Whether resulting from wind, fire or water damage, insurance claims often involve the demolition, reconstruction and restoration of buildings and property. Insurance companies and adjusters often take on the task of initiating and managing the related contractor restoration and reconstruction activities. In so doing, they may take on the equivalent role of the owner in that they may tender, contract and administer payment of contractors directly. Along with this role comes some important regulatory compliance requirements and responsibilities within the province of Ontario (and other provinces that insurance and claims professionals must be aware of. Failure to undertake the necessary pre-demolition and reconstruction surveys of hazardous materials, asbestos in particular, can create exposure to potential liability and legal penalties for those involved.
Section 30 of the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act states that designated substances and other potentially hazardous building materials must be identified prior to construction or demolition activities that could potentially disturb such materials. Additionally, Regulation O. Reg. 278/05 – Asbestos on Construction Projects and in Buildings applies to the disturbance of asbestos-containing materials (ACM’s) on construction projects. Failure to carry out this critical regulatory requirement can carry with it significant consequences under the Act.