Hiring an Asbestos Abatement Contractor

Once a decision has been made to impact asbestos-containing material (ACM) such as pipe insulation, boiler breeching, vinyl asbestos tile, transite (cement board), siding or roofing in amounts greater than 3 linear or square feet, it must be removed or repaired by professionals unless specifically exempted from the DEP regulations. For example, small amounts of floor tile in good condition may be removed by a non-licensed company using an infrared tile lift machine or a heat gun provided the tiles come up whole, and owner-occupied single family homeowners can remove their own asbestos siding following DEP guidelines.

Maine regulations generally require that asbestos activities be performed by a company licensed by the DEP, that the building owner (or abatement company) notify the DEP of the dates of removal, that certain work practices be followed, and that the area be inspected and tested for asbestos prior to reoccupancy. In general, the less likely the material is to release-fibers, then the less strict the regulatory requirements needed to control the release of asbestos fibers. Siding and roofing jobs are generally easier and less expensive than pipe insulation projects. When hiring an asbestos abatement contractor you want to be sure to get a contractor that will deliver the best quality of service for the best price. Be sure to obtain several bids on your project, as costs can vary considerably. Items to think about when hiring a contractor include:

  • the contractor’s history of and references for similar projects;
  • cost - make sure comparable services are being quoted;
  • details of the exact services to be provided, including monitoring, project design, replacement, damages, etc.;
  • the contractor’s recent history of violations of state or federal asbestos laws;
  • the type and amount of liability insurance carried by the contractor;
  • whether to hire a monitoring firm to ensure the removal is done in accordance with regulations.

Most importantly, talk to each contractor, learn exactly what they will do for you, check your comfort level with them, and then hire based upon overall quality of services, not just cost.