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Minor Asbestos Spills in residential dwellings with no insurance coverage

We surveyed a home this week that had experienced a long term water leak resulting in a small area of collapsed acoustically (popcorn) textured ceiling material into a bedroom.

This material tested positive for Chrysotile in the texture and the homeowners are now facing paying out of pocket for the asbestos abatement work. This was classified as a minor asbestos spill as only 20sqft had collapsed (major spill in a residential dwelling would be over 32sqft). There is a document available on the Colorado Department of Health and environment called the single family dwelling opt out form which can aide homeowners when trying to reduce the overall cost of asbestos abatement.

Filing this document allows homeowners to establish a range of dates that opts out their dwelling from Colorado state asbestos regulations. It is important to emphasize this document can only be utilized for interior work on primary residential dwellings. Rental properties, multi-family dwellings or vacation homes are not able to utilize the opt out.

It is also vital to understand this does not insulate an abatement contractor from OSHA safe work practices or disposal requirements for asbestos waste. Consequently, there are fewer abatement contractors who are willing to work under the single-family dwelling opt out as many of them perceive working under it as too much of a liability. That being said when opt out work is done by someone with experience the finished product can be nearly identical as a full regulatory abatement process.

In our experience, it can be a valuable tool to reduce the financial hardship associated with asbestos abatement. For example, in this smaller loss it will save well over a thousand dollars if the opt out is used correctly. The overall extra effort involved in filing the paperwork and vetting a few abatement contractors can be well worth it financially. As with all abatement project we strongly advise obtaining three itemized estimates along with referrals for previous opt out projects. If a consulting contractor is not willing to provide referrals we would not advise using them for opt out projects.

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