Contractor Renovation

Contractors who remove or handle asbestos must be certified by the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries (L&I). Before beginning any renovation project, you must check for asbestos and follow the procedures below. Failure to do so can result in life-threatening conditions and/or you receiving a notice of violations and monetary penalties.

1. Conduct an asbestos survey.

Residents who live in and own the single family house to be remodeled (not demolished) may conduct their own survey to identify asbestos-containing materials. In all other situations, an AHERA-certified building inspector must conduct a survey. These inspectors are listed in the phone book yellow pages under “Asbestos Consulting and Testing.”

A summary of the survey results must be communicated to you, your workers, and anyone else who may come in contact with the material to be disturbed. Keep a copy of the survey at the project site.

Share the survey results with anyone who may come in contact with the material to be disturbed and keep a copy of the survey on site.

Asbestos Survey Guidance (PDF)

Watch the following video to learn more about asbestos survey requirements:

2. If asbestos is found, there are three options.

A. Leave it Alone.

Asbestos becomes a health risk if it is disturbed or deteriorating and fibers are released into the air. It may be possible to work around the asbestos during the renovation without disturbing it.

B. Repair or encapsulate.

You may re-seal or encapsulate the asbestos in its location and without notifying our agency if it is not disturbed.

Sometimes, asbestos can be repaired rather than removed. This is basically a process of securely re-sealing asbestos in its location. For example, a few inches of torn, loose, or frayed asbestos tape wrap on heating ducts can be repaired with duct tape. Damaged hot water pipe insulation can be covered with a specially designed fabric available at safety equipment stores.

Some asbestos applications that are in good condition can be encapsulated to reduce the likelihood of asbestos fibers releasing into the air. Encapsulation is the best option when dealing with insulation on heating systems. There are two types of encapsulants:

  • Penetrating encapsulants are products that seep into asbestos-containing materials and bond with asbestos fibers securing them in place. They have little impact on the outward appearance of treated materials.
  • Bridging encapsulants are products, such as paint, that coat asbestos-containing materials. They are most commonly used to encapsulate popcorn ceiling and furnace and heat duct insulation.

Be aware, however, that while encapsulation may seem like an attractive option, especially for furnace ducts or popcorn ceilings, there may be less obvious costs and risks involved. For example, painting to encapsulate may make future removal much more difficult and expensive. Also, popcorn applications that become too heavy with added encapsulant product, or through water da mange, may fall off the ceiling in clumps, possibly releasing asbestos fibers.

C. Remove it.

Friable asbestos must be removed by a certified asbestos abatement contractor, unless the project is at a single-family house that the owner occupies. This is the only exception where the owner/resident may legally remove asbestos-containing materials. When removing friable asbestos-containing materials, follow Regulation III, Section 4.05 (b) Friable Asbestos Removal Work Practices (PDF) and 4.07 Disposal of Asbestos Containing Waste Material (PDF).

An Asbestos/Demolition Notification and filing fee must be submitted to this agency before friable asbestos-containing material is removed. Depending on the size of the asbestos project, a 10 day waiting period may be required. Remember to make a copy of the Notification you submit available for inspection

Exception: Notification is not required for friable asbestos projects involving less than 10 linear feet of pipe or 48 square feet of surface area (per structure and calendar year).

Nonfriable asbestos must be removed and disposed of in accordance with Regulation III, Section 4.05 (c) Method of Removal for Non-friable Asbestos-Containing Material (PDF) and does not require an Asbestos/Demolition Notification.

Watch the following video to learn more about how to file an asbestos project notification:

3. Properly dispose of any removed asbestos.

Take friable asbestos-containing waste to Asbestos Disposal Waste Facility authorized to receive the waste. Complete and bring an Asbestos Waste Material Shipment Record (PDF) to dispose of the friable asbestos waste at the disposal site. Nonfriable asbestos-containing waste must be promptly transferred to a disposal container labeled "nonfriable asbestos waste". Please contact your local disposal company for further instructions.

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