WHAT IS ASBESTOS?
Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that was widely used in building materials for its durability and intrinsic fireproofing characteristics. Asbestos is still used today in some products.
Exposure to asbestos has been linked to cancer and other respiratory diseases, which is why federal, state and local regulations exist-to protect public health from uncontrolled disturbances of asbestos-containing products.
DO ASBESTOS RULES APPLY TO MY PROJECT?
If you are involved, directly or indirectly, with altering a structure, regardless of its age, in any way, your project is subject to asbestos regulations. This includes wrecking, razing, leveling, dismantling or moving a structure or component of a structure. Home remodeling projects are included, such as re-roofing, re-siding, carpet/tile removal, window replacement, new furnace installation, etc
WHAT IF I’M BUYING A HOME?
We find that most home buyers do not test or asbestos as part of their due diligence when buying a house and here is why. If you are buying a house older than 1980, you can assume it probably contains at least some asbestos. If you are not planning a renovation, your risks of exposure are generally low, though there are a few exceptions.
If you are planning a renovation, you can assume you need to have a budget for lead and asbestos identification and remediation and just put it in your budget. If you have time to do this evaluation before buying the house, that is great. The more data up front, the better. In hot markets, home buyers often have a limited time to complete their inspections.
So, if your old house is in good condition and you are not planning any renovation work, you will need to determine if you want to test for asbestos. During our inspection we will look for materials which may contain asbestos and may recommend you have it tested – especially if we have reason to believe that visibly damaged pipe/duct insulation or old building materials are present and damaged.
However, your risks of exposure are much greater if you are remodeling an old house. Then, you should have a thorough evaluation done by an industrial hygienist or environmental lab prior to demolition. The cost to eliminate asbestos can be very expensive due to the methods required for disposal.