Aussies Living Simply

Starting a berry business, but its next to a falling down asbestos shed.

Home Forums FOOD PRODUCTION, HARVEST AND STORAGE Fruit, Vines, Nuts and Sprouts Starting a berry business, but its next to a falling down asbestos shed.

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 22 total)
  • Author
  • #256846

    Do I pull the shed down before I start the patch and risk getting dust on the patch before I build it up?

    Do I leave the shed, which will fall at some point and hope for the best, but potentially lose a season if it falls when the plants are growing/fruiting due to the dust?

    Do I get the patch going, build up the soil, put in irrigation etc and pull the shed down at some point before the plants go in? With this, worried about asbestos dust contaminating the soil.

    I had a quote a couple of years ago to pull it down and it was $2400 (the roof and a few panels on the walls, lots of broken bits on the ground as it has been disintegrating for 20 years.) Its a lot of money I have to factor in to my start up costs. Just not sure what impact doing it at any of those times will impact on what I want to do with the only spare land I have to make money. I just want to get it right the first time. Any advice would be appreciated. 🙂


    It sounds highly dangerous to me gypsyoak, but I only know the bits about asbestos that we hear on the media. :sick:

    If it has been disintegrating for 20 years surely the area of the shed and surrounds would already be contaminated……I reiterate I am just a scaredy-cat “ordinary Australian” (don’t you just not like that expression!!!) commenting here. :S



    They say it is safe as long as you don’t touch it , but I would want it gone my self. My dad died from asbestos lung cancer and he had a shed made out of it and neighbours with it as well.

    Terrible way to die , I would get rid of it, I know that it would put me off buying from someone who had it on there property.

    Cheers Sue


    I am so sorry about your dad Freddbear. 🙁


    the sheds roof is intact, but sagging. But apparently it has been sagging for 30 years….

    the sides are made up of tin mainly and bits of asbestos. I think maybe there are about 10 bits of asbestos on the shed still. There are lots of big open areas on it where there is nothing.

    So… I have no idea about asbestos contamination. Does that mean the soil around it is unusable? We assume the previous owners have buried some if it somewhere because so much of it is missing…


    A lot of older houses have asbestos in them. They are just now removing it from the older schools. As far as I know, it is not a problem if still intact, but if it is breaking down it can be a problem.


    Perhaps the local council or DPI can be of help?


    When asbestos is removed it does more harm than good. I’d be inclined (if it were me – and I’m not you so don’t take my advice unless you are me, LOL) I’d impliment a more natural stratagy. When asbestos is removed it will just get put in someone else’s backyard (aka: landfill). What you need is something to contain the fibres and let it decay without breaking free should a part come falling down. I’d cover it in natural vines. Nothing edible, just a very thick growing vine. That way if parts come down, at least it has a layer of foilage to subdue the fibres.

    Living in the country as we do, there are many run down old sheds covered in vines. They are in various stages of decay, but the vines keep blazing along. You wouldn’t know if a part fell off because there’s so much foliage strangling it.

    Of course, then you have the problem if you sell the property at a later date, someone comes along and rips off the vines without knowing what’s underneath, and proceeds to remove the asbestos. Kind of like what you’ve stumbled across, suspecting former owners must have buried pieces around the yard. Tricky. :shrug:

    Here’s an idea – can you grow a massive green belt between you and the shed, and grow the berries on raised beds? Making them wicking beds means you have a layer of plastic between your profits and soil possibly contaminated with asbestos. Bring in fresh soil, or make your own compost to fill the beds with.

    You can do all sorts with raised beds too – they’ll save water use, concentrate nutrients and you can even attack stakes and put a removeable poly-structure to protect them from birds with netting, frost, with plastic or heatstroke with shade cloth. All of it money well spent too, reducing the possibility of losses due to unknowns.


    Forgot to bat for the other side too…at least if you went to the expense of removing the asbestos completely (a) you can claim it as a legitimate business expense (ie: pay less business tax or claim a loss as a primary producer) and (b) you gain the extra growing space should you need to expand at a later date.

    Make sure you check you can claim with a reputable source (accountant) or appliccable government department though.

    While in excess of two grand sounds like a lot of money, you stand to make an immediate claim after the first year of operation. Should you develop a good reputation as a reliable supplier, and then have to go to the expense of removing the asbestos, that’s all your hard work done on name-branding your business down the gurgler because you have to suddenly stop producing. Or worse, risk harming buyers health if you don’t address the issue.

    If you want to make it a viable concern in the future, start thinking how you can MAKE that investment back. It’s your business, be inventive, that’s half the fun of being in your own enterprise. :tup:


    I might ring the council tomorrow and see what they say.

    I was thinking of growing the berries in raised beds as the ground is essentially rock and clay. I might do the plastic underneath. I was going to use a poly tunnel to protect them from rain, but maybe I will make it a permanent thing. Actually, maybe I will put the whole thing on the other side of my property which is currently a goat yard….

    I have been so excited about this project, it was finally something that was going to work, I had researched it, gotten opinions from people in the know, had people offer to buy my product, I just hadn’t thought about this until today. It has taken 10 years for me to get to this point. gaaaaaahhhhhhh….


    sorry meant to add metu, your post is full of brilliant ideas. thank you.


    Like Metu this is a “if it were me’response.

    its only dangerous when cut, drilled etc when the dust and fibres become airborne.

    Pulling it down is simple enough, pair of disposable overalls with hood and dust mask. hose it to stop dust, pull it off and wrap in plastic, thats basically what you would pay for.

    Then you just need to work out what to do with it, I believe it is normally wrapped and buried. depends where you are and if you can simply take it to the dump.

    I would not get to hung up about it, every cyclone in the far north would see heaps of it dumped in normal landfill.


    I would not ring the council you will turn it into a big issue!!


    My problem with the 2 grand is getting it to begin with. As it stands it would take me a yr or so to save up that money. Hence my needing to make an income with what I have!

    My worry is that I will have it removed, but the area which I had set aside for the berries will be contaminated. I just can’t fathom how they would get rid of it all. I was going to rebuild the building with straw bales and turn it into a barn/storage area. There would probably be about 4m between the shed and the patch I wanted to use.


    Our council have an anonymous line you can ring about “environmentally sensitive” things. They encourage people to try and do things to make it better, but understand that people don’t want to come to the council because of the repercussions. I think it works better for the council too as they then aren’t bound to come and do something about it. At our place, our council technically would not be allowed to let us do anything due to the location of our property and the creek. Their options are to turn a blind eye, or to take us to court. Given that everything at our house was here when we bought it and has probably been unchanged since it was built, its one of those legacy agreements. We would only be improving the place so it would never stand up in court.

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 22 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.