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Hazardous Material Inspection: Understanding the Process


How sure are you about the safety of your own home or business property? Many older buildings contain hazardous materials that can go unidentified for years. Utilizing a home inspection is one of the only ways you'll be able to identify hazardous materials, which are often airborne so that you can resolve the problem.


A hazardous material inspection involves looking specifically for these factors, usually before you start some kind of home construction or renovation. Failure to check for them could mean putting workers at risk and exposing yourself to toxic materials.

Here's what you should know about hazardous materials inspections.


What Is a Hazardous Material?

A hazardous material is any chemical or substance that can harm you. Certain household cleaners, paint products, and pesticides are common examples that require special disposal when you're done with them because they contain hazardous ingredients that could harm the environment, or anyone with physical contact to them.


If you own an older home with a construction era prior to the 1980’s, there's a good chance it was built with materials that would now be considered hazardous.


For example, asbestos was used in older buildings in vinyl flooring tiles and insulation. It didn't decline in use until the 1970s, so anything built before then should be inspected.

Another area of concern is the paint on your walls. Lead-based paint is most common in homes built before 1960.


Additionally, older homes are more prone to mold development due to water ingress over time. When spores from mold enter an inhabited environment, serious health issues are likely to result.


The Inspection Process

There are different types of inspections depending on who you hire and the extent of the work. When it comes to homes and businesses of older construction, inspection services will often focus on asbestos and mold testing. At construction sites, they'll also look for things like underground storage tanks, mercury, and other hazardous chemicals.


The first part of any request is to visit the property and conduct an inspection. This involves taking samples and analyzing them back at the main facility. After that, the lab will prepare a HAZMAT report from the samples taken.


A final report should include sections that cover the observed conditions, item classifications, and follow-up recommendations.


Managing the Problem

The inspection is only the first part of solving your problem if hazardous materials are found. If there are signs of hazardous materials such as disturbed or exposed asbestos, then you'll need to look at asbestos abatement and/or demolition.


A trained professional can seal or cover up asbestos material, which can be a faster more affordable solution than removing it. However, it could complicate matters if you decide to renovate the area later on. Routine air testing can help see if the asbestos has been disturbed and fibres have entered the air.


The more expensive option is to remove the hazardous material. It's often required with extensive remodels or if the asbestos is too damaged.


Check for Hazardous Materials

A hazardous material inspection doesn't have to be a complicated procedure for the property owner. Much of the work is done in a lab, and the certified hazmat inspector will know where to take samples from within your property. The real trouble comes if it turns out you do have hazardous materials in your property that you need to get rid of.


Coast BC Hazmat Inspections can provide full hazardous materials reports across the Greater Vancouver area. We help you determine the risk and can help you develop an action plan to remove it. Contact us to learn more and tell us about your situation.


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