Asbestos – Best Types Suited for In-Place Management
The three options of dealing with asbestos are removal, do nothing and the more practical, widely accepted method of in-place management. I’ll be examining the option of in-place management which is often the best choice for many projects.
I’m writing about where asbestos containing materials may be best controlled and safely managed long term over costly removal & replacement. Where it is the most beneficial to simply and safely in-place manage this wide spread, potential common hazard. Where that method makes the most practical, level headed and financial sense – protecting people and planet while saving money, time and natural resources.
Managing asbestos is easier than most people think, especially if you don’t necessarily have to remove it. Meaning that there may not be local laws requiring you to remove it and you can safely coexist while actually continue to benefit from it.
I’m going to concentrate on where it is the greatest benefit to safely manage certain asbestos containing materials in buildings instead of the high cost of removing and replacing it.
Keep in mind that every individual and companies circumstances are different and their separate situations and choices always need to be evaluated on a case by case basis.
Asbestos containing materials were and still are widely used throughout the world. They are present in over 2000 products and there are several situations that in place management would not be practical or even possible.
That being said on the flip side there are many situations that are a perfect fit and do greatly benefit from the acceptable, safe in-place management with the right products.
In-place management for larger surfaces makes the most practical sense since they are the ones that are the most costly and troublesome to remove and replace. This is especially true where that disruptive and invasive removal process has indirect consequences such as building downtime and profitable production loss along with the costly relocation fees for personal and contents while that disturbing work is performed. This also includes replacing the removed materials.
The two largest surfaces areas throughout the world that benefit most from in-place management of asbestos containing materials are spray-on fireproofing protecting structural steel and wall and roof panels.
The first is spray-on fireproofing that covers structural steel beams and associated decking. This is extremely prevalent and used throughout the world. It protects structural steel and is found in high rise buildings and skyscrapers. It shields all the structural steel and often covers the decking in between that structural steel. It is protecting that essential structural steel for two main reasons.
The first and foremost is to give people more time to safely evacuate a building in a fire then if that steel was unprotected and more susceptible to quicker breakdown and total collapse.
The second reason and also extremely important is that the most expensive and significant part of a high rise building is the vital structural steel. If that is protected during a high heat fire event and doesn’t melt or tweak it can be saved and reused. Meaning that after a fire you can go back in, remove any debris off the steel and retack new components to the preserved steel. This saves significant cost, time and precious natural resources over removal and replacement.
The second largest area where safely managing asbestos can be extremely beneficial vs costly and disruptive removal and replacement is with asbestos containing wall, roof and ceiling panels. These panels were and still are extensively produced and expansively used on a worldwide scale.
In widespread use are hundreds of millions of sq. ft/meters of asbestos containing concrete wall and roof panels. They are found in every country and can pose the greatest risk. They are often panels that are used to cover a structure and become the surface for both the interior and exterior - facing both a buildings inside and outside. One panel can be both the interior ceiling and exterior roof.
These common asbestos containing panels continue to be produced and used because they are cheap to fabricate and easily installed. They have great structural strength and insulation qualities. They are highly resistant to abuse, fire and chemicals while also being able to hold up long term. Being sustainable they can withstand the test of time, including against all types of severe weather events.
The only drawback which is quite serious is that over time they can continue to release harmful asbestos fiber into their surroundings. Unnecessarily exposing people to that dangerous and harmful fiber.
I emphasize unnecessary exposure because the simple, sane and widely acceptable quick fix is to easily encase those materials with a green coating encasement system. This practical, sustainable and renewable fix can have added benefits of waterproofing and fortifying the surfaces they are covering, while also turning them solar reflective, providing passive cooling, saving both energy and money.
All wall surfaces whether interior or exterior built with these asbestos containing panels can greatly benefit from the simple in place management fix with the right coating system. Although roofing is the main surface that can realize many more added benefits.
Often a leaking roof that is constructed with these asbestos containing materials can be sealed and waterproofed while at the same time preventing the release of harmful asbestos fibers.
Frequently it’s wrongly recommended that those materials must be removed and replaced. This causes the harmful and unnecessary generation, transportation and continued storage of that costly hazardous waste. In addition numerous times the replacement products in several ways are inferior to the original materials.
Instead of removal and replacing you can quickly, simply and safely seal over that leaking surface with the right green coating encasement system. This can instantly halt the potential release of asbestos, immediately stopping any water leaks and turn a dark roof into a solar reflective surface contributing to the passive cooling of the building interior. All with the single application of the right simple green coating encasement system.
So these wide ranging, enormous surfaces of asbestos containing materials - sprayed on fireproofing, wall and roof panels are the largest surfaces throughout the world that greatly benefit from this simple technique of installing a sustainable, green coating encasement system. Quickly and safely sealing them in place while instantly stopping the possible release of the dangerous fiber. They can make the most practical and eco-nomical sense when evaluating best practice for individual circumstances.
First taking into consideration all the factors, such as the high cost of removal and replacement, the generation, transportation and storage of hazardous waste, the investment of money and natural resources for the replacement materials, the time - duration of the project that can trigger indirect costs of building, production downtime and relocation fees for people and contents and once that evaluation is complete with a proper assessment of all the aspects to be considered – only then a logical decision should be made.
In many of the worldwide situations I’ve personally encountered with these two prevalent asbestos containing materials the logical and widely acceptable choice has been to safely seal and securely manage them in-place. Continuing to realize some of the benefits of those materials while at the same time stopping the potentially dangerous fiber release can make perfect sense. In addition also immediately realizing several of the added benefits of installing the right green coating encasement system while safely sealing in those materials.
In general terms of dealing with asbestos containing materials I’ve come a crossed numerous situations where management in place was the superior and the preferred option over the more costly - full blown removal and replacement.
So in closing it always goes back to a case by case decision on what is the right course of action for any individual project or situation and again always taking into account all circumstances, financial and personal.