Demolition and Recycling

The word ‘demolition’ brings to mind images of a crane with a large ball tearing through an old building, or
a perfectly executed implosion resulting in a pile of rubble and massive dust cloud. But these days, the
emphasis is not on how quickly a structure can be demolished but on resource recovery, and demolition is
being replaced by ‘deconstruction’.
Gone are the days when the only option was to ‘crunch and dump’ where a house, office block or warehouse was simply knocked over with heavy machinery and taken away to landfill. Sometimes this may still be the best option, however with a growing emphasis on resource recovery, recycling and re-use of materials, deconstruction enables a greater amount of material to be recovered in a manner which can then be re-used, either in a similar form or treated or re-manufactured into other usable products.
For an average brick veneer dwelling or “Queenslander” up to 90% of the total structure may be able to be
recovered. Items recovered include bricks, concrete, timber and steel which are the most reusable products.
Fittings such as doors, windows, shelves, light fittings, plumbing, kitchens, gates, hot water systems, etc. can also be recovered. If you are planning a building or renovation project, why not check out your local
demolition or second-hand yard or look for quality reusable products such as timber to create a striking
feature in your home or office.
Of course, all deconstruction work should only be undertaken by a licensed professional. If you are planning a project, please ensure you engage a licensed demolition contractor and make sure you check their qualifications, experience and insurance.
If you are concerned about your project containing asbestos material, you should also check that your contractor is a licensed asbestos removalist or you may need to engage a specialist contractor to do this part of the job for you.

To check to see if a business holds a valid Licence to perform demolition work, you will need to contact Workplace Health and Safety Queensland (WHSQ) via phone on 1300 362 128 and speak to an operator or send an email via WHSQ website ( and click on contact us (on the top right hand side of the page). Please ensure to provide the name of the business under which they would have applied for a licence such as legal name and/or trading name as based on the information provided you will advised if the business hold a valid demolition or not.

The Future

Hundreds of thousands of tonnes of construction and demolition resources are recovered from the waste
stream every year in South East Queensland. Opportunities exist to recover, re-use and add value to these
materials for incorporation into new structures or public works, or for re-manufacture into export
South East Queensland is recognised as the fastest growing region in Australia and an opportunity exists to
develop the already significant resource recovery sectors, the upstream industries and end-users of these
quality materials, as well as provide opportunities for a range of service providers


In Queensland there are a number of laws relating to building and renovating and there are specific laws
designed to protect the health of the general community, particularly in relation to asbestos.
There are very strict regulations and safety standards which apply to the removal, handling and disposal of
asbestos material and persons engaged in this type of work are required to be licensed (A Class licence or
B Class licence) if handling or removing more than 10m2 of asbestos contaminated material. Home
renovators may undertake asbestos related work if the area is less than 10m2 (refer, however strict requirements apply in relation to disposal – asbestos contaminated
material cannot be placed in a Council home wheelie bin or put out for Council kerbside cleanup.
There are two types of asbestos - bonded and friable (loose). Bonded asbestos consists of a bonding
compound (cement) combined with asbestos to form a solid material with the asbestos fibres bound tightly
into the material. This is also known as ‘fibro’ or ‘AC sheeting” but there are a number of other products
under a variety of names which also contain asbestos.
Friable (or loose) asbestos is not bound within a product and is more susceptible to becoming airborne. It
is not commonly found in domestic houses, but may be found in old domestic heaters, sprayed asbestos
ceilings, stoves, hot water systems, thermal lagging and fire protective clothing. It should be noted that,
after time, even bonded asbestos products may become friable.
Some of the common places where asbestos may be found in and around your home include:
  • Corrugated asbestos roofing
  • Wall sheeting
  • Ceiling sheeting
  • Backyard sheds, outbuildings (roof, ceilings and walls)
  • Electrical meter board
  • Wet areas (bathrooms, toilets) including wall and ceiling lining and under floor tiles
  • Lining above windows and doors
  • Eaves
  • Hot water piping/lagging
  • Sheeting under floor tiles
  • Insulation in heaters and stoves
  • Fire rated doors
  • Sheeting used as garden edging or footing boxing
  • Carpet underlay.
In general domestic circumstances, undisturbed or unbroken asbestos is not dangerous.
However, if you are planning an extension, renovation or other building project around your
home, office or warehouse – even if it is just sanding and painting - we recommend you
contact a licensed asbestos removal contractor or an asbestos consultant for advice and
assistance. Also see the Asbestos Removal Checklist below.
Helpful information may also be found at:
Queensland Health
Workplace Health and Safety Queensland 

Asbestos Removal Checklist

1. Identification – before you start any extension, renovation or building project around your home,
office or warehouse, and if the structure was built prior to 1990, contact a professional who can
identify if asbestos is present.
2. Licences – make sure you engage only an appropriately licensed asbestos removal contractor.
Ask to see either:
  • Certificate to perform prescribed activity with the Type of Work specified as Asbestos Removalist
  • (also known as an A class licence), or
  • B class licence.
Please note a B class licenceholder is only permitted to work with bonded asbestos products. An A
Class licenceholder may work with both friable and bonded asbestos products.
3. Insurance – check that your contractor holds public liability insurance with asbestos inclusion and ask
to see a certificate of currency for the insurance policy. You may also wish to see evidence of their
WorkCover insurance.
4. Safe Removal Control Plan – ask to see this Plan which will detail the contractor’s process for
removal and disposal of asbestos from the site.
5. Disposal – the safe disposal of asbestos is strictly governed by the Department of Environment and
Resource Management (DERM). Ask to see the contractor’s or asbestos transporter’s documentation.
6. Clearance Certificate – obtain a clearance certificate from a qualified person other than the person
who undertook the asbestos removal work.

© Demolition & Asbestos Industry Association (Qld) Inc
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