, petrol) is a certain "no" as far as working with this stuff is concerned.

    I quite regularly get a licensed asbestos removalist in to deal with this stuff at work. The cost isn't cheap but it's not as bad as you might be thinking. The last job took half a day and cost around $400 for one man. Another recent one required 2 people and took a few hours - about $700.

    Materials costs are low, there's not much to it apart from a bit of glue and plastic. Disposal in approved landfill isn't too expensive (at least not in Tas). So the cost is largely labour which of course includes their overheads (safety equipment, normal business expenses and I'd imagine that insurance is a significant cost in this industry).

    As one of the asbestos removalists I use has said, finding asbestos is like finding an unexploded bomb. Now, if you did find an unexploded bomb then you wouldn't start cutting holes in it with a grinder or simply cover it up and ignore it. You'd stop work and call someone who knows what they're doing to make the situation safe. It's the same with asbestos - it can be dealt with safely but it needs to be treated as the bomb waiting to go off that it really is.

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