Asbestos Concerns Raise Renovation Price Tag on London, Ontario Police HQ

Four years after a $34 million project to renovate its police headquarters, the city of London, Ontario will need to pay an additional $1 million for asbestos abatement work at the site.

The cancer-causing material is present in ceiling tiles located in a section of the building that was not renovated. If one of the tiles were to fall and shatter, officers nearby could risk asbestos exposure.

This story highlights a major problem in renovations of older public buildings that take place all over North America. Oftentimes, authorities will try and save money by not performing full asbestos abatement work when it becomes known that there is asbestos in a particular location. Instead of paying for a full asbestos inspection and asbestos abatement at the time, they are often forced to remove asbestos on a piece-by-piece basis at a later date. This was the case in London.

“The original estimates to do what we wanted to do were substantially greater than the amount of money we were actually given,” Debuty Chief Ian Peer said to the London Free Press. “We were not able to get the funds back then to do all of the things we needed to do, so here we are some years down the road.”

“Every time you need to do anything, it begins to cost you a significant amount of money,” said Peer, explaining how the cost of a routine wiring job in the ceiling could spiral hundreds of dollars to ensure all safety precautions — from cordoning off the area and disposing of contaminated materials to paying removal specialists — are taken.

“It just begins to get to the point where it becomes more economically feasible to do the entire abatement,” he said.

Asbestos has been mined and used in the US since the late 1800s. The building and construction industries use it primarily for insulation, roofing, fireproofing and soundproofing.

Unfortunately, the characteristics of asbestos that make it so valuable for construction materials make it very dangerous to the human body. When asbestos fibers are inhaled, they may stay in the lungs for a very long time, causing inflammation, irritation, and eventually several devastating diseases, including the asbestos cancer mesothelioma, asbestosis, lung cancer, and other potentially life threatening illnesses.

If you believe you may have been exposed to asbestos and have developed on the above diseases as a result you may want to consider calling one of our asbestos attorneys to discuss your legal options. An experienced mesothelioma attorney can help you get the compensation that you and your family need and deserve.