Usually, just because a building is built later than 1980, it is already assumed that it must be free from asbestos. This is a huge misconception. Although these newer buildings might contain a lesser amount of asbestos, it is often overlooked that these buildings might also consist of asbestos-containing products such as surfacing materials, spray-applied asbestos-containing material (ACM) for fireproofing, insulating, and decorate.
When renovating or demolishing especially older buildings, certain municipalities might require contractors an asbestos survey, which might include the year the building was constructed, the prospect use of the building in the future, if the building is private or public property, and the plans you include to do about it.
But firstly, why should we be concerned with asbestos?
Asbestos is a Greek word which means “inextinguishable.” With its strength and thermal properties, asbestos became a common building material used for residential buildings and public establishments. After centuries of asbestos usage by humans, it was only around early 1900’s when the health risks caused by asbestos was recognized. These health risks include mesothelioma, asbestos-related lung cancer, asbestosis, and pleural thickening. In fact, asbestos is recognized as the world’s most deadly industrial toxin. Yes, that’s how lethal the said material is. And the fact that older buildings (built before 1980’s) could make matters worse. These are some of the reasons why working with asbestos during renovation or demolition of a building must be closely monitored, as well as its future importation, supply, and use.
Do I need an Asbestos Survey?
Before deciding to get an Asbestos Survey, let us first identify its purpose. What are Asbestos Surveys really for? According to manual of Health and Safety Executive, the reason for an asbestos survey is to aid in monitoring amounts of asbestos in your area. It can provide detailed information with regards to the location, level, and circumstance of asbestos-containing materials (ACMs); to assess the severity of damage in the ACMs and whether immediate solution is needed; to turn the information gathered from the surveys into an asbestos register and asbestos plan of the buildings; and lastly, to help identify all asbestos-containing miscellaneous that must be take care of prior to renovation or demolition.
With the stated purposes above, do I need an asbestos survey? Might or might not be a mandatory procedure depending on your state. Some states might require the survey and inspection before renovation and demolition, building conversion from private to public use or vice versa, and even minor renovations related to electrical, mechanical, or plumbing. Additionally, the survey might also be needed not only be needed for the buildings but also if you are about to deal with any materials specified by the work place Safety and Health (Asbestos) Regulations like cable penetration insulation, gasket, etc. Although your city might not require you to undergo such test, proceeding to the survey can still be very helpful to ensure that your plans will carry on smoothly and safely