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Asbestos and Renovations

Thursday, June 10, 2010
Asbestos and Renovations

Asbestos and RenovationsIf you operate a building built before 1980, you may have asbestos-containing materials that must be managed. These may include floor tiles, mastic, pipe insulation, fittings on fiberglass-insulated pipes, transite panels, roofing materials and others. If the building was built before 1973, there may be surfacing materials such as spray-applied fireproofing, acoustical plaster and other friable materials.
Whatever the types of asbestos materials in your facility, there are several steps that the building manager or facility director can take to prevent asbestos management from becoming an “asbestos problem” prior to or during a renovation project.

Facility Asbestos Survey

Asbestos and RenovationsAn asbestos survey is essential to identify and assess asbestos materials during the early planning of a renovation project. The asbestos survey report is then a tool to use for the operations and maintenance program, hazard communication, coordinating with contractors and planning renovations. The asbestos survey should be completed by an EPA-certified and state-licensed asbestos building inspector. The survey should identify all asbestos-containing material, including friable materials such as pipe insulation, fittings, tank insulation, fireproofing, and acoustic plaster, as well as nonfriable materials such as floor tiles, mastic, transite panels, exterior siding, etc. Quantities and conditions of accessible asbestos materials should be determined, and the surveyor should note if there might be concealed asbestos materials above ceilings, in pipe chases, under carpets, etc.

Hazard Communication and Contractor Awareness

The locations and conditions of asbestos materials should be communicated to facility maintenance and custodial staff, and to contractors who may work in the areas containing asbestos materials. Personnel should be able to recognize asbestos-containing materials, know how to prevent exposing themselves and understand what to do if damaged asbestos is discovered in the workplace. Custodial staff should be aware of procedures for maintaining asbestos containing flooring materials and cleaning up small amounts of asbestos debris.

Planning Renovations

Consideration of asbestos is an important aspect of planning mechanical or architectural renovations. Plan to remove asbestos before performing other demolition or construction in the area. Be sure to have enough time in the schedule for a two-week advance notification to local, state and federal authorities; the actual abatement; clearance sampling; and demobilization of the abatement contractor.

Please contact Dan Bruun, CIH at 610.524.5525 ext. 17 to discuss any question you may have regarding asbestos management planning.