Residential buildings may contain asbestos in their walls, ceilings, floors, roofs, siding, HVAC systems, insulation, pipes and more. When asbestos-containing material is disturbed and improperly handled, tiny hazardous fibers are released into the air and may cause lung cancer and other illnesses. It’s important homeowners identify asbestos and have it properly removed before beginning remodeling projects.
The best way to determine if asbestos is in your home is to have an accredited inspector perform an asbestos survey.
If the asbestos-containing material isn’t broken, worn, damaged or disturbed, it poses little or no danger. Asbestos removal involves disturbing the material and possibly releasing asbestos fibers into the air.
DEQ recommends you hire a licensed asbestos abatement contractor to ensure asbestos removal is performed properly by trained professionals. Removing asbestos-containing materials properly requires special equipment and training. DEQ strongly recommends against repairing or removing asbestos-containing materials yourself. Improperly handling asbestos-containing materials could put your family and community at risk of exposure to hazardous asbestos fibers.
Prior to demolition of a residence constructed prior to 2004, you are required to hire an accredited inspector to conduct an asbestos survey to determine the presence of asbestos-containing materials. The accredited inspector is required to produce an asbestos survey report. If asbestos-containing material is identified, the friable (or easily crumbled) asbestos-containing material must be properly removed and disposed of by a DEQ licensed asbestos abatement contractor prior to the demolition. If nonfriable (non-easily crumbed) asbestos-containing materials are identified, they can be removed by any Construction Contractors Board (CCB) licensed contractor. The CCB contractor must submit a nonfriable notification form to DEQ, follow all work practices, packaging, and disposal requirements.
Note: Owner-occupants aren’t allowed to perform friable asbestos abatement for demolition projects as they can for renovation projects.
However, regulations allow homeowners to repair or remove asbestos-containing material in a house that’s their primary residence. If you choose to do your own asbestos abatement work, you are responsible for following all handling, transportation and disposal regulations. Asbestos-containing waste material requires special packaging, a completed asbestos waste shipment form (ASN4), and must be disposed of at a landfill permitted to accept asbestos waste.
You can’t identify asbestos-containing material simply by looking at it. Before beginning any renovation, you should hire an accredited inspector to conduct an asbestos survey of your home. To be safe, treat all suspect materials as if they contain asbestos until you get samples analyzed. You should confirm the presence of asbestos by having suspect materials analyzed by a laboratory. A DEQ licensed asbestos abatement contractor may have the ability to facilitate an asbestos survey for you.