Asbestos abatement is often a part of property restoration, but it must be performed per state laws. At Restorerz, our qualified professionals help with content restoration and provide many services to make properties habitable again. However, other specialists may be required, especially if asbestos is present. Here, we’ll look at what asbestos is, why it was banned, and California’s requirements for asbestos abatement, certification, and testing.
A Background on Asbestos
Asbestos is a fibrous silicate material derived from chrysotile, crocidolite, amosite, anthophyllite, tremolite, or actinolite. It was commonly used between 1928 and 1977 to make lighter building materials stronger. California experienced significant growth during that time, so many structures contained asbestos. The mineral can break into small airborne particles and get trapped in the lungs. It can cause severe respiratory problems and is a known carcinogen.
The ban on asbestos hasn’t eliminated the problem. Buildings constructed after 1980 can still contain it if imported products contain harmful minerals. Agencies throughout California require surveys to check for asbestos-containing material (ACM) before starting any building renovation or demolition. These inspections are also required at the federal level.
Requirements for Asbestos Abatement in California
Asbestos is found in ceiling, stove, and pipe insulation, floor tiles, ductwork, roofing materials, and drywall joint patching compounds. There are strict regulations for removing it. Here’s a closer look at California’s asbestos abatement requirements:
Only a Certified Professional Can Handle/Remove Asbestos
To work on an asbestos project, an employee must be registered by the Asbestos Contractors’ Registration Unit. They can be certified at the Contractor/Supervisor, Building Inspector, Project Designer, or Management Planner level. Each type has different course requirements and must be renewed annually. Certification testing must be completed at a state-certified training facility.
The California Code of Regulations requires certification for anyone who performs asbestos-related work on projects with over 100 square feet of ACM (with a concentration above 0.1% or greater). An individual must also be registered as an Asbestos Consultant or Site Surveillance Technician with the Division of Occupational Safety and Health. These requirements are overseen by the Cal/OSHA Asbestos and Carcinogen Unit.
Testing for Asbestos
Asbestos testing must be performed by a licensed company. If air and surface samples tested in a laboratory contain asbestos, abatement is required. Although some asbestos-containing materials can be identified visually, accredited personnel can use specialized equipment to detect and report on the presence of asbestos.
Regulations on Asbestos Abatement
There are four recognized classes of asbestos operations. No matter what class applies to a site, workers must wear respirators and protective clothing (in multiple layers). The classes of asbestos abatement include:
- Class I: Removal of asbestos from furnace and ductwork insulation.
- Class II: Removal of asbestos-containing floor tiles, wallboard, sheeting, roofing, and other construction materials.
- Class III: Involves repair or maintenance work, but doesn’t permit the dry cutting of asbestos-containing materials.
- Class IV: For employees performing maintenance or custodial work but who don’t disturb the material.
Workers in all classes of abatement operations must protect themselves. However, those in Class I and Class II environments must operate in an enclosed and regulated area. Asbestos-containing materials must be soaked in water to limit airborne fibers and be intact to be removed.
Additional rules on abatement include:
- Workers must have somewhere to change clothing and equipment to prevent contamination.
- Barricades and warning signs must be placed around the affected area.
- Asbestos abatement areas must be ventilated and contained with plastic tenting.
- Waste materials must be double-bagged, tied in color-coded bags, and disposed of at an approved site.
- If clothing is contaminated, it’s considered hazardous material and must be disposed of accordingly.
Additional testing is required after asbestos abatement is completed. An area is considered safe only after an inspection finds no remaining asbestos particulates. A final abatement closeout report is issued. All required documents must be submitted to an independent third party that provides project oversight.
If your property is affected by a flood, fire, or other disaster, we can help salvage your personal items and valuables. Content restoration helps preserve your belongings and memories. Also know that after a disaster, other outside services, such as asbestos abatement, may be required. We can help determine if other professionals are needed and coordinate with them. To request help, feel free to call us 24/7 at (323) 402-6156.