A young family lost almost everything they owned and are $30,000 out of pocket after a DIY project exposed asbestos in their modern home.
Jase, Karla and their young children purchased their home five years ago, and just last month uncovered the hazardous material in their bathroom.
Jase said when he turned the water off to find a small leak, he decided to start undertaking some home renovation.
“So I pretty much tore it apart – cut, smashed, pulled the floor out, tore the walls out,” he said.
Karla said she began noticing a porous material drifting through the house.
“At the start I was just thinking, this stuff is really dusty, but then it started to get thicker and thicker and then I was like, oh my gosh, what if it’s actually asbestos?” she said.
Jase said even their three kids had been helping him with the renovation.
They were forced to leave the house immediately, and were unable to return for almost two months.
“We left this house on Sunday with just the clothes on our back and that was it,” Karla said.
“The kids didn’t have uniforms for school on Monday, we had nothing.”
The family lost all their clothing, shoes, the kids’ mattresses, blankets and even the kids’ toys.
Asbestos removal specialist John Limpus said finding asbestos in even modern homes was a common issue.
“The problem is the home renovators and builders, to save money, have clattered over the asbestos with gyprock or in a bathroom, for instance, take the tiles off and then retile over old asbestos,” he said.
Asbestos Diseases Foundation of Australia president Barry Robson said unlike commercial buildings, residential properties do not have a register that identifies asbestos.
In most cases, a pest certificate will suffice, which the experts say is not good enough.
“Even new houses these days should be checked for asbestos,” Mr Robson said.
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