There’s a threat lurking on every construction site that can potentially ruin your business long after the project has finished. Twenty years ago, the “leaky condo” construction crisis occurred in BC. A crisis that resulted in four billion dollars worth of mold and water damage to over 900 buildings and housing units due to the improper installation of the building envelope. Since then, there has been pressure on construction contractors to consider the environmental impact of their work, specifically when it comes to mold and pollution.

Toxic substances sound like they belong in a sci-fi movie, and may not be something contractors consider when purchasing insurance. However, according to an article in the Huffington Post, the construction industry is a dirty business. As an industry, it produces more pollution and greenhouse gas emissions than the aviation industry.

That’s not to say a residential renovation project has the same impact on the environment as a transatlantic flight. Still, there are environmental liability risks that should be taken into consideration when determining your risk management strategy. After all, common construction pollutants like dust and mold are more likely to affect your clients than the emissions from a plane.

Improper installation of materials, failure to properly seal a construction site, or negligence can contribute to the sudden or gradual onset of pollution at a job site, which may result in both bodily injury and property damage. For example, a hospital in Yellowknife is currently tackling a complex clean-up project following a grey water leak, which led to mold infestation in the hospital’s dialysis unit. Contractors were called in for repairs, but the project was canceled soon after discovering that they neglected to seal off the job site properly, which has caused construction dust to enter the patient areas and airborne mold to get into the HVAC system.

Woman in Insurance

When it comes to your business, a claim or lawsuit can be filed against you long after a job has wrapped up, so it is essential to make sure you are covered. For example,a couple in Ottawa is currently suing Tamarack Homes for damages, claiming that their failure to install a vapor barrier led to a mold infestation in their basement well after the project was completed. Contractors called in to do home renovations may find themselves disrupting and distributing potential pollutants left behind by contractors who didn’t take proper measures to clean the project site.

What is Pollution Liability Insurance?

Pollution liability insurance policy covers clean-up costs, bodily injuries, or property damages caused by pollution or toxic substances produced as a result of your work is necessary. There is a common misconception that contractors only need pollution insurance if they work with hazardous waste and materials; however, nearly all contractors are exposed to a varying level of pollution that isn’t covered by a commercial general liability policy. 

Every day construction activities such as drilling, trimming, and installing materials can cause solid particles to become airborne, leading to potential bodily injury and property damage. Silica dust that spreads from drilling and grinding is particularly dangerous and can lead to many health issues if inhaled.

How Much is Pollution Liability Insurance?

Zensurance is the first brokerage to offer Totten Group’s Contractor Pollution Liability product online, which means instant access to pricing and customized limits. Small- to medium-sized business owners can protect their construction business from pollution liability risks with policies starting at $3,500 a year for a $2M limit.

At Zensurance, we help small businesses think big. Protect your business by up to 35% off the competition by getting a free pollution liability insurance quote.