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RBC First Home  Real Estate Professionals across Canada

RBC First Home
Real Estate Professionals across Canada


WorkSafeBC cracks down on home demos and renos over asbestos concerns

VANCOUVER — Work safety officials say they are stepping up enforcement of home renovations in B.C. over concerns about asbestos after a high number of contractors were caught trying to cut corners last year.

Starting this month, WorkSafeBC says prevention officers will be increasing inspections at residential demolition and renovation sites to ensure contractors are adhering to health and safety laws when identifying and removing asbestos.

WorkSafeBC conducted 210 site inspections last year and found 43 per cent of hazardous material surveys done by contractors were inadequate, the agency said Tuesday. WorkSafeBC officers wrote 257 orders for hazardous materials violations and imposed 20 penalties.

Al Johnson, vice-president of prevention services at WorkSafeBC, said he didn’t have a number for how many more inspections there would be, but said they will be adding officers dedicated to inspecting residential renovations and demolitions.

“We’re making this a priority and our focus,” he said. “Most of the activity will take place in the Lower Mainland, but it is also a provincial initiative.”

If there is asbestos in a building, it is required by provincial law that it be identified; however some contractors, in trying to compete for business, won’t identify all the areas that potentially have asbestos so they can put in a lower bid for the contract, Johnson said. He added that “although it’s hard to believe” some contractors have also claimed they didn’t know asbestos may have been in the building.

Buildings constructed before the late 1980s contained construction materials with asbestos such as insulation, floor tiles, cement pipes, drywall, linoleum and spray applied fire proofing.

“They are not doing complete surveys. They might identify one wall … but what about the other walls? What about the floor tile, duct material, taping compounds, installation? We need them to do a thorough risk assessment.”

Penalties vary depending on payroll, so larger companies pay more for infractions. They can range from $1,000 up to $30,000.

Johnson said 77 workers died in 2014 from asbestos-related diseases. “While asbestos does not pose a health risk when left undisturbed, preventable exposures can cause fatal lung diseases with symptoms developing many years later,” he said.

WorkSafeBC says hundreds of houses are demolished and renovated every month in B.C. with an increase over the summer months.

Five B.C. municipalities: Coquitlam, Vancouver, Saanich, Nanaimo and Port Coquitlam are working with WorkSafeBC and require those seeking demolition permits to provide results of an adequate hazardous material survey before issuing a permit.

Last month, Health Canada made changes to the way it describes the health risks associated with asbestos exposure. Chrysotile asbestos, mined in Canada and exported until the last operation in Quebec went bankrupt, used to be referred to on the department’s website as being less dangerous than other forms of the mineral.

But that section was removed in the last month, as was a reference to the risks associated with inhaling “significant quantities” of asbestos fibres.

The website now states “asbestos, if inhaled, can cause cancer and other diseases.”

The World Health Organization maintains all types of asbestos can cause lung cancer, mesothelioma, cancer of the larynx and ovary, and asbestosis.


With files from The Canadian Press

Home Maintenance Inspection

Home Maintenance Inspection

Enjoying your home requires proactive maintenance. Having proper and on-going maintenance performed on your home is essential to ensure all home components and mechanical systems are good working order. A full review of your house performed every 3-5 years would provide great peace of mind.

Your Maintenance Inspection:

  • Provides a reference point for all future home maintenance
  • Prioritizes any deficiencies
  • Required (items that require immediate attention)
  • Deferred (items that should be attended to soon)
  • Future Maintenance (items to be aware of do down the road)
  • Recommendations and guidance for repairs and improvements
  • Helps in reducing energy consumption costs
  • Assist home owners avoid major repairs

We’ll be covering a lot of ground during the Maintenance Inspection, which includes areas such as:

  • Roof system
  • Eaves troughs and downspouts
  • Perimeter drainage
  • Heating systems
  • Fireplaces and chimneys
  • Smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors and other safety equipment
  • Indoor ventilation arrangements
  • Plumbing and fixtures
  • Exterior cladding, windows, doors, vents
  • Basement walls and drains

For more information about this topic or if you have questions on how a home inspection can help you, please contact us at 778.898.6831 or Thanks for checking in, be sure to visit us on Facebook as well for up to date news on enjoying your home.

Spot Old Electrical Wiring

Spot Old Electrical Wiring

Spot Old Electrical Wiring during Inspection

House electrical systems has come a long way. Today, we’ll be touching on (KT) Knob & Tube wiringSurprisingly, many older homes still have Knob &Tube wiring in the branch service. It poses many issues when discovered during a routine home inspection. The presence of KT wiring is also a talking point when its time for applying for home insurance. Here’s a few tips that you can use when when viewing your next house.

Clues that it may exist:

  • home built prior to 1950s
  • two prong electrical wall outlets. Only hot and neutral wires, electric circuit ungrounded
  • presence of round white porcelain knobs with wiring mounted in attic spaces and underside of floor joists
  • presence of round white tubes inserted through building framing such as floor joists and attic rafters
  • wiring is single stranded with rubberized sheathing which is brittle/cracked

For more information about this topic or if you have questions on how a home inspection can help you, please contact us at 778.898.6831 or Thanks for checking in, be sure to visit us on Facebook as well for up to date news on enjoying your home.


Choosing a natural gas contractor

Choosing a natural gas contractor

Choosing a natural gas contractor

Do you have plans to renovate or build? Whether they’re purely practical or driven by your dreams, natural gas can play a part in your new home.

When it comes time to connect your new natural gas furnace, water heater or appliances to your residential gas line, you’ll require the services of a registered natural gas contractor.

They’ll not only make sure your new equipment is installed safely and to code, but can also help you select the equipment that’s right for your family’s needs.

Look for contractors who:

  • are registered with the BC Safety Authority and employ licensed gas fitters
  • are bonded and insured for liability and property damage
  • offer warranties that cover equipment, materials and labour
  • offer maintenance and service after installation and after warranties have expired
  • provide customer references
  • are members in good standing of the Better Business Bureau

    installation safety of natural gas appliances by licensed gas fitters / contractors

It all begins with the quote

Request quotes in writing from more than one contractor. Your quote should include information about the materials your dealer will supply and install, and what labour the company will provide, including:

  • cost of permits and payment of fees
  • costs of subcontractors and trades persons (if they’re required)
  • all necessary taxes, appropriate grants or credits applied to total costs
  • estimate of the project’s completion date
  • warranty and service information

Depending on what work you’re having done, it may be helpful if your quote includes:

  • estimate of the future work required to upgrade piping size and tee connections for installation of  additional natural gas appliances and equipment
  • rough diagram showing the layout of ductwork and placement of piping in your home

Licensed Gas Contractor

The final step

You’ve requested quotes, checked references and decided on a contractor, but you’re not finished yet.When the contractor or gasfitter returns to install your residential gas line or natural gas appliance, ask to see the permit which legally enables the work. With that document in hand, you’re ready to begin the work.

Find a local Gas Fitter near you:   Search Licensed Contractors