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3 Reasons Property Managers Should Completely Remove Asbestos From Commercial Buildings

by April Carlson

Commercial properties were commonly built with asbestos-containing materials — asbestos is fire-resistant and provides extra durability for material like insulation, floor tile, and drywall. Unfortunately, its health risks were only discovered later. Many property managers now own buildings containing asbestos, and there are special regulations regarding its management due to the health risk that it poses.

If your building contains asbestos, you don't necessarily have to remove it. Asbestos is only dangerous when its fibers are released into the air, so many building owners choose to simply manage it in place and avoid disturbing it rather than removing it. However, this isn't always the correct decision. Below, you'll find three benefits of having the asbestos-containing materials in your property removed for good.

1. Shows a Commitment to Safety

As part of your asbestos containment strategy, employees need to be informed about the presence of asbestos within the building. Warning signs need to be posted near asbestos-containing materials as well. This reduces the risk that employees will accidentally touch asbestos-containing material and release fibers into the air.

Unfortunately, some employees may feel uncomfortable working in an environment that contains asbestos. When they're informed about the presence of asbestos in the building, they may decide to seek employment elsewhere — this can lead to issues with employee retention. Removing the asbestos-containing materials from your building entirely will solve this problem and reassure your employees that you are committed to their safety.

2. Medical Consequences of Exposure Often Take Decades to Appear, Causing Unexpected Liability

One of the most concerning issues surrounding asbestos exposure is that the health consequences are not immediate. Mesothelioma and asbestosis can occur decades after exposure — there's no rapid way to tell if someone in your building was exposed to the asbestos inside of it.

It's possible to take indoor air samples and test them for the presence of asbestos fibers, but this isn't an ideal solution. There's no recognized safe amount of asbestos exposure, and the presence of fibers in the air mean that the building's inhabitants have already been exposed.

The lag time in determining whether or not an employee or customer was exposed to asbestos creates liability for companies. Businesses may face class action suits for asbestos exposure decades after the exposure occurred. Removing all of the asbestos from your building eliminates this liability.

3. Asbestos Can Complicate the Sale of Your Building

Finally, the presence of asbestos will lower the value of your property. Asbestos-containing materials need to be abated or removed before any renovation or demolition can occur.

If you ever sell your building to someone who plans to renovate or demolish it, they will factor the cost of commercial asbestos removal into the value of the building — without removal, they won't be able to proceed with their plans for the building, making it a necessity. By removing all of the asbestos from your building (even if it's done slowly over a period of years), you'll have a smoother experience if you decide to sell the building or renovate it on your own.

Overall, removing asbestos from your commercial property reduces liability and prevents it from becoming an issue in the future. While the process may be lengthy and needs to be performed by a commercial asbestos removal professional, it's most often worth it to know that your property is fully asbestos-free.