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Beware of old asbestos panels

December 4, 2023  By Patrick Flannery

Jim Brady of Cal-Tech Glass in Calgary is raising the alarm over hardboard spandrel panels installed in the 1960s and ’70s that contain asbestos. He cautions that project owners may not be aware of the asbestos content in the products and that glaziers should take precautions before accepting jobs that involve their removal or disposal.

Brady points to two products he has identified that may constitute a risk. According to original product literature available online, certain GlasWeld and Alcoa Asbestos Alply Wall Building Panels may contain asbestos.

“I have attached a picture of a project that I quoted earlier this year,” Brady reported in a email.  “I told the GC that I didn’t want to remove the existing unless it could be proven that they weren’t GlasWeld panels containing asbestos. They did a test and it was in fact asbestos. Had I not made them check, unsuspecting glaziers could have been put in harm’s way. I didn’t get the job but at least an addendum came out making everyone aware that these needed to be professionally abated.

“Given the new practice of removing old framing and installing new energy efficient frames, I think it would be prudent to teach apprentices and journeymen about the history of this product,” Brady added.





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1 Comment » for Beware of old asbestos panels
  1. Avatar photo Steve Gusterson says:

    There was quite a bit of that installed in Ontario in the same time frame; often used in schools to reduce the expanses of glass that were predominant in 1950’s/1960’s school designs. Fortunately, it’s usually Type 1 so unless you break it or cut it, removal is not terribly onerous. Don’t confuse the asbestos containing products such as GlasWeld with another slightly later infill product though. Porcelain coated, stucco embossed or smooth faced aluminum or steel panels look very similar but are not a health concern…at least not that we know of at the moment!

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