Charleston International Airport Renovation Delayed By Asbestos

Discovery of toxic asbestos-containing substances has greatly complicated renovations of the Charleston International Airport in South Carolina. Before the asbestos discovery the airport was in the middle of a $189 million renovation that was set to commence next year in August 2015. These complications represent the difficulties that can arise in the removal of asbestos-containing substances discovered during building renovations and construction.

The Charleston Airport Renovations

Construction being conducted at the Charleston International Airport is part of a grand $189 million expansion and renovation plan for the almost-30 year-old airport terminal. Renovations being conducted for this two-and-a-half year project include the construction of a brand new administrative offices, as well as the creation of a new state of the art consolidated security checkpoint.

Renovation work at Concourse A of the airport revealed the presence of asbestos-containing substances. The discovery occurred during the removal of the Concourse A front wall in order to replace it with a glass exterior for better sunlight. Additional asbestos was discovered in the parts of the Airport that will be the sites for both the new offices and the expanded consolidated security checkpoints. The asbestos-containing material discovered at the sites was a tar-esque substance often utilized in the installation of waterproofing materials and vapor barriers. This asbestos-containing substance was concealed deep beneath the brick-covered walls of the terminal. Concerns immediately arose for the safety of the construction workers at the airport because inhalation of asbestos-containing fibers has been acknowledged to be responsible for life threatening illnesses such as mesothelioma, lung cancer and asbestosis, to name a few.

The Removal Process for Asbestos

By all accounts the handling of the asbestos exposure by the construction firm Michael Baker Inc. was considered both thorough and properly conducted. Upon discovery of the asbestos, the areas where exposure arose were quickly contained. It is believed that swift action prevented air travelers from potential exposure because the contaminated areas were successfully barricaded, and public access had been swiftly restricted. Currently, removal of the asbestos-containing materials is still occurring while renovations simultaneously continue at other sections of the airport.

Following the asbestos discovery it was estimated that the project would need an additional 77 days in order to complete the renovations. However, a thorough assessment by asbestos professionals estimates that the renovations will only be delayed by 32 days. The construction firm conducting the renovations stated that the $670,000 costs for asbestos exposure will be taken from an unexpected expenses account that set aside 11.2 million dollars for situations such as these. However, the one-month delay on construction led to the discovery of additional repairs required for faulty fire hydrants/valves and waterlines. These repairs will cost the airport an additional $252,000, which will also be withdrawn from the contingency fund.

Asbestos-containing substances are often discovered in during building renovations and constructions. Contact an asbestos exposure attorney if you feel you may have been exposed to asbestos-containing substances.


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