Contractor Talk - Professional Construction and Remodeling Forum banner

1 - 12 of 12 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
11 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hello,

I'm preparing a quote for an investor/GC who wants me to gut an unoccupied single family house, built in 1930. The wallboards are a strange fluffy product - looks like asbestos I suppose. Likewise with the ceilings. He doesn't think it's asbestos. I think that's wishful thinking.

I'm not currently able to do asbestos work (training is in my two month plan).

I figure if it is asbestos, demoing it and casually dumping it will not be good for business. So I called a local asbestos inspector, and am awaiting a proposal from her. I asked her, what would happen had I not been suspicious of any of the materials (and they were in fact asbestos) and had gone ahead with the demo. She advised me that my primary issues would have been employee exposure (workers comp, civil suit, etc) and illegal dumping.

She mentioned the EPA suspect materials list, which includes drywall and ceiling tile. I haven't yet wrapped my head around all the NESHAP stuff, but I'm looking through it.

The landfills that I use don't require testing. And contractors around here seem to be pretty laid back about everything from OSHA to RRP. I mean, RRP is kinda ridiculous, IMHO. However, with respect to asbestos, I'm not eager to earn a reputation as a hack or environmental menace, get sued, etc. So I'm trying to do this right.

Some questions:
1. What do you folks do before you gut an ordinary looking place. Do you test anything? Do you test everything?

2. What do you folks do before you gut a place that contains suspicious looking materials. Do you test everything? Test nothing? Test only the suspicious looking materials? Refuse the work?

3. Is there a cut-off year for asbestos-related precautions, a la 1978 for lead paint?

4. Is anyone successfully (and legally) doing interior demolition work without also being an asbestos abatement contractor? In other words, is it hopeless to be legit and be profitable if I can't do asbestos in-house, considering EPA requirements for testing/removal/disposal? And to be clear, I don't as yet understand precisely what these requirements are.

5. What is your understanding of the law (or - humor me - common practice) as regards this job I'm quoting and others like it? I know, I know, I should ask my lawyer.

Thanks.
 

·
Registered
Remodel
Joined
·
28,709 Posts
I do no asbestos testing. There are landfills around here that actually take asbestos with no records, just a specific spot for dumping it.

I'm not into mesothelioma, so I have an asbestos abatement company do the removal if I believe there are asbestos containing materials. It's expensive.

You actually need RRP certification for a lot of major remodel jobs. Knowing how not to trigger it is extremely useful in smaller jobs.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,126 Posts
On the interior, nine times out of ten, asbestos rears its head in the popcorn ceilings, the attic insulation, or possibly in homes that have basements with the MEP's in there,(HVAC related ducting, boiler plumbing, etc.) If you plan on disturbing any of that, get it tested. CYA
I did an attic insulation R & R and had both the insulation and popcorn ceiling tested-$25 for each. Ceiling came back positive, insul negative. Prep your customer BEFORE you do any work, if suspect.
 

·
Registered
Butcher of wood and metal
Joined
·
6,669 Posts
With that old of a house you are not even suppose to do any work on it with a RRP certification. But I know a lot of guys do it anyhow.
 

·
Registered
Remodel
Joined
·
28,709 Posts
With that old of a house you are not even suppose to do any work on it with a RRP certification. But I know a lot of guys do it anyhow.
There is actually a lot you can do without triggering RRP regulations. I do a lot of wall and ceiling skimming, and that's fine. I leave the trim in place when I do it.

If you need to install an electric box, use a round box and hole saw if you can. Use a drywall router or jab saw, and you trigger the regulation if the surface is big enough, and it usually is. Hole saw, only the hole area counts, not the entire area of the ceiling or wall you're cutting into.

I stopped caulking trim in these houses years ago, pulling the caulk back out will trigger the regulation in most cases.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
Thanks for the responses everyone.

To be clear, I have my RRP certification. I just think the RRP methodology is tedious and I’ve never seen anybody actually do it according to the book. Taping windows, duct taping trash bags closed, vacuuming off the trash bags, miles of poly sheeting, etc. Since nobody (that I’ve seen) actually does it, it’s basically an under-enforced law that makes it too expensive to do it properly.

I was simply trying to illustrate the local attitude towards regulated stuff like worksite safety, RRP, etc.

I’m still waiting for a price from the asbestos inspector.
 

·
Registered
Demolition
Joined
·
20 Posts
I do mostly commercial work, but the rule of thumb is CYA.

We normally would get an environmental company to come in and do a complete ACM survey. They would come and take bulk samples, and provide a complete report.
Seeing as the house is unoccupied, they can be a bit more "destructive" (read: thorough) in taking samples.
Once the asbestos survey is complete, hire an abatement company to do the work per what is shown on the survey.

You may have to sign a "statement of responsibility" that you'll do your due diligence and test/report any suspect materials and deal with it accordingly if more are found during demo.

There may also be a 10-day notification to the local DEP prior to start of demo.

With experience, you'll be able to better recognize suspect ACM-containing materials in the future, but talk to the abatement guys to give you pointers on what to look for.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
547 Posts
“Yes your honor, Reggi did a house remodel last year without an asbestos permit, and i got sick, so I am suing him for half of his earnings for the rest of his life. Thats right your honor, he was in the process of getting his license so he was aware of the regulations”.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
Thanks to everyone who's contributed.

The asbestos inspection proposal came back, and it is pretty steep. Mo' steepa than I had guessed. And this is a smallish house. I doubt this particular customer would pay it over simply hiring someone else to do my work, but who knows.

I'm going to add it to my proposal and see if he bites.
 
1 - 12 of 12 Posts
Top