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New Asbestos Rules in BC – Renovating and what you need to know?

Asbestos Removal NanaimoWith the Canadian government expected to introduce a total ban on asbestos (and asbestos containing products) by 2018, the task of removing the carcinogenic risk from Canadian homes, schools and office buildings has begun.

“Oh yeah. It’s not going to happen overnight, but it’s a step in the right direction,” confirms Joe Lannoo from Lan-Mar Contracting out of Nanaimo.

Be it new construction or renovations, residential or commercial, Lan-Mar Contracting (founded by Joe’s dad, Oscar, over 25 years ago) has earned a reputation has one of the top construction companies on Vancouver Island.

To better serve their customers, Joe is heading up a new asbestos removal service under the Lan-Mar umbrella.

“It seems any house older than 1990, there’s a chance of the house having asbestos. Almost certainly in the drywall mud,” explains Joe. “That’s why you can’t take drywall to the dump any more.”

For those following along at home, all drywall has a date stamped on the back of it. If it precedes 1990, “the dump won’t take it.”

Be it one piece or an entire house worth — all drywall has to be disposed of the same way: in industrial bags used specifically for asbestos, then taken to the landfill and dropped off at a specified area.

Drywall aside, there is also the issue of vermiculite insulation, found in the walls and ceilings of most older buildings, and the ‘popcorn’ ceilings as well.

And as any building undergoing renovations is now required to have all existing asbestos removed by licensed specialists before renos can begin, having a contractor with a crew in-house that can deal with the asbestos, will ultimately save the homeowner time and money.

Based out of Nanaimo and serving the mid-Island area (Duncan to Qualicum Beach), Lan-Mar Optimized-P1090876Contracting takes the asbestos issue seriously.

“The government’s gong to hit it hard,” Joe, a married father of two, says of the asbestos ban. “Let’s say you have a house and you want to dispose of the vermiculite insulation in your attic; you have to have someone come in and do an air quality test first before any contractor is allowed to enter your home. WorkSafe is all over that now. It’s something that’s going to be pushed more and more now.”

A popular building material widely used in construction (and other industries) during the 1950s and 60s because of its insulation and fire protection properties, and resilience to chemical erosion, the dangers of asbestos have been studied for years.

Longterm exposure can lead to health risks such as pleural mesothelioma and other diseases such as lung cancers .

Some 58 countries have already banned asbestos.

“I was chatting with one of the guys from WorkSafe recently and he was telling me that in B.C. alone there are 50-60 deaths a year attributed to people that worked around asbestos. More and more they’re finding out the dangers of it now,” says Joe.

Knowns as the silent killer, asbestos poisoning has a lay period of 20-30 years between the time a person is exposed, and when they start becoming sick.

“I’ve been in the business a long time and I don’t know how many times I’ve been exposed to it. Now we’re careful, but 15 years ago you just didn’t think about it,” says Joe. These days, he adds, “there’s precautions we take. We have all sorts of special equipment like air regulators to keep everyone safe…  our respirators alone are 600 bucks apiece, and we’re all trained as well. It’s just part of the job now.”

Residents can take heed in knowing asbestos is not a health risk when left alone.

“It’s only when it’s disturbed and airborne — usually when you’re doing a renovation — that it becomes and issue.”

For more information on Lan-Mar Contracting check out lanmarcontracting.ca.

For a free estimate on asbestos removal call Joe at 250-739-3532 or Oscar 250-716-6803

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