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House Flipping and Asbestos Requirements

Attention: Property Owners and real estate investors who “flip” houses and other properties Keep asbestos pitfalls from plaguing your real estate investments by doing the following BEFORE any construction, demolition, or remodeling work begins:

  • Learn the basics about asbestos, including where it could be present at potential investment properties and how it can cause harm.
  • Ensure, as the owner of the property (or as the building owner’s agent), that an EPA-certified, AHERA building inspector conducts a required good faith inspection (GFI).
  • Provide a copy of the GFI report, or a written statement that meets requirements, to any contractor or subcontractor before they are hired; and post the report or statement on site so it is always visible to any individuals involved in repairs, renovations, demolition, or any removal of materials that could contain asbestos.
  • Use only certified asbestos abatement contractors to remove any asbestos on site. They are specially trained to follow all applicable safety requirements, including job notification to L&I, employee safety training, and certification, use of appropriate personal protective equipment, proper work practices, and clearance testing.

Projects without a GFI, or where asbestos has been improperly removed, are at risk of immediate stop work orders, citations, and substantial penalties for both property owners and contractors. Doing your part to ensure asbestos is reliably identified and disclosed enables others to take the required actions to stay safe from harm while working with or around asbestos and prevents asbestos from being spread to vehicles, homes, and other workplaces.

When Should You Test for Asbestos?

According to the Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act (AHERA), asbestos testing is required whenever you’re disturbing certain building materials. The list includes all building materials except for glass, metal, and wood.

Who is Authorized to Perform Asbestos Testing?

Homeowners who are carrying out the entire asbestos abatement process can use home kits to test the building materials but must meet the same State requirements of an AHERA survey.  But, if you want to hire an asbestos testing company, the provider needs to be AHERA certified in order to carry out the inspection. Hiring a professional is highly recommended they have mandated training hours to perform collecting these samples.

When is an AHERA Asbestos Building Inspector required to perform the testing?

Asbestos Surveys for renovations and demolitions must be performed by an AHERA Building Inspector as defined under 40 CFR 763 except for surveys associated with the renovation of an owner occupied, single-family residence. For the renovation of such residences, homeowners may perform their own asbestos surveys. However, if an owner-occupied single-family residence is to be demolished, an AHERA Building Inspector must be employed for the asbestos survey. Owners of rental properties must hire an AHERA inspector.