Date: June 6, 1997
                                           C.C. File No. 1306-2

   TO:       Vancouver City Council

   FROM:     Manager of Building Management and General Manager of Human
             Resource Services

   SUBJECT:  Asbestos Control Program and Staffing


        A.   THAT Council approve the Asbestos Control Program as ongoing
             and until such time as it is no longer required under Workers 
             Compensation Board Regulations.

        B.   THAT Council approve the establishment of three regular
             Asbestos Surveyor/Worker positions replacing the existing
             temporary positions at no additional cost to the Operating


        The General Manager of Corporate Services recommends approval of A
        and B.


   Council establishes regular positions for staffing long term projects
   and service programs.


   The purpose of this report is to inform Council about the progress of
   the Asbestos Control Program and recommend actions to continue to
   execute the program in an effective manner.


   On April 11, 1989, upon WCB (Workers Compensation Board) order, Council
   approved the Asbestos Control Program with 1989 operating funding of
   $176,000. Four temporary Asbestos Surveyor/Worker positions were
   established for the City. Subsequently three additional similar
   positions were temporarily established for the Park Board Asbestos
   Control Program. The term of the Program was uncertain especially
   because the WCB requirements were changing and it was impossible to
   foretell what level of response would prove to be appropriate and
   economical in the long run. City staff would survey all City owned and
   occupied properties to determine and record all asbestos containing
   building materials, attend to all emergency repairs to minimize the
   probability of exposure to  airborne asbestos fibres by workers,
   implement a continuous inspection program to ensure that deterioration
   could be detected as early as possible, and take remedial action by
   repair or complete removal if required. Funding requests for major
   remediation projects were submitted annually in the Supplementary
   Capital Budgets. Requests for major projects such as the
   Museum/Planetarium, Kerrisdale Library and Queen Elizabeth Theatre were
   specifically approved by Council.

   The mission of the Asbestos Control Program was to satisfy WCB
   requirements and to protect City staff and assets from contamination
   effectively and efficiently. The standards required and the high costs
   of remediation were publicly questioned in North America. In March,
   1991, Council considered a report from the Medical Health Officer and
   the Director of Housing and Properties which expressed concerns
   regarding the justification for increasing expenditures on asbestos
   control. Council resolved to invite senior WCB representatives in order
   to get information related to risk assessment and cost/benefit analysis.
   A meeting was held and medical data and other information were provided.
   WCB s position was that as a regulatory authority, they were not
   agreeable to starting discussions about the standards, and the
   enforcement of law was not a matter for negotiation, especially where
   worker health and safety was at stake. In 1993, WCB conducted public
   hearings in preparation for reducing permissible asbestos exposure
   levels even further. The City made representations objecting to the
   proposed changes. In 1993, WCB officially reduced the permissible 8-hour
   exposure level for chrysotile asbestos from 2.0 to 0.1 fibres per cubic


   The survey of the buildings is complete. Staff produced and distributed
   to each facility a specific manual listing and describing asbestos
   containing materials in that facility. The manual gives essential
   information to contractors and staff regarding the location, type and
   condition of asbestos containing material. These manuals are used when
   there are plans to renovate or make changes to the systems or the
   interior of the facilities. Required quarterly inspections are carried
   out by the surveyors in order to determine if the condition of asbestos
   containing materials is stable and safe. In addition staff carry out
   minor and medium size removal work in civic facilities where risks can
   be effectively managed, such as the recently renovated areas of the
   Public Safety Building. Staff perform minor patch and repair, glove bag
   removal on mechanical piping, reinsulation, project management and
   conduct awareness and training programs for City staff. Major removal
   work is tendered, and generally supervised by consultants. At times,
   staff supervise the contractors for reasons of scheduling, security and
   coordinating the removal work with concurrent projects. The breakdown of
   the annual total program costs is as follows:

   -    consulting + sample analysis + air monitoring:   $ 55,000
   -    removal and restoration by contractors:           310,000
   -    total in-house work done by staff:                150,000
   -    rent, vehicles, supplies, training, etc.:          35,000
   -    total program cost excluding Park Board:         $550,000

   This breakdown is expected to remain stable for several years. 

   In addition to the regular work staff perform as described above, there
   is a fluctuating requirement for inspecting properties which the City is
   considering purchasing, demolishing, redeveloping and attending to other
   environmental hazards in our properties such as lead paint, PCBs, cable
   insulation, and others.

   The components of the program constitute a mix believed to be the most
   cost effective, flexible and sustainable method of implementation. Thus
   a high degree of up-to-date
   expertise in the field is nurtured in-house. 

   During the startup of the program, the staff complement at the City
   comprised four asbestos surveyor/workers, a half time clerk, and 0.8 FTE
   assistant program manager. After the program stabilized, one
   surveyor/worker, the half time clerk and the assistant manager positions
   were phased out as temporary assignments.


   Asbestos as a building material cannot be eliminated economically until
   the structure is ready for demolition. The program must continuously
   maintain the asbestos containing materials in a safe condition during
   the remaining lives of existing buildings and those older buildings
   which are purchased by the City. With the removal work projected to take
   place due to irreparable asbestos containing materials and planned
   renovations, we expect the program to continue with minor changes well
   into the next century. We interpret the present state of WCB regulations
   and conclude that any accelerated mitigation, including complete
   removal, is prohibitive in cost. Following the present Council policy,
   the Asbestos Control Program will continue based on WCB compliance, with
   suitable internal cost effective adjustments, for a considerable number
   of years.


   Staff in the temporary positions have now been employed for periods up
   to six years on a temporary basis. As the program is clearly no longer
   temporary, it is appropriate to regularize the positions and give the
   incumbents some certainty with respect to their future employment.


   This report recommends regularizing three Asbestos Surveyor/Worker
   positions in the Building Management Business Unit of Corporate

   There will be no impact on the budget.

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