Asbestos is a mineral that was common in many building materials, and while it is not commonly used today, it can still be found in many older homes. For this reason, remodeling contractors should always be mindful of any materials that may contain Asbestos and involve licensed professionals when disturbance is necessary.
But why is that, and what potential hazards does this avoid?
Training: Asbestos Abatement is a very specialized trade that requires steps and procedures designed specifically to prevent cross contamination and increased exposure. Recognizing this, both State and Federal organizations (Including the Federal EPA and Pennsylvania State DEP) have put in place numerous laws and regulations to protect the public from improper Asbestos Abatement services. In accordance with these laws, all contractors performing Asbestos Abatement Services must be properly trained and licensed by The State of Pennsylvania.
Experience: Is your contractor listed on The State of Pennsylvania's list of licensed Asbestos Abatement Contractors? Does he specifically market this very specialized service? Does he list Asbestos Abatement on his business card and website? Is he properly insured to perform Asbestos Abatement services? If not, he is likely not committed to, nor can he legally perform, Asbestos Abatement services. A "Jack of all Trades" is unfortunately not going to be able to meet the needs of your project or be able to take the necessary precautions to complete it safely.
Equipment: Proper Asbestos Abatement requires specialized equipment and precautions to ensure the removal of the Asbestos containing material safely and without creating an environmental hazard. Performing Asbestos Abatement without the proper equipment, training, licensing, and insurance coverages is not only ineffective and illegal, but risks creating a much larger contamination. It is not just a waste of money, it is potentially dangerous and very costly.
Contamination: You may be able to see the Asbestos Pipe Wrap or Asbestos Floor Tile, but the Asbestos fibers themselves are invisible to the naked eye. If removed improperly, an Asbestos Containing Material can release Asbestos fibers into the air, increasing the existing hazard and potentially cross contaminating previously unaffected areas. The primary responsibility of an Asbestos Abatement company is to foresee and take steps to prevent additional contamination during the abatement process. The additional expense of a more thorough abatement, which may now also include previously unaffected areas, can add up to a significant additional cost that would not have been necessary had the abatement been performed properly initially.
Insurance: While your contractor is likely insured for the work he normally does under a General Liability Policy, what many people don't realize is that specialty services such as Asbestos Abatement require equally specialized insurance coverages. These insurance coverages are quite expensive and exclude work that your contractor is not licensed to legally perform. This means that, should he spread Asbestos to unaffected areas or otherwise create a hazardous situation, you will not be covered or protected.
Cost: It should go without saying that it is generally more cost effective to have something done right the first time, but for the sake of an example, take this remodeling project. Upon tearing out the flooring, it was brought to the contractor's and homeowner's attention that the flooring was Asbestos Floor Tile.
Disaster Blaster's estimate for Asbestos Abatement Prior to Contamination: $ 5,782.15
In this example, the homeowner spent nearly $ 6,500.00 in additional and unnecessary expenses, and the contractor placed occupants in what was a hazardous and very dangerous situation. As the contractor did not have insurance coverage for this contamination, the homeowner was forced to seek a judgement against the company in court at their own additional expense. As the homeowner is ultimately legally responsible for this hazard, they were obligated to have the issue resolved and properly abated at their cost regardless of the outcome of their lawsuit.
As you can see, Asbestos Abatement requires extensive knowledge, expertise, and State of Pennsylvania Licensing in order for a contractor to perform this work properly and legally. For this reason, it is strongly recommended to contract with an experienced Asbestos Abatement Company that is able to recognize Asbestos building materials and take adequate precautions during a remodeling project. Should you have an Asbestos concern, please do not hesitate to Contact Contact The Professionals At Disaster Blaster!
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