Many people have heard that the cancer-causing material called asbestos was used during construction, especially during the 1970s. However, just because asbestos was most popular for construction during the 70s doesn’t mean you won’t find it in domestic and commercial buildings today. As a business owner, you need to learn where you might find asbestos hiding in your building so you can keep yourself and your employees safe. Keep reading to learn about the most common areas to find asbestos and how to address it if you do find it.
In or On Walls
Since asbestos is fibrous, durable, and fire-resistant, it was often put inside areas that also required insulation. One of the most common insulated areas is in the walls of your building. However, workers also sometimes applied asbestos as the finish on the outside of walls as well. Asbestos inside walls is less cause for concern than any asbestos on the outside of walls. It’s easy to scrape against asbestos on the outside of walls, which can cause the material to flake off and become airborne. Breathing in that material is dangerous, which is why you’ll need to get rid of it when you find it. You’ll need to get any asbestos inside walls removed if you plan to demolish the walls.
Ceilings or Roofs
The durability of asbestos also means that many construction companies used it in ceilings or on roofs. You may find it in ceiling panels, under roof sheeting, or in textured ceiling coatings. If your building was updated since the 1970s, the ceiling or roof may look too new to have asbestos. However, many companies simply covered asbestos when they added new roof sheeting or changed the texture of a ceiling. This means the asbestos is still there, and if you want to make changes to the ceiling or roof, the substance is still a risk to you and your employees.
Asbestos is chemically and thermally stable, which made it a popular choice for insulation in various areas. You could find asbestos insulation around pipes, in loose-fill insulation, boarding beams and joists, near boilers, and more. While these areas are typically unseen and often difficult to reach, all pipes, insulation, and boilers need replacing eventually. If you plan to make any changes to your building, you’ll also reveal beams and joists. That means people may come in contact with the asbestos hiding there. Finding it and removing it before anyone can get hurt should be your utmost priority.
There’s a lot you need to know about asbestos removal, most importantly the official name of the process: asbestos abatement. The abatement process covers everything from inspection to cleanup. One of the most important parts of the process is sealing off the work area. This allows professionals to remove asbestos found in part of the building without endangering people or products in another part of the building. Once the asbestos is removed and cleanup occurs, your entire building is safe from potential asbestos hazards.
The three most common areas to find asbestos in your commercial building are in the walls, ceiling, and insulation. While you may not have closely inspected these areas when you bought or started renting your building, you should hire someone to inspect them to make sure they’re safe if you ever plan on changing them. To address asbestos, you need professionals to carry out the abatement process. Once that occurs, you can relax, knowing your building is safe.