Talk to your contractor before starting a home renovation or demolition
Contractors are responsible for protecting their workers from asbestos exposure. If you’re a homeowner planning to reno or demo a home built before 1990, you have a responsibility too. Found in more than 3,000 pre-1990s building materials, asbestos can be hiding in plain sight. Breathing in asbestos fibres can cause serious health problems, lung diseases, and cancer. So before work starts, talk to your contractor to identify any asbestos in your home and have it properly removed, for the health and safety of everyone working on your project.
What is asbestos and why is it dangerous?
Asbestos is a naturally occurring fibrous material that was used in more than 3,000 building materials from the 1950s to 1990s.
When asbestos-containing materials are disturbed, intentionally or unintentionally, asbestos can be released into the air; and exposure to harmful airborne asbestos can cause serious health concerns for anyone working or living on your property.
This animation shows how asbestos fibres damage lung tissue and cause serious disease.
How do I know if I have asbestos in my home?
Unfortunately, it’s hard to know if you have asbestos in your home because it’s often mixed with other materials. However, if you are renovating or demolishing a home built before 1990, it’s likely that at least some parts of the home will contain asbestos. Asbestos is only harmful when materials containing asbestos are disturbed, so know where to look for it and how to remove it safely.
How do I test for asbestos and have it safely removed?
The safe removal and disposal of asbestos is a shared responsibility, and homeowners have a role to play. If you are renovating or demolishing a home that was built before 1990, there are two main steps you need to take to ensure the health and safety of everyone working on your project:
Identify asbestos-containing materials in your home
In order to properly identify asbestos in your home, you must hire a qualified testing company or asbestos surveyor. The testing company or surveyor will take samples of possible asbestos-containing materials in your home, and send them to a lab for testing. The surveyor will then provide you with a report of the location of asbestos in your home.
How do I safely remove asbestos in my home?
Once you have identified the asbestos-containing materials in your home, the next step is to have the identified asbestos removed by a qualified asbestos abatement contractor. Provide the contractor with the report from the surveyor to ensure that all of the identified asbestos-containing materials are removed. Once the work has been completed, the abatement contractor will provide you with a report confirming that all asbestos has been removed, and your property is ready for demolition or renovation.