Asbestos Requirements: Significant New Development for Building Owners

03/13/2002

If you are a building owner planning any renovation or demolition, under a new Texas law, you must demonstrate that you have an asbestos survey before your city  will issue a building permit for the project.  Asbestos surveys by licensed asbestos inspectors have been a requirement for public buildings for some time; the new statute is intended to publicize and enforce that requirement.  Each city has its own requirements for what must be shown to get a permit.
 
Public and commercial buildings that are regulated under the statute are non-residential buildings and apartment complexes larger than four-plexes.  Your asbestos survey must be kept at the project site and available for inspection to the Texas Department of Health upon request.  The Texas Department of Health is expected to conduct inspections of owners who have obtained building permits since January 1, 2002 and have certified that they have an asbestos survey.  Although the statute provides for an engineer’s or architect’s certification of the absence of asbestos in lieu of an asbestos survey, the Texas Department of Health indicates that the certification is not a preferred or viable alternative.
 
In another significant statutory enactment on asbestos, the installation of building components containing more than 1% asbestos is now prohibited where there is an alternative material.  What this means is that your contractor must have material safety data sheets on all building materials that may contain asbestos and must review those to ascertain that building materials installed do not contain more than 1% asbestos.  A contractor who violates the statute is subject to a civil penalty up to $10,000 per day for each violation, and each day of violation can constitute a separate violation.
 
More information on these statutes is located on the Texas Department of Health website at www.tdh.state.tx.us, or if you have other questions contact your Haynes and Boone lawyer or the author listed at the top of this page.

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