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Remodeling and Asbestos Testing Requirements

In the State of Washington all remodeling projects that may disturb materials that could contain Asbestos require an AHERA inspection.

Before authorizing or allowing any construction, renovation, remodeling, maintenance, repair, or demolition project, an owner or owner's agent must perform or cause to be performed, a good faith inspection to determine whether materials to be worked on or removed contain asbestos. The inspection must be documented by a written report maintained on file and made available upon request to the director.

(A) The good faith inspection must be conducted by an accredited inspector.

(B) Such good faith inspection is not required if the owner or owner's agent is reasonably certain that asbestos will not be disturbed by the project or the owner or owner's agent assumes that the suspect material contains asbestos and handles the material in accordance with WAC 296-62-07701 through 296-62-07753.

(iii) The owner or owner's agent must provide, to all contractors submitting a bid to undertake any construction, renovation, remodeling, maintenance, repair, or demolition project, the written statement either of the reasonable certainty of nondisturbance of asbestos or of assumption of the presence of asbestos. Contractors must be provided with the written report before they apply or bid to work. (iv) Any owner or owner's agent who fails to comply with (c)(ii) and (iii) of this subsection must be subject to a mandatory fine of not less than two hundred fifty dollars for each violation. Each day the violation continues must be considered a separate violation. In addition, any construction, renovation, remodeling, maintenance, repair, or demolition which was started without meeting the requirements of this section must be halted immediately and cannot be resumed before meeting such requirements.

Basically Washington State LNI requires anyone doing remodeling to identify any asbestos that could be impacted. You can assume suspect materials are asbestos and treat them accordingly; if your certain that no asbestos is present (with testing) or will be disturbed, you can prepare a written statement of non-disturbance; sample suspect materials following AHERA sampling protocol as listed below (40 CFR 763.86).

Q: Is the only way to be certain that Asbestos is present or not present is to have lab testing?

Pretty much, but if you have a project that is only going to impact wood 2x4’s, plywood, glass, and aluminum (as an example), you know none of those are suspect ACM, so you can create a written statement of the reasonable certainty of non-disturbance. If there are materials that COULD contain asbestos that could be impacted during a project, then you must either assume they DO contain asbestos or sample them and send them in for lab analysis.

Q: Does Concrete contain Asbestos?

It sure can! Read this article from the Concrete Association on Asbestos and concrete.

Types of Asbestos

There are a set of 6 fibrous minerals that are collectively known as asbestos. These include chrysotile, amosite, crocidolite, tremolite, anthophyllite, and actinolite. Asbestos is often also referred to by its color, such as white, blue, or brown asbestos. The different types of asbestos are:

  • Chrysotile – The most commonly used type of asbestos, Chrysotile is also commonly referred to as white asbestos. It is the only asbestos in the serpentine family, and its fibers have a curly structure. It was used in a range of materials, including gaskets, brake pads, roofing materials, cement, and insulation.
  • Amosite – Like the remaining types of asbestos, amosite is part of the amphibole family. It is also commonly referred to as brown asbestos. It was used in thermal, plumbing, chemical, and electrical insulation, as well as cement sheets, lagging, tiles, and insulation boards.
  • Crocidolite – This asbestos has the thinnest fibers, which makes it readily airborne and easy to inhale. Crocidolite is also often referred to as blue asbestos and was commonly used in ceiling tiles, fire protection, water encasement, and spray-on insulation. This form of asbestos is far more brittle than other types, which can result in decaying materials and the release of fibers.
  • Tremolite – This type of asbestos is strong, flexible, and heat resistant. It can be woven into cloth, where it was used to create fireproof clothing. It was also used in paints, sealants, and roofing materials.
  • Anthophyllite – This type of asbestos is one of the rarest, which has resulted in limited use. It has been used in products containing minerals, such as talcum powder. Whilst it has still been linked to asbestos-related diseases, it is amongst the least hazardous of all the types.
  • Actinolite – This type of asbestos was found in numerous forms, ranging from brittle to fibrous. It was used in fireproofing, gardening, insulation, and concrete. It has also been found in drywall and children’s toys.

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