Monthly Archives: May 2014

The Bogeyman under the bed is real: Asbestos could get you

The asbestos noose has tightened, and homeowners need to be aware that if a tradesperson works on your home and later develops asbestosis, or it’s symptoms, then you are legally liable to compensate WorkSafeBC for all costs of their treatment, rehabilitation, and future compensation.  You need to either take out coverage on the job yourself or ensure that your trades do, but no amount of squirming will get you off the hook legally.  They could seize your home after a court has determined that you were liable if you had no coverage.  “I had no idea…” is NOT a defense.

I have touched on the topic of asbestos in earlier posts, but the issue is taking on it’s next life.  We have a cottage up in the valley and the local dump (oops, dating myself, landfill facility or some such nomenclature) has now BANNED anything that contains asbestos, click here.  Sorry, we do not take that stuff.  Take it over there please…over there is often 50 kilometers away and the tipping fee is $250 or so a ton.

So what you say?  Well, if you have ever done a renovation to your home then you may be somewhat aware that a surprisingly small pile of debris weighs a ton.  And the trucks do not come cheap either, special bins and covers, and in an era of $1.37 per liter gasoline (as of today) they are also not known for their fuel efficiency, therefore, they are expensive to operate and expensive for you the client to use for disposal.

Why do you or should you care?  If your home is constructed before 1990, then you probably have asbestos in your home, meaning that renovation will produce asbestos waste.  It is not simple nor inexpensive to legally dispose of the stuff, and it often ends up literally being dumped on the side of the road and being handled by the local government.  This brings me back to another old topic, asbestos and the law here in British Columbia which is enforced by WorksafeBC.

Did you know that WorkSafeBC is having an enforcement campaign for single family renovations until the end of this year?

Check this out: click here

If you have ever had a government inspector stop by your worksite, then you are in for an experience.  They regard all contractors, big and small, as big ones when it comes to compliance.  This means that your renovation contractor could spend a day or so simply dealing with the inspection even if they are squeaky clean.  All work usually stops, as a precaution.  You have been advised as the British constables say.

The business of renovation is getting more and more difficult, as a business.  This is why there are fewer competent and compliant contractors today, it is difficult to stay in business when the cost of enforcing government regulations puts your quote out of the ballpark compared to some of the “dashboard contractors” (they run their business on their dashboard, piles of paper and Lord knows what else hidden away).  The homeowner needs to beware, it is a matter of time before the government closes the loop and requires the sale of a home to be accompanied by either a clearance certificate for asbestos or a declaration about it’s presence.

Now sit back and ponder what a declaration about asbestos will do to your home’s resale value.  Or what a clearance certificate could mean as a sales price booster.

The Bogeyman under the bed is real, and his name is asbestos.