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Managing Asbestos Within Rental Properties

Web Admin - Friday, January 22, 2016

Managing Asbestos Within Rental Properties submitted by Johanna Wells with Property Doctors, 2016 Denver NARPM PM Conference Vendor Chair

Deterioration from water, fire, smoke and mold damage increase the friability of asbestos within building materials, which can be found in vinyl floor tiles, glue that attaches floor tile to concrete or wood, some linoleum, plaster, joint compound, popcorn ceilings and some forms of paint, posing a danger when it becomes disturbed.

The management of asbestos is primarily governed by three regulators in Colorado and increase responsibility for owners and property managers to manage the risks involved with exposure to asbestos for residential rental housing, their employees, tenants and contractors:

  •  Occupational Safety and Health (OSHA) Code regulations.
  •  The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
  •  Colorado Department of Health and Environment (CDPHE).

Deterioration of building material that has been affected by water, fire, smoke or mold damage increases the friability of asbestos containing material (ACM).  ACM becomes a danger when disturbed through sawing, scraping, sanding or drilling during demolition or renovation.   

Regulations:  There are five broad categories that the EPA regulates (inspection, notification, removal, training and disposal).

  1. Inspection - It is the responsibility of the owner/property manager to have a property inspected/tested by an accredited building inspector to determine if ACM is present prior to any demolition or renovation of a rental property where 32 square feet, 50 linear feet or a 55 gallon drum of any friable ACM material will be removed.  A decontamination shower is required for certified asbestos removal personnel when 10 square feet of ACM will be demolished or removed.

  1. Notification Requirements - At least 10 working days prior to any demolition or renovation, it is the responsibility of the owner/property manager/certified contractor to provide written notice to the State of Colorado and the tenants when ACM is found in building materials that will be removed.

  1. Removal of ACM - Only disturbed ACM requires removal, owners, property managers and certified ACM contractors must reference the NESCHAP regulations and consult with the EPA and CDPHE officials prior to conducting renovation or demolition.

  1. Handling - EPA requires an accredited person trained in the regulations (applicability of regulations, notification requirement, material identification procedure, control procedures, waste disposal, reporting & record keeping and asbestos hazards and worker protection) to be on site when ACM is stripped, removed or disturbed during renovation or demolition.

  1. Waste Disposal - During any demolition or renovation activities, no visible emissions are allowed to the outside air during the collection, processing or transporting of any ACM.  It is the legal responsibility of the owner/property manager or certified contractor to properly package, transport and dispose of the wastes without posing any unnecessary risk to the public.

In some cases, violations, penalties, written warning or Notices of Violation are issued to owners who violate notification requirements.  EPA may impose up to $25,000 per day per violation for other offenses.

Final notes, regulations require that managing asbestos be an integral and ongoing part of managing rental property.  To avoid liability issues and fines use accredited asbestos building inspectors for testing and certified asbestos removal companies to protect your employees and tenants from risk of asbestos exposure. The information provided is not legal advice and should be used for informational use in making an informed decision when dealing with asbestos. 

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