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Environmental Health Division
Demolition and Asbestos
What is a demolition?
Demolition is defined in the Minnesota Rules as the wrecking or taking out of any load supporting structural member of a facility together with any related handling operations. Demolition also is the intentional burning of the facility. This definition also applies to any portion of a facility.
Does MDH regulate demolition?
The Minnesota Department of Health's (MDH) Asbestos Rules apply to all demolition projects where friable asbestos-containing material (ACM) is present in amounts greater than
- 260 linear feet, 160 square feet or 35 cubic feet in non-residential buildings; or
- 10 linear feet, 6 square feet or 1 cubic foot in a single- or multi-family residence
Alternative rules may be used under certain circumstances.
When can I use these alternative rules?
The alternative rules are Minnesota Rules, parts 4620.3585 and 4620.3592, subpart 1, item A. These are also known as the "Demolition Rules". Two conditions must be met in order to even consider using the Demolition Rules when a facility is being demolished to the ground. If one or the other of these requirements cannot be met, then the Demolition Rules may not be used.
- The actual demolition of the facility must be started (but not necessarily completed) within 24 hours of completing all asbestos-related work. This means that main structural components must be significantly damaged. Knocking a hole in a wall with a sledgehammer is not considered significant damage to a main structural component. It is recommended that the Demolition Rules only be used on small buildings that can be demolished in one day.
- The facility must be secured to prevent entry following the completion of all asbestos-related work. Securing the site involves boarding up all windows, doorways, or other points of entry on the foundation and first level of the facility, not just locking them. This also means that no other individuals, including other contractors, building owner/representative, inspectors or fire department personnel are allowed access to the facility once you complete the asbestos-related work. If you are unsure if other individuals may be accessing the site after you complete your asbestos-related work, you should not use the Demolition Rules.
What are the "Demolition Rules"?
If both of the previous conditions can be met, then the Demolition Rules may be followed. Minnesota Rules, parts 4620.3585, subpart 2 and 4620.3591, subpart 1, item A allow specific exemptions for demolition. The following work practices are not required if you are following the Demolition Rules:
- Constructing a containment that includes floor and wall sheeting. The work site must still be posted with the proper warning signs.
- Removing the floor, wall and ceiling sheeting and performing the visual inspections.
- Replacing the HVAC system filters.
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Do I have to conduct air sampling during a demolition?
There are two exemptions for conducting air sampling during a demolition abatement utilizing the Demolition Rules.
- You do not have to collect indoor air samples if only individuals directly involved in the asbestos-related work will enter the facility during or after the project. This means that no other contractors, building owners/representatives, fire department personnel, etc. may enter the facility during or after the project. In addition, this exemption only applies if the entire facility is being demolished. If only a portion of the facility is being demolished, you cannot use this exemption.
- You do not have to collect final clearance air samples.
What happens if a facility or a portion of a facility is demolished before the ACM is removed?
If the amount of ACM is unknown or meets the requirements for a regulated project, then the following minimum work practices must be followed.
- The site must be secured and posted with warning signs.
- An emergency project notification must be submitted to the MDH.
- A Minnesota licensed asbestos contractor must be used for removal of ACM from the demolition debris.
- Only Minnesota certified asbestos workers or asbestos site supervisors can handle ACM at the site.
How do I find out more information?
For more information about asbestos, contact the Asbestos Program at MDH through the internet or by telephone at (651) 201-4620.
Also, your demolition project may be regulated by the asbestos NESHAP (40 CFR 61, subp. M) and Minnesota Solid Waste rules. For more information contact the Asbestos Program at MPCA or contact your regional Minnesota Pollution Control Agency Solid Waste Compliance and Enforcement staff.
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