Asbestos disclosure a ‘mine field’ for home inspectors

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DEAR BARRY: If a home inspector knew there was asbestos in a building that was being renovated, shouldn't he have said something? In this case, a safety officer finally shut down the project. Is the home inspector liable for not warning us about asbestos? --Gerald DEAR GERALD: The answer to your question has some complexities. First of all, a home inspector cannot know for certain that a particular material contains asbestos. Some building materials may be suspect, but laboratory analysis is necessary to conclude that asbestos fibers are present. Secondly, the standards of practice for home inspectors specifically exclude environmental hazards. Therefore, home inspectors are not liable in a legal sense for not disclosing asbestos materials. On the other hand, experienced home inspectors are aware, or should be aware, of materials that are likely to contain asbestos. Common examples include acoustic textured ceilings, old forms of duct insulation, vinyl floor coverings, ol...