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What is Asbestos Law for Renovations and Demolitions?

What is asbestos?

Asbestos, a group of minerals, is a toxic substance and known carcinogen. The minerals which make up asbestos include chrysotile, crocidolite, amosite, anthophyllite, actinolite, and tremolite. Exposure to airborne asbestos can cause a number of diseases which develop over a period of time.

All types of asbestos are dangerous if inhaled. Asbestos breaks into tiny fibers that are too small to see, feel, or taste. If someone breathes asbestos fibers, that individual may increase the risk of several serious diseases including asbestosis, lung cancer, and mesothelioma.

Asbestos fibers can be measured by taking an air sample or a sample of the suspected asbestos containing material. Asbestos containing material (ACM) is any material containing more than one percent of asbestos as determined by using methods of polarized light microscopy.

Buildings containing ACM are not always a hazard to its occupants. Intact, undisturbed ACM does not generally endanger the health of those around it. However, hazards develop when ACM is disturbed, deteriorated, or damaged.

Why was asbestos used?

Asbestos fibers contain certain characteristics which made it popular for use in many industries, including construction. For one, asbestos is not affected by heat or chemicals. Additionally, asbestos is strong, flexible, and nonconductive to electricity.

Why should I be concerned about asbestos?

The more a person is exposed to asbestos, the greater the risk of developing asbestos-related diseases. Exposure occurs through inhalation of the fibers in asbestos materials. Airborne asbestos can be present during building demolition or renovation when asbestos is disturbed, damaged, or deteriorated.

An untrained person performing asbestos-related work can expose not only themselves but also others in the worksite surroundings. Additionally, they may take home the fibers on their clothing and skin thereby, potentially exposing their family as well.

There are thousands of building products and other items that contain asbestos. The only way to determine if a material contains this fiber is to have the material sampled by a licensed asbestos building inspector, and analyzed by an accredited asbestos laboratory.

What is the difference between friable and nonfriable?

Friable asbestos-containing material can be crushed by your hand. If disturbed or damaged, the fibers from friable asbestos are easily released into the air and are more likely to be inhaled. Examples of friable ACM include insulation on piping, ducts and boilers, fireproofing, ceiling texture and panel products, and soundproofing.

Nonfriable ACM are sealed or bound together in solid form so the fibers cannot easily escape. Nonfriable asbestos is normally considered safe if maintained in good condition. However, it can become friable if damaged. Examples of non-friable ACM include vinyl floor tiles and cement (transite) siding or roofing.

What does Code Enforcement regulate?

Bureau of Environmental Services regulates any renovation that will disturb or remove friable ACM in the amounts between 25 and 260 linear feet; between15 and 160 square feet; and between 0.75 cubic feet and 35 cubic feet. Friable asbestos material means any material containing more than 1 percent asbestos determined by using polarized light microscopy that when dry can be crumbled, pulverized, or reduced to powder either by hand pressure or mechanical forces reasonably expected to act on the material. We also regulate non-friable ACM when it has been made friable.

What are the homeowners’ responsibilities?

Before a renovation or demolition, we recommend the homeowner hire an Indiana licensed asbestos building inspector. The inspector will then determine if asbestos is present in the structure or portion of the structure undergoing the renovation or demolition.

Regulated Asbestos Containing Materials (RACM) in a residential structure in Marion County may be removed by the owner (in lieu of an asbestos contractor) if the residence consists of four or fewer dwelling units.

If asbestos is present, the homeowner is responsible for removing the RACM before a demolition or renovation that might disturb the ACM. The homeowner may perform his/her own asbestos removal as described below. If the homeowner does choose to hire a contractor to perform the asbestos removal, the contractor MUST be a City of Indianapolis permitted asbestos contractor.

How does the homeowner remove the asbestos?

In Marion County the homeowner can remove the asbestos in the home if the residence consists of four or less dwelling units.

How to hire a contractor to do work in a residence?

Contractors may be found on this website under the listing of certified asbestos abatement contractors. It is recommended that a homeowner obtains several bids and written work plans. Additionally, make sure the work plans include the description of the removal and clean-up methods. The next step is to ensure these plans follow local, state, and federal regulations. Remember to obtain a written cost of the asbestos removal and what this cost includes. Further, a homeowner should request references and inquire of these references as to the satisfaction with any prior work performed by the company. Finally, always require the company’s county certificate of operation number and state asbestos contractor’s license number.

How does a business remove asbestos?

At a commercial facility (or residential facility with five or more dwelling units)prior to beginning a demolition or renovation project, the structure or portion of the structure under renovation must be inspected for the presence of asbestos. The property owner or contractor is required to submit a written notification 10 days prior to the demolition or removal of asbestos to the Environmental Services fax number 317-327-2274. Failure to comply with the requirements could result in enforcement action and civil penalties against both the owner and operator.

How does an asbestos abatement business become certified?

Pursuant to Chapter 511 of the Revised Code of the Consolidated City of Indianapolis and Marion County, no operator shall remove friable asbestos materials from a facility without a valid certification (permit) issued by the bureau. Additionally, each operator shall apply for and obtain a permit by complying with the provisions set out in Regulation 14-10-6.