Deconstruction–Step One

Colorado has rules. There are more rules there than we are used to. We knew remodeling in a city would require lots of drawings and permits and inspections and stuff we don’t generally like to do. So the first step was to read the rules for remodeling in Arvada.

As most cities have done, Arvada has generously posted its rules on the city website:

Prominently featured on that website is the Building Inspection and Permits Link.

I read all the requirements for building permits and deconstruction permits. It appears that deconstruction is major work that involves moving plumbing or electrical outlets. That is what we will be doing when we remove the interior walls and slab, but it did not appear to apply to removing interior appointments like cabinets.

Even though the house was built after the heydey of asbestos use in construction (1984) in order to get a deconstruction permit, the house needs to be tested for Asbestos. Asbestos testing is required not by the city but by the state of Colorado. There is some exemption for private homes but the owner has to certify that the public will not be invited into the home. Since most LEED homes do hold public events at some time, and since we were interested in what the report would say, we decided to look for and obtain asbestos testing for the remodel.

The Asbestos Compliance Assistance Group located on the Colorado state website has lots of good information about testing for asbestos. I called their number and they helpfully directed me to the list of licensed contractors to perform the necessary tests. Contractor may not be the right word since the providers were mostly engineering and consulting firms.

The first provider I called was located in Arvada–that is how I chose him! And he was the nicest guy on the phone so I decided one call was enough and arranged with him to come out and test for the deadly substance. He took a total of 15 samples from drywall, floor mastic, and other house surfaces. And we had a nice chat about living in Colorado and Arvada in particular while he was at the house. It took a couple of weeks for his report to come back and thankfully the house was completely clear of asbestos! Good job Rick Luce!

Freedom Environmental Consultants, Inc

Now we have the signed form that the house is free of asbestos, which will allow us to apply for the deconstruction permit. We just have to have more information about how and when the project will start.

Turned out that the city said Asbestos testing was a state issue and they did not track it, besides as a home-owner I was exempt. Well, at least I know I was not breathing asbestos during the deconstruction. The initial floor plan and the engineer’s report about the need to remove the slab were sufficient documentation to merit the demolition permit from the city.

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