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When installing cabinetry it’s important to ensure that any dust created is prevented from penetrating fittings such as drawer runners, hinges and locks. Any dust is a potential problem, but dust from natural or reconstituted stone bench tops is particularly abrasive and has been known to severely reduce the service life of some fittings – especially the rollers and bearings of drawer runners. The issue can lead to expensive call backs and rectification work needing to be carried out during warranty periods established under consumer protection laws.

Avoid dust in cabinetry hardware

Who is responsible?

Controlling dust when installing cabinetry is the responsibility of the person (or people) doing the work. Whether or not dust is controlled will depend largely on the procedures established with those undertaking the contract. 

This means that the situation is contractual in which it is expected that due diligence will be exercised to complete the job in a ‘tradesperson-like manner’ and that the work will be ‘fit for its intended purpose’. 

The chances of this happening will be improved when appropriate procedures are established among the people involved in the contract and adequate supervision is provided to ensure agreed procedures are followed.

How can you manage dust?

Before quotes and rates are finalised, appropriate procedures should be established with all involved to ensure the project achieves the desired result. This will provide operators and supervisors with a clear guide and prevent claims that certain work ‘wasn’t allowed for’.

The following should be considered in the case of bench top installations, in particular:

  1. All cutting and drilling for sinks, basins and tapware should be done off-site, if possible
  2. Scribing the bench top to the wall should also be done off-site if possible. If it’s not practical to work from templates and site measurements, cutting/grinding should be performed away from the installation site (e.g. in the yard) where dust can’t cause problems and can easily be cleaned up
  3. Where there is no alternative to cutting at the installation site, procedures should include:

    a. removal of all drawers and storage of them out of harm’s way
    b. masking of all drawer runners, hinges, catches, etc
    c. use of dust covers and drop sheets to prevent dust reaching unwanted areas 
    d. the use of cutting and grinding equipment with an inbuilt dust collection function, if possible
    e. use of a good-quality vacuum cleaner that can collect dust as it’s created (as far as safety will allow) and allow for easy clean-up afterwards. The vacuum should ideally be fitted with a High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filter
    f. removal of masking and ensuring all fittings are clear of dust (vacuum as necessary) and in good working order.
     

Final responsibility for the project outcome rests with the principal contractor (either the builder or cabinetry manufacturer/installer). If the principal contractor has taken all necessary steps to ensure appropriate controls have been used, they will be in a position to hand over the job knowing that the installation is clean and will perform to its expected service life.

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