Asbestos abatement rules and regulations are changing in 2020 for the state of Colorado. Many contractors, remodelers, and other professionals working in homes may not have heard about these cases yet. But, it’s becoming a pretty big deal across the state, and will likely result in changes to how we all do business. Namely, getting asbestos testing before remodeling work or demolition will become borderline mandatory in all cases, unless you want to risk massive fines. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment is holding a stakeholder meeting in April of this year to (hopefully) solidify what is going to happen in Colorado moving forward.
Asbestos Abatement Problems In Colorado
If you haven’t heard yet, here’s basically what happened. A contractor in Colorado began demolition on parts of a homeowner’s property. No asbestos testing was performed. Prior to all this happening, Colorado had in place regulation 8. Regulation 8 stated that asbestos testing must be performed if there is thirty-two square feet of drywall removed from a home. This was regardless of the year of the home, or any other conditions.
Side note: thirty-two square feet isn’t much. Virtually any demolition or even remodel job requires an asbestos test, according to regulation 8. Many contractors and remodelers simply ignore this rule because asbestos testing isn’t inexpensive, takes time, and is burdensome.
The contractor in this case continued demolition despite lacking asbestos testing, and the demolition resulted in a massive asbestos spill. The state found out, got involved, and the whole process became a big point of contention. In court, the contractor claimed that though regulation 8 does require asbestos testing in the event of thirty-two square feet of drywall removal, asbestos abatement rules and regulations don’t specifically state that testing is a duty of the contractor. They claimed that the homeowner is responsible for their own home and should have paid for asbestos testing prior to demolition. Therefore, the contractor claimed, the asbestos spill was the homeowner’s fault and responsibility.
Rules And Regulations Reviews
Upon review of Colorado asbestos abatement rules and regulations, it was found that the law does not specifically state who is responsible for asbestos testing. The law simply states that asbestos testing must take place. Therefore, it was ruled that the contractor was not at fault in this case.
Our guess would be that as these asbestos abatement rules and regulations meetings continue, the state of Colorado will determine that it will in fact be the contractor’s responsibility moving forward to have asbestos testing done. Homeowners hire professionals for their expertise. Most homeowners have probably never heard of regulation 8. They’ve probably never been told that asbestos can be found in popcorn ceilings, joint compounds, adhesives, etc. And they probably don’t know the dangers of asbestos to their family’s health. Just like they don’t know how to do a remodeling project, homeowners rely on professionals to do things right. Therefore, we anticipate that this kind of defense on the part of the contractor in this recent case won’t hold up in the future. But…
Asbestos Abatement Rules And Regulations Infractions
These kinds of issues come up fairly often in Colorado. In 2018, an unlicensed contractor in Littleton, CO failed to perform an asbestos test during the remodel of a family’s home. The spill happened in their kitchen and spread throughout the entire home. As the family learned the dangers of asbestos, they (understandably) panicked. The state of Colorado got involved, and the news covered the whole story. This was an especially bad case since the contractor wasn’t licensed. Which is an entirely additional problem.
Here in Grand Junction, CO, there was a major asbestos spill in apartments off 28 Road. A building rehabilitation project began without asbestos testing. Likely, the contractor wasn’t aware of regulation 8. An anonymous complaint brought the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment onto the scene. A third party performed asbestos testing, and it was found that a major spill had occurred. Asbestos contained in the building’s demolished material had been released into the apartment building’s common areas. This also, of course, caused alarm in the Grand Junction community. Residents of the apartment building were forced to evacuate so asbestos abatement could be performed. And the building’s owners could face substantial fines.
Lack Of Concern For Asbestos Testing And Asbestos Abatement
Talking with general contractors all around Colorado we are often told that they don’t hardly ever have need for asbestos abatement or testing. We are told that asbestos testing companies often hear the same things from contractors around Colorado. It seems that there is a lot of misinformation around Colorado asbestos abatement rules and regulations. The feel we get from most contractors and remodelers is that asbestos abatement is no big deal. People have, after all, been working with asbestos for decades. Yes, there are health risks, they seem to reason, but the chances are just too low to take seriously.
However, the state of Colorado feels differently. Most people aren’t aware of the number of lawsuits that occur on a yearly basis because of mismanagement concerning asbestos. Because of the risks inherent to asbestos, Colorado even keeps a list of enforcement history and regulatory violations for asbestos. Asbestos may not seem like a big deal. All the way up until someone dies, or until a company gets hit with a lawsuit. Health and money seem to bring the importance of a thing to the forefront of peoples’ minds.
Asbestos Abatement in Grand Junction, CO
Our goal is to help the community of Grand Junction, CO, where we’re located. We want to be part of the community’s education on asbestos abatement rules and regulations. Asbestos is a serious matter. People’s lives are truly at stake when it comes to their long-term health and safety. It may seem like an easy or reasonable thing to neglect Colorado’s regulation 8. After all, skipping an asbestos test saves money in the short term. Asbestos testing isn’t really cheap, per se. However, the price of paying large fines should an asbestos spill occur is far more costly.
We believe that with Colorado’s new focus on asbestos rules and regulations the contractor will be held much more accountable for spills and lack of testing. It’s likely that fines will increase, and perhaps state oversight will also increase, helping to ensure that the residents of Colorado are safe.
Our advice is to pay attention to these upcoming stakeholder meetings. We will continue to provide you with updates to asbestos rules and regulations. But if you aren’t regularly testing drywall or popcorn ceiling prior to demolition and remodel, we suggest that you begin to get in the habit!
*This post was written by Third Loft Marketing.