When it comes to renovating an old building, failing to pay proper attention to asbestos inspection can have long-term consequences. London, Ontario’s police headquarters learned that lesson the hard way recently when it was announced that an additional $1 million will be needed to complete a renovation project that has already cost $34 million.
The project was completed four years ago but, as Deputy Chief Ian Peer explained, “the original estimates to do what we wanted to do were substantially greater than the amount of money we were actually given. We were not able to get the funds back then to do all the things we needed to do, so here we are some years down the road.”
One of the neglected tasks was asbestos removal. To save money, companies often perform asbestos removal on a piece-by-piece basis. Someone finds the hazardous material and it’s removed by the appropriate asbestos inspection and removal company. This is what happened with the London Police headquarters. The problem is that the expenses increase every time a new pieces of dangerous asbestos is discovered. Low and behold, the police are being dinged for an unexpected $1 million four years after the renovations were completed.
As Peer said, “it just begins to get to the point where it becomes more economically feasible to do the entire abatement. “
The London Police Department’s story highlights a valuable lesson: there is no “halfway” with asbestos. Just because it isn’t right in front of your eyes doesn’t mean it isn’t there. Businesses and homeowners don’t want to take a “cross that bridge when when we come to it” attitude with a material with fibres that can cause lung cancer and other life-threatening illnesses when released.
The best solution is to start any renovation project the right way: by doing a complete asbestos and mould removal or inspection. Not only will you make the building a safer place to be, you’ll save money by avoiding unexpected future renovations as a result of neglecting environmental threats in the first place.