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Old 02.09.2014, 11:42
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Ethanite (asbestos tiles)

Dear collective EFers

My husband and I are looking at buying a house. The roof/upper story is shingled in Ethanite tiles (asbestos tiles). They appear to be in good condition and should not need any attention (other than a good cleaning).

However, if we ever wanted to remodel where these tiles are, does anyone have any experience with the cost or problems of having them taken off and away?

Thanks for any information on this.
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Old 02.09.2014, 11:56
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Re: Ethanite (asbestos tiles)

Ensure the sales contract has it written that the former owner is liable for the costs of disposal.

This is "normal" practice in Switzerland.
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Old 02.09.2014, 11:57
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Re: Ethanite (asbestos tiles)

To be honest, I would check with the law first.

I have no experience with with house renovations in Switzerland, but in Australia there are prohibitive laws surrounding how asbestos has to be dealt with, and it's very expensive.

However, I should first point out that while the tiles are in good condition it won't pose any health risk, it's the removal of them that's the issue. You can't afford for them to break and splinter, the dust particles are the dangerous part.

Essentially, workers need to wear protective clothing, and the tiles wrappen in plastic when taken away.... what happens to them after that I have no idea. (hence the additional costs etc.)


As I said, I don't know about Switzerland, but if you intend to own this house for some time, this could be an issue some time down the track if the law changes (if it isn't already in place that is).
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Old 02.09.2014, 11:59
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Re: Ethanite (asbestos tiles)

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As I said, I don't know about Switzerland, but if you intend to own this house for some time, this could be an issue some time down the track if the law changes (if it isn't already in place that is).
Lots of laws in place - with Switzerland being early at adopting laws banning the various types. As mentioned, the sales contract should include a clause where the former owner (or estate thereof) is liable for the removal. This is a very common clause.
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Old 02.09.2014, 12:11
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Re: Ethanite (asbestos tiles)

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Essentially, workers need to wear protective clothing, and the tiles wrappen in plastic when taken away.... what happens to them after that I have no idea. (hence the additional costs etc.)
They get taken to a special waste disposal place, and you pay a special fee.

To dispose of the asbestos roof tile of a dog house that we had cleared before selling my inlaws' house, we paid CHF 700, so I would imagine significantly more for a house.

Tom
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Old 02.09.2014, 15:27
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Re: Ethanite (asbestos tiles)

Not all Eternit has asbestos. Depends on the year they were manufactured.
How old is the house?
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Old 02.09.2014, 15:29
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Re: Ethanite (asbestos tiles)

1979
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Old 02.09.2014, 15:31
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Re: Ethanite (asbestos tiles)

How the previous owner would be responsible for the asbestos once the house is sold? No chance

You need a professional to test samples and confirm that is asbestos, in case you want to do anything with it

While it might be easier to remove roof, (or not, I don't know) I paid 12K total for a specialist company to remove asbestos tiling in kitchen and bathroom.
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Old 02.09.2014, 15:34
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Re: Ethanite (asbestos tiles)

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Not all Eternit has asbestos. Depends on the year they were manufactured.
How old is the house?
Exactly - my old house had a shed in the garden (really old) that had asbestos based eternit corrugated roof panels. Much later it was added to, but non-asbestos eternit was used for the roof.
The newer roof was damaged in the hail storm of '09 and replaced, and the roofer (family friend) just took the panels away, although I seem to remember there was a small disposal charge.
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Old 02.09.2014, 15:35
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Re: Ethanite (asbestos tiles)

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How the previous owner would be responsible for the asbestos once the house is sold? No chance

You need a professional to test samples and confirm that is asbestos, in case you want to do anything with it

While it might be easier to remove roof, (or not, I don't know) I paid 12K total for a specialist company to remove asbestos tiling in kitchen and bathroom.
You have it included in the sales contract - and as I said (having spoken to a lawyer on this very topic) it is very common to include such a clause when the property being transferred is likely to contain asbestos. Anywhere that hasn't been renovated in the last 20 years is likely to contain it.
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Old 02.09.2014, 15:40
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Re: Ethanite (asbestos tiles)

I removed asbestos from my flat in London in 1982 & as a kid used to cut up asbestos, we put some under the piano in 1968 as the underfloor heating caused it to go out of tune quickly. Asbestos was used in our kitchen as well. Amazing how much the world has changed in such a short time, we knew it was dangerous to breathe in the dust even then .
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Old 02.09.2014, 15:43
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Re: Ethanite (asbestos tiles)

The use of asbestos was banned in Switzerland in 1989. As Dodgyken already stated, it is standard practice to include a liability clause for the correct removal and subsequent disposal of any asbestos found in a building which was built prior to 1989. This makes the seller of the property liable.. If no such clause is included in the contract the new owner will have to foot the bill..

