Understanding what the asbestos abatement process will look like is an important part of ensuring proper asbestos removal. That’s why we’ve outlined each step along the way.
Prior to the asbestos abatement process, an on-site evaluation should be completed by a prospective asbestos abatement contractor. During the evaluation, your contractor should walk you through how he or she plans to set up containment and decontamination areas, the path that waste bags containing asbestos material will be removed throughout the building, and how long the process should take.
The cost of hiring an asbestos abatement contractor is typically double the cost of hiring a general contractor. This price usually ranges from $5.50-$15.00 per square foot or linear foot, depending on the project and site layout. In order to get an accurate quote, it’s important to require your prospective contractor to perform an on-site visit before they start the job. Otherwise, you risk them giving you a false price then submitting a change order after the abatement has already begun.
Before the asbestos abatement process even begins, you should receive a written contract outlining all abatement plans and procedures—including details about the containment and decontamination areas; three stage decontamination area (dirty room, shower, and clean room); cleanup process; procedures for asbestos removal and disposal; and the federal, state and local regulations that your abatement company is required to follow.
Protective Clothing + Respiratory Protection
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), protective clothing typically worn by workers during the asbestos abatement process consists of disposable coveralls, a head cover and foot covers that are made of a synthetic fabric that reduces exposure to airborne asbestos fibers. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires workers to wear protective clothing anytime they could potentially be exposed to fiber levels above permissible levels (as determined by OSHA). The use of approved respirators may also be needed for certain tasks. Approved respirators must fit OSHA standards, which include written operating procedures for respirator use that outline personnel responsibilities for respirator cleaning, storage, and repair; medical examination of workers for respirator use; training in proper respirator use and limitations; respirator fit testing; and work-site supervision.
Regulating the Work Area
Once workers arrive on site, they will begin the asbestos abatement process by setting up a containment area. This process involves sealing air ducts, disabling HVAC systems, setting up negative pressure equipment, and plasticizing walls, floors, ceilings, and any other necessary areas.
The work site should be clearly marked as a hazardous area and only workers should be permitted.
Removing Asbestos Materials
Once the previous steps have been completed, workers will use special equipment to remove asbestos-containing material. Afterward, the material is double bagged in asbestos disposal waste bags, sealed and stored in a designated trailer or dumpster with a protective poly lining.
Once asbestos-containing material is removed from the home or building, any equipment used or clothing worn by workers must also be properly removed in order to prevent contamination of any other areas of the building. Afterward, the area is thoroughly cleaned and a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) vacuum is used to gather small particles of dust. Following the removal of all asbestos-containing material, it is required to test the area by a third-party certified air sampler. This ensures that the abatement contractor followed proper procedures during the abatement process and any airborne asbestos is well below permissible levels.
After the asbestos abatement process is completed, you should receive a second written record outlining the work done and that proper procedures were followed.