Are you the proud owner of a new home in which you plan to do remodeling work? Your needs have changed over the years and you consider a major redevelopment of your home by abolishing some walls? All these dreamed plans, as exciting as they are, have some essential construction steps to bring your project to a healthy conclusion, while limiting the expensive surprises that could compromise your project.
In which components?
Did you know that residences built before the 1980s are likely to contain asbestos in some of their material components? In fact, asbestos is a natural mineral fiber today recognized as a dangerous carcinogen attacking the respiratory tract that can lead to premature death (lung cancer). Lack of laboratory advances in the era before the 80s, by its thermal priorities, its fire resistance and its compatibility with the chemicals of the various mixtures to which it was added voluntarily, asbestos was formerly recognized as a high-performance element in the construction field. Mostly visible to the naked eye, this undesirable could slyly be found in your original plaster components such as: decorative moldings, original internal walls plasterboard slats and some finishing materials in tiles. Asbestos is also present in some types of roofing shingles, vermiculite insulation in attics, even at the plumbing level with the types of sealant or insulation put in place at the time.
Your contractor's role
Thus, depending on the year of construction of your project, you may be constrained by worker health and safety standards, to perform an asbestos test. Entrusting your renovation project to a general construction contractor will significantly reduce your responsibilities and procedures to follow in the event of contamination of the home. Delegating the asbestos test to your general contractor, you will not only benefit from a better coordination of your work within the same team, but you will also avoid significant additional costs if the execution of the work would require greater asbestos removal due to lack of direction from you before the start of your project.
A protocol to follow
As a first step, samples will be taken from the elements affected by the renovations. Then these samples will be analyzed in an independent laboratory in order to obtain a precise verdict. Investing in the analysis of different surfaces that may contain asbestos is essential because it could save you money on asbestos removal installations and procedures. Once the contaminated area is well identified and quantified, the specialists will carry out decontamination work meticulously equipped with the necessary equipment according to assessed risk levels: low, medium and high. Obviously, the higher the level of risk, the greater the installations and precautions. It would no longer be a simple standardized filter mask, but the establishment of temporary airtight lockers with or without shower and a negative air pressure machine. No matter what level of risk your project faces, your contractor and relevant experts will be able to inform you of the different options available to you in a timely manner.
Be aware that asbestos is not a health hazard if it is not handled, cut or stirred, if it is well covered and your materials that can contain it remain in good condition. Now it’s up to you to approach the expertise of your choice to materialize your dreams in your new living space.