Last contract I drafted with it, was for asbestos used as insulation in the loft. Both parties had a survey done with a quote for the removal etc which came in at around CHF 50k. If you, the buyer don't insist on this... then well "caveat emptor", its your risk.
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Old 02.09.2014, 18:14
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Re: Ethanite (asbestos tiles)

Interesting that this is apparently a standard clause. We bought an old house last year which we were very clear in planning to renovate. Our notaire mentioned nothing about this during the sale process. As expected, there was asbestos in the bathrooms which we just paid 6k CHF to have removed and disposed of.

Should we go back to our notaire to ask about this?
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Old 02.09.2014, 18:16
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Re: Ethanite (asbestos tiles)

Asbestos used as insulation is quite different to that used in corrugated roofing - the latter is much cheaper, easier, and safer to remove.
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Old 06.09.2014, 09:05
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Re: Ethanite (asbestos tiles)

FYI, we decided not to buy the house (for this and some other reasons).

Thank you all for your input
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Old 06.09.2014, 10:53
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Re: Ethanite (asbestos tiles)

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Interesting that this is apparently a standard clause. We bought an old house last year which we were very clear in planning to renovate. Our notaire mentioned nothing about this during the sale process. As expected, there was asbestos in the bathrooms which we just paid 6k CHF to have removed and disposed of.

Should we go back to our notaire to ask about this?
Same here. We knew (or figured) there'd be asbestos, so simply took that into account when deciding whether to make an offer and how much. Nobody mentioned the possibility of drafting such a clause into the sale contract.

I think I'm actually happier this way, we bought the house completely as-is and have no further dealings with the seller one way or another. If he moves to Patagonia and doesn't leave a forwarding address - no skin off my nose. One less thing to worry about.
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Old 06.09.2014, 11:52
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Re: Ethanite (asbestos tiles)

foreign building companies are still using asbestos in wall insulating -just take a look and watch the new flats being built-it's shocking but they seem to get away with it!!
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Old 06.09.2014, 11:55
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Re: Ethanite (asbestos tiles)

This thread is making me nervous...

I bought my house 'as is', knowing that it was a complete renovation project. I figured that into the price I paid. Common sense.

This is common in the US - you do your due diligence, estimate your risk, adjust your offer accordingly... and you take live with your decisions. (Now I know why the seller was so happy to find a non-Swiss buyer...)

I would not in a million years have dreamed of going back to the seller for problems found later. Of course there will be problems discovered when one guts a house, and most of the time a seller couldn't have known of the problem as it only became apparent when flooring was torn up or walls knocked down.

I've maintained the house very well. But it is 10 years since the last renovation.

So now as a seller... I would prefer to price the house low, sell 'as is', let the buyers do whatever renovations are needed/wanted, just as when I bought it. Given the type of property, a small house likely to appeal to a young-ish family with children, folks who likely could not afford the house if newly renovated, this seems the best marketing strategy to sell quickly.

How then do I protect myself from a buyer coming back for money later?
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Old 06.09.2014, 11:59
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Re: Ethanite (asbestos tiles)

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I removed asbestos from my flat in London in 1982 & as a kid used to cut up asbestos, we put some under the piano in 1968 as the underfloor heating caused it to go out of tune quickly. Asbestos was used in our kitchen as well. Amazing how much the world has changed in such a short time, we knew it was dangerous to breathe in the dust even then .

...........and it's still not working ?
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Old 06.09.2014, 16:15
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Re: Ethanite (asbestos tiles)

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How then do I protect myself from a buyer coming back for money later?
Write it in the contract. The house is sold as-is, buyer agrees that seller shall bear no further responsibility after the handover date. I can hunt up our contract for the kind of language used if you're interested... but it's probably the same sort of stuff that was in yours when you bought the place.

Obviously I don't know for a fact that that's completely foolproof, maybe there are certain things the seller would be required by law to know/disclose but in Switzerland I can imagine that list is pretty short. As you've remarked before, the real estate culture here is very caveat-emptor. Sellers don't seem to bear much risk (apart from the obvious risk of not finding a buyer.)

I'd be curious to know whether this asbestos clause is really "standard" in the sense that, say, 80% of sales contracts on older houses include it - or merely "standard" in the sense that it recurs frequently enough to be a copy-paste job, rather than having to be composed from scratch.
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