If you live in an older house, there's a chance you might have asbestos in some of the building materials. It would be most likely to be found in insulation or ceiling and floor tiles. Having asbestos in these products should not present any risk to you, but if you do any remodeling, it could become a problem. Removing these items through demolition could cause asbestos fibers to be released into the air, which could present health hazards, since asbestos is a known carcinogen that can cause lung diseases. Before doing any work yourself or having it done, you should have an asbestos test done.
Testing for asbestos is not really something you can or should do for yourself. It needs to be done by a contractor that is licensed to test for asbestos. For an asbestos test, the testing company will take samples of areas of your home where you want to remodel. This will involve cutting very small pieces out of walls, floors or ceilings to sample the materials. If asbestos is found during the testing, you will need to have a licensed asbestos remediation company remove the substance before any remodeling can take place. Failing to do this is not only unsafe, it also can lead to code violations. Once the asbestos has been removed, it is safe to proceed with your remode.
Asbestos testing itself is safe, and it doesn't take that long. Though it does add costs for you, it is absolutely something that is necessary when an older home is being remodeled.
Learn more about asbestos testing in Sydney.