Does The Soil At Your Construction Site Contain Asbestos?

When people talk about asbestos, to what are they referring? Technically, it is a handful of a grouping of materials, both fibrous and natural. For fireproofing and material strengthening, it can be useful. Unfortunately, it can also have detrimental effects on our health and is therefore, in many countries, banned today. Though, in the United States, it is not currently banned outright, regarding asbestos exposure, we continue to be aware and extremely vigilant.

If asbestos is detected in the soil at a construction site, it can derail the entire project. For decades, ACM (asbestos-containing material) has been hiding in plain sight. Try as we may to ignore it, it’s getting harder and harder! If, at a construction site, ACM is found in the soil, the project can come to a grinding halt. By thousands or millions of dollars, it can increase construction costs.

Where Is Asbestos Found?

In almost every section of a structure, asbestos used to be very prevalent. This could pertain to the following:

  • Building siding
  • Roof tiles
  • Wire insulation
  • Cement
  • Floor tiles
  • Pipe insulation and more

This is not surprising considering that the construction benefits of asbestos are many and can include the following:

  • Cost-effective
  • Termite resistant
  • Weatherproof
  • Durable
  • Extremely fire resistant
  • Thermal insulator

Why Asbestos Is a Problem in Construction

Until an asbestos danger has been dealt with, due to concern about safety lawsuits and employee health, contractors will routinely stop construction on a project. Sadly, if ACM is found in soil, builders may not be sure what to do or even if they are required to do anything, due to conflicting regulatory policies and programs.

The smart thing to do is to hit soil ACM head-on or it can come back to haunt you. In the planning stages of a project, it’s best to figure the cost of asbestos abatement into your budget and project timeline. If you don’t have to deal with it after all… even better.

Does it make logical sense for you to figure soil asbestos abatement into your project?

Best Times to Check Soil for Asbestos

It’s a good idea to check the soil on your construction project for asbestos in the following instances:

  • If you want to be absolutely sure your project comes in on time and on budget, assume that an inspection for ACM in soil may be necessary. Even if things look normal, asbestos can be present.
  • There may be possible building rubble debris present if you are building on a landfill. Not all boring tests will detect asbestos, however. It may lie deeper than normal boring tests go. So even if boring tests have shown nothing but concrete, wood, brick, etc., asbestos could be a problem down deeper.
  • If, at your project site, there was a historic fire or building demolition. Concentrated ACM could be in the soil in the case of a fire because asbestos doesn’t burn. Without removing hazardous materials, a building may have been demolished. The remaining debris may have been backfilled into a basement or simply levelled on-site with a bulldozer.
  • When your site is a landfill, this is one of the most obvious reasons to check for soil asbestos because not all landfills are clearly delineated and capped.

Do You Have An Asbestos Concern?

We provide the most professional asbestos inspection services in the U.S., here at Iris Environmental Laboratories. For our asbestos inspections, mold inspections, lab tests, etc., we offer extremely affordable prices.

Contact us today for information.