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Do I Need An Asbestos Inspection?

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When renovating or demolishing an older building, you may find that you need an asbestos inspection. Federal, State and certain local municipalities may require a regulatory inspection based on a few things. This includes the age of the building, the future planned use of the building, if the building is public or private and whether you are renovating or demolishing it.
Why Is Asbestos Such A Concern?

Asbestos was once a common building material used in residential, commercial, industrial and public buildings. It is fire-resistant, heat-resistant and sound-absorbing. This made it desirable for use in fire-retardant coverings, roofing, flooring, insulation, pipe insulation and even lawn furniture.

Unfortunately, asbestos proved to be hazardous to human health. When inhaled, it can cause fatal illnesses, including malignant lung cancer, mesothelioma and asbestosis. The number of people diagnosed with mesothelioma every year numbers between 2,000 and 3,000. The true extent of the problem is unknown because millions of people have had exposure to asbestos for decades. And the symptoms of mesothelioma may not show up for 50 years or more after exposure.

When Is An Inspection Mandatory?

Regulations can vary a bit from state to state. Let's use Texas as an example.

According to Texas Asbestos Health Protection Rules, particularly §295.34 (c), a mandatory asbestos survey is required before any renovation or dismantling of a public building, a commercial building or a facility.

  • Public buildings undergoing renovation or demolition must have an asbestos inspection done before authorities will issue the permits. The same goes for commercial buildings, including those used for manufacturing or industrial purposes.

  • The age of the building is another factor used in determining whether a building requires an asbestos survey before renovation or demolition. Any structures built before asbestos building products were completely phased out must have an inspection. For buildings built later, the building's owner can submit a statement from an engineer or architect indicating no asbestos products are present.

  • The future or prior use of a building can also trigger an inspection. If an owner is converting a building from or to public/commercial use, an inspection may be required.

  • Even minor renovations related to electrical, mechanical, or plumbing issues can trigger a mandatory inspection due to the friable nature of some asbestos materials. If a building is structurally unsound, an inspection may not be required for safety reasons.

Asbestos is just one environmental hazard that a property owner needs to be aware of. If you have any need for environmental services, contact us here at Talon/LPE. We provide services throughout Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado, Texas, and New Mexico. 

photo credit: avlxyz via photopin cc

Topics: Asbestos, Construction Services