Do you know the asbestos testing requirements in your local jurisdiction? In the state of Washington, if you read the LNI (Labor and Industries) regulations, the letter of the law requires everything, regardless of age, to be tested for asbestos prior to demolition or remodeling. This would apply to water and fire damage scenarios where materials such as wet drywall are being removed.
As a contracts you want to do your best to:
Test for lead and asbestos before you do any work
It must be understood that these regulations are not suggestions, they are the law and compliance is mandatory. Many restoration contractors are adhering to high standards and best practices, yet they encounter pushback from insurance representatives or clients who are unaware of these compliance factors. Homeowners, adjusters, and property managers will benefit from documentation that educates them on the responsibilities of all parties to adhere to testing requirements.
I was discussing this with a local mitigation contractor who was being questioned by a representative from the insurance company on a claim. It may be that this person has never heard of these laws or encountered a contractor charging for them, so we forwarded this citation from LNI in Washington,
“Building owners and construction contractors both share responsibility for asbestos testing when doing work on the building. A good faith inspection for asbestos, performed by an AHERA certified building inspector is required before any remodel, repair, removal, or other work that could disturb suspect materials.”
Educate homeowners and property managers on their responsibilities
Previously we wrote more extensively on this topic for an article in Restoration and Remediation (R&R) Magazine on the responsibilities of property owners, property managers, and contractors. You may find that content helpful in your efforts to educate various parties during an insurance claim.
For additional reference, see the picture attached to this article which was taken at our local landfill in Puyallup, WA. The landfill requires proof of clearance following asbestos testing prior to being able to dispose of worksite debris.
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