Recently several PHCC Contractors have incurred liability by not testing for asbestos prior to performing work. Insurance companies have refused to pay homeowner’s claims on damage because of the lack of an asbestos test, and subrogated (transferred liability) to contractors.
Asbestos testing is required on ALL plumbing & HVAC construction work that disturbs asbestos, even in the case of newer homes where imported products can still contain asbestos. An asbestos survey is required regardless of the age of the property, because of asbestos-infused construction materials imported from Mexico, Canada & China.
NOTE: City inspectors or code enforcement can ask for proof of survey and if not produced they can write a correction notice or notify AQMD. The maximum fine amount allowed by the State of California is $25,000 per day.
Who can conduct an asbestos survey? A Certified Asbestos Consultant (CAC) and a Certified Site Surveillance Technician (CSST) . When a CSST collects a sample, a CAC to write report is still required. Each and every CAC or CSST is licensed and registered with the State of California. Unlike plumbing or general contractors, where as long as the owner has a contractor’s license or plumbing license you can have employees work underneath it; in the testing industry, the person collecting the sample, has to be licensed with the State.
Insurance Adjusters require proof of survey. If a homeowner claim is involved with regards to any sort of damage, an adjuster is assigned, and proof of asbestos survey is requested. If no survey was conducted, the insurance company will order it, and if asbestos is found, they will subrogate against the contractor (recover the expense of the asbestos abatement) which could cost contractors thousands. PHCC of California partner Federated Insurance offers pollution liability insurance through their carriers. Contact our offices at 916-925-7390 for a Federated representative near you.
Only a DOSH Asbestos licensed contractor can do abatement and removal. The State of California has a list of registered contractors that can conduct asbestos contracting work. Check your current asbestos contractor’s license and ensure it is current as you do not want to sub out a contractor not properly licensed and incur liability. https://www.dir.ca.gov/databases/doshacru/acrusearch.html
A PHCC Contractor may consider adding a C-22 Asbestos Abatement License Classification to their existing license. Contact PHCC of California for CSLB assistance in obtaining the proper forms at firstname.lastname@example.org. Training is also offered for Asbestos Testing, contact our office for more information.
Each local PHCC Association can recommend asbestos testing contractors. Visit Join Your Local PHCC to contact your local association, and ask for their recommendation on an asbestos-testing contractors.
Below are a summary of links that provide an overview of asbestos requirements in California.
EPA – Asbestos NESHAP (National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants)
Federal OSHA Standard 29 CFR 1926
State of California OSHA Standard Title 7 CCR 1529
California EPA – Department of Toxic Substances Control – Asbestos Disposal
California List of Air Quality Management Districts
Rule 1403 – Southern California Air Quality Management District
Rule 1403 – SCAQMD Rule – Frequently Asked Questions
CSLB C-22 Asbestos Abatement License Classification Information
CSLB Consumer Brochure on Asbestos
AQMD Consumer Brochure on Asbestos
PHCC of California thanks Hether Flores of Emergency Services Restoration, Inc. and Gio Fanelli of ERT for their contributions to this post.