Thursday, February 14, 2008

Answering a common question

Many of our clients over the years have presented the same questions and concerns over the presence of asbestos in thier home or office. We are hopeful that in creating a blog many of the most common questions associated with asbestos and the State of Colorado will be answered here at your fingure tips. Additionally, we are also interested the opinions of the general public concerning the hazards and required responses to this regulated material. So, with this in mind this original entry has been submitted to answer one of the most common questions that we generally receive:

Is there a possibility that my home or office has an asbestos floor, ceiling, wall, duct insulation, attic insulation, piping, or exterior siding or plaster coat?

If you are living or working in a building that was constructed prior to 1989 that has not been previously renovated, then the likelyhood of the presence of an asbestos containing material is good. Generally, if the material is in good condition and the location of the material is such that the material likely can remain free from harm we would recommend that the material be left undisturbed.

Is it alright to leave the asbestos in place?

This is a very common question from many of our customers. In our experience this really is dependent upon the circumstances. Typically if the material is considered to be in a good state, undisturbed, "non-friable", and in an area that is not consistanty accessed the opinion of most is "leave it alone".
However, we've seen a growing common practice of the removal of certain asbestos containing materials in the course of real-estate transactions whether commercial or residential. Many potential commercial property buyers would rather not deal with this sort of "liability" issue if they are invest into the property. First there is the "tenant" concern if the property is to be leased, second there is no telling where the regulatory requirements in the State of Colorado or other States may lead over the next decade. I can tell you this for certain; The regulatory requirements in dealing with this hazardous material has grown more increasingly stringent in Colorado and most other States, not less stringent.
Some home buyers have some of the same reasoning however, when you add children to the equation of exposure to this carcinigen we think that you've "up'd the anty" so to speak. In my opinion, if you have a friable asbestos containing material that is accessible to children although removal of the material may not be something that is required at least be prudent enough to keep it in an encapsulated or enclosed state. The next concern for a home buyer in the real-estate market for the oder nestalgic home that we all love is the expense of upgrades and renovation to the property. Asbestos is regulated stringently in the State of Colorado. Testing of suspect asbestos containing materials is required prior to any renovation or demolition activity in ANY structure prior to October of 1988. If asbestos containing materials are discovered the removal of the material will require notification to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

Cost revisions implemented by Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment

As of the 31st of January 2008, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment has implemented many changes to contractor licensing costs, training costs both to the student and to the training provider, permit costs as well as "owner opt-out" costs. In short, costs accross the board have gone up to conduct business in the environmental industry (specifically asbestos) in Colorado. These costs will likely have an overall effect on the costs of demolishing or renovating a property pre 1989 construction as well. These changes can be viewed at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment web page @

These changes in fees are a good indication of the Colorado Health Departments commitment to stringently regulate asbestos containing materials, certainly another example of growing regulatory stringencies.

Is my project one which requires a permit in Colorado?

The answer to this question in many cases is YES. If you have a quantity of asbestos containing material that will be affected by your project intent that is at or greater than the "trigger levels" that have been set by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment a permit, or a "Single family residential opt-out" will be required to have the material abated.
We have met soooo many property owners and contractors through-out Colorado that are still unaware of these requirements. Unfortunately when this is discovered by the regulatory agencies the required clean-up responses are far more expensive than having properly notified and responded to your project in the first place.