What do Asbestos Contractors do?

Mary McMahon

Asbestos contractors are contracting professionals who specialize in asbestos abatement. They have received specialized training which qualifies them to safely remove asbestos and to process asbestos-containing materials, and they have extensive experience in the field of asbestos removal. Typically, to become an asbestos contractor someone must have a contractor's license supplemented with training by a government agency which trains and certifies people and companies who work in the asbestos abatement field.

Areas which may need the attention of asbestos contractors include ceiling tiles.
Areas which may need the attention of asbestos contractors include ceiling tiles.

Typically, an asbestos contractor can perform an inspection of a building, identify asbestos-containing materials, develop a remediation plan to remove or cover those materials, implement it, and dispose of those materials safely. People may be required by law to hire asbestos contractors to perform asbestos abatement, to ensure that the materials are handled and disposed of properly. Inexperienced contractors may make mistakes such as breaking materials up, releasing tiny asbestos fibers into the air in the process.

Asbestos contractors wear special suits to protect themselves from disturbed fibers.
Asbestos contractors wear special suits to protect themselves from disturbed fibers.

Some examples of locations which may need the attention of asbestos contractors include: so-called “popcorn” ceilings, ceiling tiles, certain types of floor tiles, wall insulation, and pipe insulation. As long as these materials are left undisturbed, they are not harmful, but once the material starts to crack, flake, or break down, particles of asbestos will be released into the air, and people can breathe them in and develop lung problems. An asbestos contractor can remove materials which are actively shedding asbestos, and remove or cover materials which may become a problem in the future.

These building professionals work with specialized equipment and gear to protect themselves from asbestos, including suits which filter out asbestos to prevent exposure. Asbestos contractors usually seal off the area where they are working and observe safety precautions such as spraying down the area with water to keep down dust, bagging and sealing asbestos-containing materials inside the isolated area so that they cannot release asbestos as they are removed, and using specialized filtration systems on vacuums and air scrubbers to remove asbestos from the area when they are finished.

When looking for an asbestos contractor, people may want to ask for recommendations from general contractors they trust, along with friends and family who have needed asbestos removal services. As always when hiring construction professionals, it is a good idea to ask for a contractor's license so that people can verify that a contractor is in good standing with the state or local government. Clients should also ask for proof that a contractor has successfully completed an asbestos abatement training program; any competent contractor will be happy to furnish such information. People can also look up complaints against specific asbestos contractors at the Better Business Bureau or government agencies which handle disputes and contracting safety issues if they are concerned about a contractor's job record.

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