4 Things Property Managers Should Know About Asbestos Before Handling Tenant Improvements

CIE | March 2, 2020

1 – What is Asbestos and how can it be harmful to tenants?

Asbestos is a mineral fiber that can release small particles into the air when damaged.  The EPA refers to this as “friable” which mean the asbestos-containing materials are easily crushed, crumbled or pulverized.   Once it is inhaled, the fibers settle in the lining of the lungs, and at a minimum is likely to cause “scarring” which limits an individual’s ability to breath easily. 

2 – What building materials on my property could contain asbestos?

Many materials could be affected.  Here are examples of common materials found in buildings:  floor and ceiling tiles, insulation, plaster, textured paint or coating (ex. popcorn ceilings), wallpaper, glue, cement pipe, duct-work, roofs and siding.  These should serve as a red flag prior to taking on any tenant improvement projects. For example, scrubbing or repairing drywall and ceilings or replacing flooring and siding.  In fact, according to the DEQ, all commercial buildings regardless of construction date and residential buildings constructed before 2004 must have an asbestos survey conducted by an accredited inspector prior to demolition or renovation activities.

3 – What should you do if you suspect asbestos is present?

With such a high percentage of Portland properties built before 1970 expected to have asbestos, testing becomes vital. Technically, if asbestos is not disturbed it is completely harmless.  However, building repairs or renovations can pose a high risk by sending toxic fibers into the air causing serious health problems for all occupants and nearby neighbors.  Again, prior to any repairs or demolition, it is important to have a professional take samples to be analyzed by a certified laboratory. If the material is found to be positive for asbestos it is required by law that it be removed or repaired by experts to ensure it is done properly. 

4 – How do I choose an asbestos testing & abatement company?

There are many asbestos testing and asbestos abatement companies to choose from.  It is important to ensure they have the correct licensing and follow strict regulations and processes and carry the right asbestos removal equipment to keep themselves and others safe from exposure. This is also important to prevent hefty fines that could potentially be incurred if the asbestos removal is not handled correctly or if the asbestos survey report is insufficient or not on hand at the job site.    

Certified Indoor Environmental is an experienced, professional, and licensed team that can quickly remove asbestos in the safest way possible.  Our accredited AHERA (asbestos) building inspectors will follow strict standards set by the State of Oregon, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) for asbestos surveying and abatement.

Please check out our reviews. If you have a question or would like to schedule an assessment with a Project Manager, please contact our office at 503-241-9199.  Click here to take advantage of our current asbestos service specials.

For more information about asbestos action for owners and occupants, please visit the EPA website.