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Unlicensed roof cleaners contaminate neighbourhood

02 April 2013 Steven Cross

The Office of Fair Trading in Queensland has reminded both property managers and the general public about unlicensed tradespeople after an entire suburb was contaminated with asbestos.

A pair of travelling conmen have caused thousands of dollars in damage after cleaning a roof in the northern suburbs of Brisbane.

Workplace Health and Safety Queensland head Dr Simon Blackwood said the men used a high-pressure water cleaner, which exposed the asbestos in the roof.

“Many older Queensland homes built or renovated prior to 1990 have roofs made from ‘fibro’ or ‘super 6’, which contain asbestos,” Dr Blackwood said.

“High-pressure water cleaners should never be used to clean these types of roofs, as this increases the risk of exposure to airborne asbestos fibres. It is also illegal.

“The cost of decontaminating the neighbourhood ... will be more than $10,000.”

Office of Fair Trading executive director Brian Bauer said this incident highlighted the danger of dealing with travelling conmen.

“Itinerant traders often lack the proper qualifications and don’t do their work with due care and skill,” Mr Bauer said.

“There are a number of ways to spot an itinerant trader, and it’s vital residents are aware of the extra rights they have when they are approached door-to-door.

“Itinerant traders usually ask for cash payment upfront, although it is illegal to take payment for door-to-door service contracts over $100 within a 10 business day cooling-off period.

“Residents should also be wary of traders with no business address or those that can only cite a post office box, email address or mobile phone as their contact details.

“Anyone with information that could assist in locating or identifying these itinerant traders should contact Office of Fair Trading.”

Unlicensed roof cleaners contaminate neighbourhood
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