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Tuesday, April 02, 2024

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When it comes to asbestos, the mere mention of its presence can send shivers down the spine of building owners, homeowners and property managers alike.

Its reputation as a silent killer, lurking within and on our buildings, has instilled fear and urgency for removal in many.
However, what if I told you that there's another side to this story?

After over 40 years of work in the asbestos industry being trained as a certified project designer for solid hazardous materials and encountering asbestos on projects all over the world I've learned a few things.

What if leaving asbestos in place could actually hold several advantages over the daunting task and expense of removal and replacement?

In this episode I bring to light and uncover the lesser-known benefits of keeping asbestos untouched.

1. Financial Prudence over Panic:

The decision to remove asbestos is often driven by fear rather than logic.

However, opting to leave it untouched can be a financially wise choice.

The costs associated with asbestos removal can skyrocket, especially in older buildings where asbestos is more prevalent or in remote locations.

By choosing to leave it in place, property owners can avoid hefty expenses, thereby freeing up resources for other better investments and essential maintenance or upgrades.

2. Minimal Disruption, Maximum Peace of Mind:

Asbestos removal is not only expensive but also disruptive.

It can entail extensive renovations, displacing occupants, and disrupting daily operations in commercial settings causing production and profit loss.

Conversely, leaving asbestos undisturbed ensures continuity.

There's no need to upend your life or business operations for a problem that may not pose an immediate threat if left undisturbed.

3. Preserving Structural Integrity:

Surprisingly, asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) were often chosen for their durability and fire-resistant properties.

In some cases, removing these materials can compromise the structural integrity of the building.

Leaving asbestos untouched preserves the original construction, ensuring the building remains stable and secure for years to come.

4. Maintaining Historical Authenticity:

For older buildings or heritage sites, asbestos may be an integral part of their historical fabric.

Removing it could strip away a piece of their authenticity.

By opting to leave it in place, property owners can maintain the historical integrity of the structure while still adhering to safety protocols to minimize risks.

5. Environmental Considerations:

The process of asbestos removal isn't just a financial and logistical burden; it also carries environmental implications.

Disposing of asbestos-containing materials requires specialized handling and disposal methods to prevent contamination.

By leaving asbestos untouched, property owners can reduce their environmental footprint and minimize the generation of hazardous waste.

6. Risk Mitigation Through In-Place Management:

Rather than resorting to complete removal, another option is to in-place manage the asbestos with the right green coatings.

This process involves sealing and encasing the asbestos-containing materials to prevent the release of fibers into the air.

When done correctly, simple in-place management with the right green coatings can effectively remove the risks associated with asbestos without the need for costly removal and replacement.

The knee-jerk reaction to remove asbestos at the first sign of its presence may not always be the most prudent course of action.

While safety should always be a top priority, it's essential to weigh the pros and cons carefully on a case by case basis.

Leaving asbestos untouched can offer financial, practical, and even environmental benefits that shouldn't be overlooked.

Before succumbing to panic-driven removal plans, consider consulting with experts to explore all available options.

After all, sometimes the best solution is to let sleeping asbestos lie.

“Over the long term, the future is decided by optimists.” - Kevin Kelly - Writer, Photographer, Conservationist

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