Removal of debris: a commonly overlooked cost

When a property is destroyed, one of the most significant costs an organisation will incur is for the removal of debris. Many organisations drastically underestimate this expense and leave themselves underinsured.

The loss of a Church property, whether by natural disaster or other causes, is devastating. Whether it's a Church, parish hall, school building or an office, getting back to work as soon as possible is a priority. Ensuring adequate funds are allocated to clear the site and make it safe for rebuilding is essential to enable this process to run smoothly.

Unfortunately, many organisations underestimate just how much it can cost to clear a site after a major incident. In 2014, CCI worked closely with a client who had a serious fire destroy multiple buildings on their property. The removal of debris costs, which they discovered included the removal of asbestos, ran to more than eight times the figure allowed in their policy, leaving them significantly underinsured.

The use of asbestos in Australia has only been completely prohibited since 2003 and it is therefore highly likely to be present in many Church properties. The safe removal of asbestos is an important consideration when calculating costs associated with the removal of debris. While asbestos alone does not pose a health risk, it can be extremely dangerous if it becomes broken, is deteriorating or becomes disturbed.  Asbestos is costly to remove and requires assistance from a licensed specialised services provider to do so, to ensure health and safety is maintained and no contamination of the land or neighbouring properties occurs.

Estimating the cost for removal of debris, especially when asbestos is present, can be difficult and is best done with the assistance of a specialist valuer and asbestos assessor. Your Account Executive is happy to answer any questions you may have.

Things to consider:

  • Do your emergency plans for natural disasters incorporate procedures for the removal of debris?
  • Do you have an asbestos register outlining the location and condition of any asbestos on a site?
  • Does your sum insured for removal of debris include accurate costs for the removal of asbestos?
  • If you use Hazardous Chemicals or Dangerous Goods has the safe removal of these materials been considered and costed?
  • Is your sum insured for removal of debris regularly reviewed taking into account increases in costs for services?
  • Have you considered that in some cases the removal of debris may need to be done by hand increasing the time and therefore the cost of works?
  • Have you considered that after a major natural disaster access to contractors may be slow and difficult impacting the amount of time it takes to resume operations?  

Practical help

CCI has a number of useful publications on this and many other topics available on this site or by calling risksupport on 1300 660 827.

They include: 

Surviving Bushfire Fact Sheet

Surviving Cyclone Fact Sheet

Surviving Flood Fact Sheet

Managing Risk In Catholic Organisations – Conducting a Risk Assessment, Developing a Risk Treatment Plan Guide

Business Continuity Management Fact Sheet

Asbestos Hazard

Like to know more?

For more information about removal of debris please speak to your Account Executive or call 1800 011 028.


Please Note: CCI recommends that only qualified and licensed asbestos removalists be engaged to safely remove and dispose of asbestos.


Posted: 5 February 2015

Topic: Property Protection

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