Asbestos is a natural mineral with a fibrous structure, and a serious indoor pollutant. It was widely used in the past, especially by the building industry, as a component in concrete or resin compounds. It is a carcinogen, and a cause of lung diseases.
At the federal level, the ordinance governing construction work (BauAV) makes it mandatory to carry out a verification for the presence of any toxic substances (such as asbestos and/or PCB) before work may begin.
In addition, in Canton Ticino, Art. 9 of the Regulation concerning the application of the Building Law (RLE) requires that, as of January 1, 2014, in the case of demolition or conversion of buildings or plants built prior to January 1, 1991, the building planning application must contain an assessment which meets the requirements set down by the Swiss Asbestos Consultants Association (ASCA), conducted by a specialist who appears on the list of specialists in planning and consulting in the field of asbestos remediation (SUVA). For more information on this topic, follow this link (Italian), or view the related article in the PUBLICATIONS section.
For more information
Asbestos is a natural mineral composed of fibres. These fibres are particularly resistant to fire, acid, fungal and micro-organism attack, resulting in their widespread use in many applications till the beginning of the nineteen-nineties. In the past, the fibres were spun and mixed with other substances, such as cement or resins, to create composite materials. These technical features and low cost led to asbestos being used in many fields. The same morphological and technical properties of the fibres are the root cause of the toxicity of the asbestos. Typical pathologies are associated with the lungs (such as asbestosis, mesothelioma and cancers) and can have long incubation periods.
In Switzerland, the marketing and use of asbestos was banned in 1990 by the Ordinance on Hazardous Materials in the Environment (StoV), today no longer in force, now superseded by the current Chemical Risk Reduction Ordinance (ORRChem).
In addition, as stated by SUVA, “if the presence of asbestos is suspected, and this poses a hazard when processing or using a property, the suspect material should be analysed. Construction work is subject to the obligation of assessment before work is permitted to commence“. This obligation derives from Art. 3 “Planning of Construction Work” of the Construction Order Ordinance (OLCostr): “If there is a suspicion that there are particularly toxic substances such as asbestos or polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), the building contractor must carefully assess the dangers and related risks involved. Based on these analyses, the necessary measures must be planned. If hazardous substances should arise during construction work, this work must be discontinued and the client advised”.
For more information see www.suva.ch/asbest.
Taking of solid samples for analysis
Taking samples of airborne dust and fibres for analysis
Training of building personnel regarding safety with asbestos
Management of waste containing asbestos
In residential buildings
Inspection for materials containing asbestos
Planning remediation and enclosure
Management of remediation and enclosure
For demolition projects
Inspection for materials containing asbestos
Remediation project management
Remediation planning prior to demolition
The asbestos consultants from ECONS SA have completed specialised training courses in the various fields of application.
ECONS SA is also associated with ASCA (Swiss Association of Asbestos Consultants) as a member and in the committee. We are included in the following lists of specialized companies:
- SUVA (INSAI)
- ASCA (Swiss Association of Asbestos Consultants)
- Rete Infoamianto (Asbestos Information Network – in Italian only)
- FACH (Forum Asbestos Switzerland)
ECONS SA has also provided basic training courses on asbestos-containing materials at the SSIC – Swiss Contractors Association, Ticino Section of Gordola, and for private companies in the Canton of Ticino.
For more information or out of curiosity, please refer to our publications in some national magazines: PUBLICATIONS
List of risk-related materials and products
- Roof made of cement-fibre corrugated sheeting
- Insulation on pipes
- Heating system flanges
- Asbestos-containing oven insulation cord
- Window plaster
- Pressboard panels
- Light-weight insulating panels
- Fire retardant fabric
- Tile adhesive
- Boiler with internal fibrous-cement parts
- Electric panel with fiber cement panel
- Synthetic floor covering with bituminous glue