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Professional Standards Manual

Notice of Change: Information in this manual changed when new agency and disclosure rules came into effect on June 15, 2018. Learn more about the new rules.

Trading Services

4. General Information

(a) Contract Clauses - View Entire Section

(XXV) Health and Environmental Concerns - View Subsection
(4) Asbestos Awareness is a Licensee’s Responsibility

[11/20/2012 The following section was added to the Professional Standards Manual]

WorkSafeBC is working to increase awareness about asbestos health and safety hazards relating to those undertaking repairs, renovations or demolitions in residential properties, whether done by property owners themselves or contractors. WorkSafeBC reports that incidences of asbestos related disease are increasing.

If not handled correctly, workers are in danger of inhaling asbestos-contaminated air and serious chronic health problems can occur. These diseases will not affect you immediately; they often take a long time to develop, but once diagnosed, it is often too late for corrective treatment. For licensees, heightened asbestos awareness is relevant when providing real estate services to buyers, sellers, landlords and strata corporations who are considering acquiring, disposing of, renovating, demolishing or undertaking repairs to a property that may have asbestos containing materials. This need for awareness applies equally to licensees who provide trading, rental or strata property management services. As licensees are regularly reminded, the Council expects licensees to take appropriate steps to alert their clients to the existence of known health or environmental concerns. This would include advising clients to have a property inspected for the presence of asbestos in advance of undertaking any of the activities described above and, further, alerting clients to the consideration of the costs, which may be substantial, associated with the removal of materials that contain asbestos.

Licensees will find a safety, health and environmental inspection/testing/government approval clause below that would be appropriate to be used by licensees representing buyers, who are offering to purchase a property in which there may be materials that may contain asbestos.

This clause is also found in the online version of the Professional Standards Manual.

According to WorkSafeBC information, building materials containing asbestos were commonly used in construction until around 1990. Materials used that may contain asbestos include, but are not limited to, insulation; shingles and felt for roofing; exterior siding; pipe and boiler covering; compounds and cement, such as caulk, putty, roof patching, furnace cement; wallboard; texture coat; acoustical ceiling tiles and plaster; vinyl floor tiles; linoleum; and wiring. Loose-fill vermiculite insulation may also contain traces of asbestos.

Licensees will find many useful online sources about asbestos and asbestos removal, which they and their clients may wish to review, including information provided by WorkSafeBC, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, the Provincial Government, and many municipalities throughout the Province. Here are links to just a few: