Questions and Answers about Removing Asbestos

I’m starting a renovation project and am not sure if there are hazardous materials present, what should I do?

Please do not start your project without consulting a qualified person to complete a hazardous materials survey, this is mandatory and regulated by Worksafe BC.


Is it safe to have any asbestos in my home?

Generally yes, but it depends on the condition and if the material is undisturbed/contained, if the material is damaged or exposed then in some cases simply touching the building material can cause the fibres to suspend in the air.

I have started my renovation project and have found asbestos?

Always have the building materials tested prior to disturbance. If you encounter new materials stop work and until they can be assessed.  A qualified professional will survey the work area for potential asbestos containing material and have  samples analysed for asbestos, lead, or other materials at an accredited lab. The hazmat survey and report are required before work can start.


Asbestos cannot harm me because of my age and the long latency period before it can be harmful?

Asbestos fibres can remain in the area if not properly decontaminated, potentially exposing anyone who may enter the area for long periods afterwards.

My home was built after 1990 so there is no risk of exposure?

Occasionally asbestos containing materials have been found in structures built after 1990. If your home or business was built before Dec 31 1990 it is a requirement to have a survey completed for asbestos before work begins.


I’m only moving my home and only require a survey of the basement can you assist?

We recommend a survey of the entire home with abatement to follow, in the move process there is risk that any hazardous materials not removed may contaminate the home.


I’m only renovating my kitchen or bathroom does a survey of the whole home need to be completed?

No, a hazardous materials survey can be customized to the scope of work for your renovation project (to include any areas that will be disturbed by the work) and we will specify the area of the survey in our report.


Should I be concerned about the exterior of my home containing hazardous materials? Roof etc?

Yes, home exteriors may contain asbestos. Disturbance can contaminate an entire neighborhood if proper abatement procedures are not followed.


What is encapsulation?

Encapsulation is the application of a material with a sealant to stop it from releasing fibers.


What is asbestos? Asbestos is a natural silicate mineral that comes from the earth.

Asbestos is the Greek word for miracle mineral. It was considered a miracle mineral because it will not burn or freeze and has a tensile strength stronger than steel.


Should I take my own samples?

Qualified individuals should collect samples to ensure relevant sample material is obtained and to avoid potential exposure, precautions must be taken even during sampling. There is a complex process that consultants use to determine the number of samples(functional areas), which materials need to be sampled as well as where specifically the sample needs to taken from. See WorkSafeBC Asbestos Hazards for Homeowners


How do I know if there are hazardous materials present?

Some materials are generally assumed to contain asbestos (example: vermiculite and asbestos tape/fiber on HVAC systems, boilers, etc). Only a laboratory analysis by a certified laboratory will determine if hazardous materials are found and if they present a health hazard to you.


What should I do If I need to have hazardous materials removed?

Please call Canadian HAZ-MAT Environmental at 250-891-8611 or another qualified specialist. We can provide free cost quotations for the removal of asbestos containing materials.