When owning an older home, it is important to know what risks and safety hazards you could face. Some of these risks have simple fixes, but others can be more difficult or may stop you from purchasing a heritage home altogether.
Questions to ask yourself regarding the safety of your old home:
Overview of potential safety concerns:
» Antique Home: What Should I Look for When Buying an Old House?
Electrical and Fire Risks Explained:
» PowerChek: Electrical Risk of Heritage Homes
» PowerChek: Older Homes – Fire Risks Explained
» PowerChek: Knob and Tube Wiring Explained
» Vancouver Heritage Foundation : Hazardous Materials & Safety in Older Buildings
» Worksafe BC’s Asbestos Hazards When Renovating Older Homes and watch their video on the same topic.
Many of the safety risks of renovating an older home consist of the risks expected in any renovation project. You can read BC Housing’s pamphlet on Managing Environmental Risks During a Renovation Project for an overview of these risks.
Additional risks for older homes are often associated with the increased degradation of materials as a result of their age. Caution is recommended for all renovation projects, and those working on older homes must be aware of the increased risk when working on projects that might appear simple.
From Worksafe BC:
In order to properly identify asbestos in your home, you must hire a qualified testing company or asbestos surveyor. The testing company or surveyor will take samples of possible asbestos-containing materials in your home, and send them to a lab for testing. The surveyor will then provide you with a report of the location of asbestos in your home.
Once you have identified the asbestos-containing materials in your home, the next step is to have the identified asbestos removed by a qualified asbestos abatement contractor. Provide the contractor with the report from the surveyor to ensure that all of the identified asbestos-containing materials are removed. Once the work has been completed, the abatement contractor will provide you with a report confirming that all asbestos has been removed, and your property is ready for demolition or renovation.