Asbestos FAQ's

Below you'll find answers to many of the commonly asked questions regarding asbestos

Frequently Asked Questions

Does Wise Abatement Guarantee their work?

YES! The final step in our removal process is to sample and test the air quality. Once analysis is complete, a Removal Clearance Report will be issued to demonstrate the air quality meets or exceeds legislative requirements. This final Clearance Report will act as a certificate, so to speak, providing a guarantee that the asbestos is gone!

Is asbestos removal safe?

When done correctly, YES! Wise Abatement uses the latest and safest means of removing asbestos and strictly adheres to legislative requirements on every project, to ensure the safety of all. Safety is our top priority and we take it seriously.

Why remove asbestos?

Asbestos poses no threat until it becomes friable (airborne). Once friable, it’s known to cause Asbestosis, Lung Cancer, Mesothelioma and other Cancers. Due to the harmful nature of asbestos, it must be removed correctly if there’s a chance it will be disturbed.

Can I remove asbestos or vermiculite myself?

No. Due to the hazardous nature of disturbing asbestos materials and legislation in place for the safe removal of it, you don’t want to place yourself or others in harm’s way. Our trained technicians will assess and safely remove the ACM from your property.

How long does asbestos removal take?

Removal times will vary depending on the volume of Asbestos Containing Material to be removed, the risk level involved and the size of the work space. Simple jobs can take as little as 1-2 days to complete. Our team is committed to meeting projects timelines, however we will never sacrifice safety and quality for speed. To gain an understanding of our general process, check out Our Process page.

Why was asbestos used?

Asbestos fibres are virtually indestructible; they are cheap, durable, flexible, fire resistant, chemical resistant, and naturally act as an insulating and fireproofing agent. These qualities made asbestos so profitable and useful it was used in over 3,000 products; 15-20 of those products were building materials.

What is vermiculite?

Vermiculite is loose-fill insulation that was commonly used in attic spaces and hollow masonry construction. Vermiculite is resistant to fire and chemical corrosion, and makes for an excellent insulating material. It was a popular material used in residential homes and commercial buildings.

What happens if I find asbestos after I already have a building permit?

“In the event that asbestos is discovered, or a change to your scope of work has resulted in the potential for releasing asbestos for a project that already has a permit, you are expected to:

  1. immediately stop work; and
  2. address the asbestos that has been encountered by:
    a) providing notification as required by OH&S by completing the Asbestos Project Notification form; and
    b) ensuring asbestos will be dealt with according to OHS requirements; and
  3. submit a building permit revision to include a revised Asbestos Abatement form acknowledging the removal of asbestos before resuming work pursuant to the building permit.”

Source: City of Calgary Website

Should I test for asbestos?

Asbestos was used in a variety of construction materials in homes, offices and commercial buildings up to the late 1980’s. To be safe, testing is recommended for any building/renovations completed before 1990.

Vermiculite insulation in attics and walls was similarly used in residential and commercial buildings until the mid-80’s and should be removed accordingly.

Where is asbestos commonly found?

Asbestos was used in a variety of materials and is most commonly found in:

  • VCT Floor Tiles
  • Linoleum
  • Drywall Mud or Plaster
  • Popcorn Ceiling Texture
  • Stucco & Parging
  • Transite siding
  • Boilers
  • Gaskets
  • Pipe Wrap Insulation
  • Window Putty
  • Transite Pipes
  • Brick & Block Mortar
  • Insulation
  • Vermiculite
  • Roofing
Do I need a building permit to perform asbestos abatement work?

“No. A building permit is not a permit to perform asbestos abatement work. Rather, this form is required as part of your building permit application and serves as notification to alert Building Regulations that asbestos abatement will be undertaken. Limited demolition or construction is expected during asbestos abatement work and jurisdiction for this work is with the Government of Alberta.”

Source: City of Calgary Website

Should we remove asbestos if we are NOT disturbing it?

Asbestos only becomes dangerous once it’s airborne and inhaled. There’s no requirement to remove asbestos that will remain un-disturbed; however, some choose to remove asbestos containing materials from their property simply for peace of mind.

Why is asbestos so dangerous?

Because asbestos is so resilient, once it becomes airborne and is breathed in, fibres become stuck in the lungs and do not easily break down. Over time, asbestos fibres cause scarring and inflammation which can eventually lead to Mesothelioma, Asbestosis, Lung Cancer or pleural disorders. These can be serious and fatal diseases.

When is it safe to re-occupy an abatement area?

Once the Removal Clearance Report is issued, demonstrating that the air quality meets or exceeds legislative requirements, it’s safe to enter.

Can we live in our home while asbestos is being removed?

YES! At Wise Abatement we use the latest and safest means of removing asbestos and strictly adhere to legislative requirements. This means any asbestos disturbed will never enter occupied areas. We do our best to minimalize the disruption in your space during the process; however, there will be minimal background noise from equipment and removal of the materials.

How do I test for asbestos and how long does it take?

Our trained technician will collect samples suspected of containing asbestos from your project area and submit them to a certified lab for analysis. Results typically take two business days to process; however, results can be available within 3 hours, should you require.

Is vermiculite dangerous?

YES! Most of the worlds vermiculite supply (Zonolite) came from the Libby Montana mine by W.R. Grace and company. The asbestos fibres found in most zonolite, called tremolite, is particularly dangerous due to its physical properties and how easily it can become airborne. EXTREME CAUTION and care should be taken when removing vermiculite from any space.

Where can I find more information?

For additional information on asbestos removal, testing, and disposal procedures, refer to the Alberta Asbestos Abatement Manual.

More general and specific information about asbestos can be found at:

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