By Barry Garson, J&M Keystone
Rule 1206 has been written into the San Diego Air Pollution Control District's (APCD) regulations for years now, but just since November 2017, have they been strictly enforcing the rule. Many organizations have taken it upon themselves to interpret the rule and, in my experience, it has lead to wrong decisions that could put the organization at risk as well as worker and staff safety. Here is what the FM needs to know about rule 1206.
Q: Does this rule apply to me, the property manager?
A: The rule applies to all owners and operators of any renovation or demolition project. So, yes, it does apply to you.
Q: We are only disturbing 100sf of building materials so we don’t have to test right?
A: "If smaller scale projects collectively, during any consecutive 365 days, add up to the amounts listed (in the rule), these renovations are subject to Rule 1206" (from the rule). The usual issue is that you don't really know when an emergency will occur so unless it's December 31 and you have not had any renovation or demolition projects since January 1, you are probably not exempt from testing.
Q: What if it's an emergency and I have to get rid of the building materials right away. Can I just skip the testing in that case?
A: No. The rule says that if it's an emergency, you are to test the materials prior to removal and within 2 working days of when the structure is no longer in danger of collapse.
Q: My building was built in the 90s, do I still have to test?
A: Yes. The rule states that age of the building is no longer a factor in whether or not you have to test. There is still asbestos in many building materials manufactured even today!
Q: This process takes too long and is too expensive. How do I justify this added expense and added time?
A: Actually, testing for asbestos only takes hours. Most labs can rush the results so that remediation or demolition can continue. Also, your insurance company may pay for the testing if the emergency is over your deductible however, asbestos samples are usually not very expensive. Also remember that you are testing to make sure that the workers remain safe as well as your staff members. If there IS asbestos present, additional personal protective equipment (PPE) is necessary and you would rather know how to keep people safe than respond to a lawsuit from an employee who claims to have been exposed.
Q: Different vendors tell me different things about what I should and shouldn't be doing. Who do I listen to about this rule?
A: Educate yourself first, by reading the actual rule, here. Second, call the APCD and ask them to provide you with some specific information about your buildings and projects. Here is a link to their page which gives you advice on how to comply. You can even call the APCD and speak to them directly when you have specific questions or rely on your trusted vendors that you know are fully educated on this topic.
As your vendor, we can educate you but since so many vendors want to assist, conflicting information may make it difficult for you to feel confident in your decision to test or not to test. Educate yourself and your staff and realize that this rule is not set up to cost you a lot of time and money, it is to assist in keeping everyone safe.