Have your home tested for asbestos before a reno or demo
Asbestos exposure is the number one killer of workers in B.C., with harmful asbestos fibres found in over 3,000 household materials. As a homeowner, you need to get your home tested for asbestos before a renovation or demolition project. This will help ensure the health and safety of everyone working on the project — as well as your own and your family’s health and safety.
What is asbestos and why is it dangerous?
Asbestos is a mineral that was used for fire protection and insulation against heat and noise in more than 3,000 building materials from the 1950s to 1990s. When asbestos-containing materials are disturbed, asbestos fibres can be released into the air. Exposure to airborne asbestos can cause serious health issues for anyone working or living on your property.
Asbestos exposure is the number one killer of workers in B.C. and was a contributing factor in 61 work-related deaths in 2022, or about 33 percent of all work-related deaths in the year.
How do I know if I have asbestos in my home?
It’s hard to know if you have asbestos in your home because it’s often mixed with other materials. However, if you are renovating or demolishing a home built before 1990, it’s likely that at least some parts of the home will contain asbestos. Newer homes can also have asbestos if they were built with older materials, so it’s important to hire qualified contractors that know where to look for it and how to remove it safely.
What do I need to do to get asbestos safely removed?
You have an important role to play in the safe removal and disposal of asbestos and protecting everyone’s health and safety in a renovation or demolition:
Hire a licensed asbestos surveyor
The surveyor will take samples of possible asbestos-containing materials in your home, and will send them to a lab for testing. They will then provide you with a report of the locations of asbestos in your home.
Hire a licensed asbestos abatement contractor to contain or remove the asbestos-containing materials
Provide the contractor with the report from the surveyor to ensure that all the identified asbestos-containing materials are removed. Once the work has been completed, the abatement contractor will provide you with a report confirming that all asbestos has been contained or removed, and your property is ready for demolition or renovation.
Anyone you hire to deal with asbestos in your home must be licensed to do that work in B.C. If you hire unlicensed contractors, you are putting workers’ health at risk, as well as risking your own and your family’s health. You could also face consequences from WorkSafeBC such as a stop-work order, and you may have to pay additional costs for proper cleanup and abatement.
Visit our website for a list of licensed surveyors and abatement contractors: Find licensed contractors.
For more information
- Insurance coverage responsibilities for homeowners
- Potential sources of asbestos in the home: interactive tool and information sheet
- Asbestos: Frequently asked questions for homeowners
- Asbestos — What you need to know
- Asbestos (video)
- Asbestos in Construction: Homeowners (video)