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Discovery Inspections

250-713-4811

ASBESTOS IN YOUR HOME?

WHAT IS ASBESTOS?

Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that resists exposure to fire, sound, water, and chemicals. It is composed of millions of fibers, which bind together to create a light yet virtually indestructible material. Asbestos is mined from natural deposits around the world. Once removed from the ground, it can be processed and developed into a large number of products.

Before 1990, Asbestos was commonly used for insulating buildings and homes against the cold weather and noise. It was also used for fireproofing. Industry, construction and commercial sectors have used asbestos in products like: 
 
1. Vermiculite
2. Drywall Mud Compound
3. Ceiling Texture
4. Vinyl Floor Tiles/Sheet Vinyl
5. Shingles
6. Exterior Siding
7. Pipe Wrapping
 
The mere presence of Asbestos in a home or a building is not hazardous. The danger is that Asbestos materials may become damaged over time. Damaged Asbestos may release Asbestos fibers and become a health hazard so the best thing to do with Asbestos material that is in good condition is to leave it alone. If you’re planning to renovate or demolish a house built prior to 1990, as a homeowner you must plan for Asbestos testing and proper removal. 
 
While an inspection specifically for asbestos is outside of the scope of a residential home inspection, a home inspection is one  way to find out if there are signs of Asbestos and an inspector will usually be able to point out some of the more typical issues of concern. Usually this will include vermiculite insulation, white HVAC duct tape, and popcorn ceilings. If an inspector does report signs of the presence of Asbestos, they will usually recommend further evaluation by a licensed professional who can test and remediate the hazardous material if needed.
 
 

WHAT ARE THE HAZARDS OF ASBESTOS?

Renovating or demolishing houses containing asbestos products can release asbestos fibres, which are extremely fine and can stay in the air for hours. Breathing in asbestos fibres may cause serious health problems, including lung disease and cancer.

Asbestosis is the name given to scarring and stiffening of the lungs caused by inhaling asbestos dust over many years. It makes breathing difficult and may lead to fatal diseases such as pneumonia, plural thickening, and heart disease. Exposure to asbestos can also cause a type of lung cancer known as mesothelioma, which is a rare cancer of the linings of the lungs and abdomen. 

Asbestos- related diseases usually develop many years after the person has been exposed to asbestos. The risk of developing these diseases increases with the amount of asbestos in the air you inhale and the length of time you are exposed. Smokers are at an increased risk.

 

WILL A HOME INSPECTOR TEST FOR ASBESTOS?

As per the Standards of Practice & Scope of Inspections of The Home Inspectors Association of BC, a home inspector shall inspect readily accessible, visually observable, installed systems and components of a residential building using typical fixed operational controls and report identifiable deficiencies of specific systems and components. This means that they will document any signs of Vermiculite Insulation and may even be able to point out other building materials that are likely to contain asbestos. However, anything that requires invasive inspection or testing for asbestos should be done by an AHERA Certified Hazmat Inspector and cannot be performed by a home inspector during a residential home inspection. 

What is an invasive inspection you ask? The Invasive Inspection typically involves moving items, cutting holes into areas to gain access, and cutting out samples of suspected asbestos containing materials for laboratory testing. This would need to be done by a certified Hazmat Inspector and an appropriate laboratory. If you require asbestos testing by an AHERA Certified Hazmat Inspector, we are very pleased to be able to provide this service through Discovery Inspections and welcome you to call our office (250.713.4811) at anytime to find out more. 

 

 

 

I AM PLANNING ON RENOVATING MY HOME – WHAT NOW?

When a home is built before 1990, it is understandable that you would want to update it and add your own personal touches. It is important to remember that the Homeowner is responsible for the health and safety of any workers on their property, and as such it is important to have a qualified professional inspect the site and identify any asbestos that may be disturbed during the renovation. If asbestos is found, the law requires that any remediation or removal is completed by a qualified abatement contractor. A qualified person must also certify that the worksite air is safe, following the completion of the asbestos removal and a ‘Notice of Project’ must be submitted to WorkSafe BC for all asbestos work. 

Once you have identified the asbestos-containing materials in your home, the next step is to have it removed by a qualified asbestos-abatement contractor. Make sure the contractor you use is registered, insured, and in good standing with WorkSafe BC so that you can be assured that they have the knowledge, experience and equipment to safely remove the asbestos.

During asbestos removal, you may or may not need to be out of your home, provided that the proper controls are in place, and depending on the amount of work required and the affected rooms. 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 “asbestos-safe” and ready for demolition or renovation.

Identifying and removing asbestos is the right thing to do — not only to ensure the health and safety of those doing the work, but also that of you and your family.

 

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