The plot in the ongoing drama involving the federal government, workers and asbestos continues to thicken.
The saga began when workers at a federal tax centre building in Ottawa complained that they had worked on the structure for years – only to find out after the fact that it was contaminated by asbestos. The latest reports suggest that the Public Works department went so far as to keep documentation of asbestos concerns under wraps. It took a year’s worth of arguing with the federal information watchdog – the contentious point was whether or not the government is required to provide documentation from private contractors that it hires to manage buildings.
What About Renovations in Your Home?
The federal government may be able to distance itself from responsibility for sharing information on asbestos management to contractors (or not – and we hope not!) However, as a home and/or property owner, you have some very specific legal responsibilities when it comes to getting work done on a home where there is asbestos or asbestos containing materials (ACM).
If you are contracting out any repair, alteration or demolition work, as the owner of a property,
- You are responsible for finding and establishing whether “any material that is likely to be handled, dealt with, disturbed or removed, whether friable or non-friable, is ACM“.
- Once a detailed report has been prepared, the ACM must be removed before any demolition work can be carried out.
- That information – including the location and state of any ACM – has to be made available to the contractor and any sub-contractors.
- In the case of demolition, any ACM must be removed before the work can proceed.
There is one exception to the rule: if you as the home or property owner are doing the work yourself. Then, presumably, you accept full responsibility for what can happen.
BUT WHY WOULD YOU??
If your home was built before the mid 1980’s it almost certainly contains asbestos in one form or another. While ACM is intact, it is not considered a hazard but any repairs, renovations and demolitions can create friable or inhalable fibres. There is no safe limit of exposure to asbestos which can cause serious and even fatal lung diseases, including deadly mesothelioma. The only safe route is to remove all asbestos and ACM.
Safe – Not Sorry
Vigilance can help but the safest route is complete asbestos removal or asbestos remediation. If you suspect the presence of asbestos in your home, this is one situation where you don’t want to take matters into your own hands. Call the experts at GreenStream. At GreenStream, you can be sure that our licensed and experienced asbestos removal and asbestos remediation technicians follow established procedures to keep you, your neighbours and our own workers safe.
In the Toronto area contact GreenStreamEnvironmental.ca at (416) 818-9414. Contact us for a quote today.
Featured in Mike Holmes’ magazine, HGTV’s Income Properties, W Network’s Love It Or List It and chosen by Homestars.com as “Best Toronto Asbestos Removal Company” based on customer ratings and reviews, GreenStream Environmental Services are fully-certified, trusted and insured professionals in the removal and disposal of commercial, industrial, institutional and residential asbestos, vermiculite and mould (hazardous and non-hazardous). Providing emergency service 24/7/365 for all of Toronto and the GTA (North York, Mississauga, Markham, Brampton, Scarborough, Ajax, Oshawa, and beyond) GreenStream has over 40 combined years of experience serving clients such as the City of Toronto, the Toronto District School Board and many more. For a free estimate in Toronto, the GTA and Southern Ontario, call today at 416-818-9414. You’ll be glad you did.