If your home or building was built before 1990, it may contain asbestos. When asbestos is undisturbed, it does not pose health risks. When it is moved, however, it can release small fibres into the air. When these fibres enter a person’s lungs, they can cause serious health problems, including lung cancer and mesothelioma.
To understand why asbestos was used so commonly, and what its potential health consequences are, we recommend reading the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety’s page on asbestos.
Before a home or building is demolished, it must be checked for asbestos, and any asbestos that is found must be removed. This article will help you understand what is involved in asbestos removal, and what your responsibilities are as a property owner, contractor, or employer engaged in demolition.
In Manitoba, your first responsibility is to inspect the property for asbestos if you suspect there may be asbestos. In Canada, many buildings built prior to 1990 contain asbestos. This means that if your building is older than that, there’s reason to suspect asbestos in at least some parts of the building, be it the insulation or the popcorn ceiling.
You can talk to your demolition contractor if you’re unsure, but an abundance of precaution is necessary when it comes to asbestos, and almost every building built prior to 1990 should be inspected.
The rules in Manitoba are pretty straightforward: any product suspected to contain asbestos must be tested for asbestos. Products are tested in a laboratory. If products and materials are not tested for asbestos but are suspected of containing asbestos, they must be treated as though they do contain asbestos and removed accordingly.
Asbestos removal must be handled by well-trained professionals who are skilled at mitigating the risks of asbestos. These professionals will use equipment and techniques that prevent the release of asbestos fibres. It’s important to understand that this isn’t just advice we’re giving you - this is in the asbestos removal requirements laid out by the Government of Manitoba.
You need professionals who are specifically trained in asbestos removal.
If your renovation involves any demolition, and there are materials suspected of containing asbestos in your building, you’ll need to have those materials checked for asbestos - and, if they do contain asbestos, you’ll need to have them removed by a professional.
This means that if you’re engaged in major bathroom or kitchen renovations, and your building was built prior to 1990, you’ll probably need someone to check for asbestos.
The list of building materials and products that can contain asbestos is staggering. Insulation, roof felt and shingles, fuse boxes, stucco (popcorn ceilings), outlets, flooring, and more can contain asbestos. Don’t assume there’s no asbestos just because you don’t have blown-in insulation!
Looking for a contractor who offers demolition services, asbestos testing, and asbestos removal? Call Winnipeg Demolition to request a quote from our experts.