In our post yesterday, we discussed the problem of improper asbestos removal from buildings during demolition and renovation. As with other toxic building materials like lead paint, asbestos tends to be most hazardous during renovation and demolition, because materials can become airborne.
As yesterday's post mentions, contractors and others who remove asbestos negligently (and without proper certification) can face criminal charges. Unfortunately, this kind of shoddy asbestos removal is more common than you might think. And while some contractors expose their workers and others to asbestos out of ignorance, others do it simply to save money.
Hiring a competent, licensed asbestos abatement professional costs a significant amount of money, and for good reasons. These men and women have the knowledge, equipment and expertise to make sure that asbestos-laden materials are demolished properly and contained securely. Proper abatement greatly reduces or eliminates current and future risks of asbestos exposure.
As an example of the added cost, a recent news report discusses a community redevelopment project underway in Tallahassee, Florida. The city purchased four buildings, intending to tear them down and build newer structures in their place. But after spending almost $2 million on the four buildings, an inspector found small amounts of asbestos. Safely removing it will add an estimated $25,000 to the cost of the project. The costs could have been much higher if more asbestos had been discovered.
In this particular case, the extra costs will almost certainly be paid and the asbestos will be removed safely. Unfortunately, greedy and dishonest contractors sometimes ignore the presence of asbestos, forego inspections and hire unsuspecting workers to handle demolition. They're counting on the fact that the effects of asbestos exposure often take decades to present as health problems.
If you need demolition or renovation work done, please have the structure thoroughly inspected and hire a reputable asbestos abatement professional if asbestos is discovered. Trying to save money now can lead to unaffordable costs in the future.