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Asbestos requirements for homeowners during home renovations

In the state of Washington there are requirements that apply to anyone who is performing remodeling or renovation work, including testing for asbestos containing materials (ACM). Remodel and renovation are terms that are often utilized interchangeably, the main distinction is that renovation or restoration refers to returning something to its prior condition, whereas remodeling is altering or updating the condition to create something new. If you experience water or fire damage in your home in Tacoma, you likely will file an insurance claim, and will be in contact with a contractor who will first assist you to assess the extent of the damages and mitigate the impact to your structure. It is essential that all moisture is properly addressed following a water damage event. Fire damages are often more involved as there is a combination of fire, smoke, odor, and water. Be sure to research that you are utilizing a qualified restoration contractor who has demonstrated the ability to successfully restore a property with your conditions.

Asbestos and home renovations in Tacoma

Before any damaged materials are removed, you should protect yourself as the homeowner by confirming the following:

  • In a fire damage event, have the fire department and the insurance company given you consent to proceed with removal. Read our article on fire damage inspections during an insurance claim for more information.

  • Homes older than 1978 are required to be tested for lead based paint.

  • All homes, regardless of age, are required to be tested for asbestos.

  • Get everything in writing, from the scope of work with your contractor to the approval by your insurance adjuster. Make it clear to all parties that you do not want any surprises when it comes to billing.

If you are having construction work performed in your Tacoma home or business, you will want to be aware of two entities in the state of Washington. First, health and safety are the jurisdiction of the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries (LNI). LNI is also the governing body for contractor licensing. You will want to verify that your restoration and insurance repairs contractors are licensed, bonded, and insured, and ask them if they are aware of the requirements for identifying hazardous materials prior to starting work. In Tacoma, the presiding body for air quality is the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency (PSCAA). The PSCAA has specific regulations, which apply even to homeowners performing their own remodeling or renovation work. These rules for homeowner renovation and asbestos containing materials include:

  • Conduct an asbestos survey

  • What to do if asbestos is found

  • How to file an asbestos/demolition notification

  • How to properly remove and dispose of asbestos

Protecting yourself from asbestos during a home renovation project

Washington Administrative Code (WAC) 296-62-07721 further clarifies that home and business owners, in Tacoma, Puget Sound, Pierce County, and throughout Washington state are responsible for the following, “Before authorizing or allowing any construction, renovation, remodeling, maintenance, repair, or demolition project, an owner or owner's agent must perform, or cause to be performed, a good faith inspection to determine whether materials to be worked on or removed contain asbestos. The inspection must be documented by a written report maintained on file and made available upon request to the director.”

Building owners and construction contractors both share responsibility for asbestos testing when doing work on the building. A good faith inspection for asbestos containing materials:

  • Should be performed by an AHERA certified building inspector

  • Is required before any remodel, repair, removal, or other work that could disturb suspect materials.

  • Completed prior to any construction, renovation, remodeling, maintenance, repair, or demolition project regardless of the age of the building.

Asbestos testing during an insurance claim repair

As a home or business owner in Tacoma, you are responsible to ensure the law is being followed on your property. You may think that asbestos is a thing of the past or is just something you see in commercials promoting lawyers who represent those who are suffering with terrible illnesses such as mesothelioma or asbestosis. There is still plenty of asbestos in existing structures as well as instances of it potentially being used in on-going production such as recent cases with Claire’s makeup as well as Johnson & Johnson’s talcum powder. While our individual exposure is not always at an increased level, asbestos is still being imported into the United States and there are several materials which contain varying amounts of ACM in them. The penalties, in addition to exposing your family and any visitors to your home or business, include a mandatory $600 per day fine if an asbestos good faith inspection is not performed. You are required to have an asbestos survey completed and:

  • Provide this survey to any contractors bidding on the project. Subcontractors, and all workers who will be working must also be provided the survey, and a copy must be posted at the work site.

  • If you have asbestos containing materials that could be impacted during the work, hire a certified asbestos contractor to abate the asbestos.

  • For more information on survey requirements, see WAC 296-62-07721.

Renovation and Insurance claim repairs in Tacoma

Our team at Advanced Restoration Environmental Services (ARES) takes pride in being a part of our local community and enjoys the opportunity to serve our clients in Tacoma. Water and fire damage leaves home and business owners with the feeling of losing control of their environment.

  • Insurance Claims Experts. ARES specializes in helping you navigate the nuanced process of insurance claims repairs.

  • FREE In Home Consultations. Our ARES team looks forward to meeting with you to discuss the unique needs of your restoration project.

  • Exceptional Service. ARES prides ourselves in our ability to create positive customer experiences.

  • Licensed & Insured. Our ARES team stands behind the quality of our work as we work to Give You Back Your Home.

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