ABOUT THIS WEBSITE

This website has been created by the State of Geneva in partnership with the Gelbert Foundation. It is aimed at anybody planning renovation or demolition work, on a small or large scale.

Some of the materials used in construction over the last 100 years have introduced substances that are toxic for humans and the environment. Three of them—asbestos, PCB (polychlorinated biphenyls) and lead, which are prohibited in Switzerland—are still present in properties in Geneva.

The risks of exposure are limited during the normal use of a building, i.e. when you live or stay in a building that may contain these substances. However, when you are planning work on materials that may contain asbestos, PCB or lead, it is essential that renovations or demolitions are carried out according to the rules to avoid any harm to health or the environment.

Whether you are a builder or architect, property manager or owner, engineer or private individual, this website will provide you with all the information that you need in order to renovate, transform or carry out demolition work safely.

To read if you are renovating...
Before opening the worksite
When do the parts of the building affected by the works date from?
Removing the substances
What to do if the diagnosis reveals the presence of hazardous substances.
Opening the worksite
When can you start the work?
  • Work can begin as soon as the area to be renovated, transformed or demolished no longer contains any hazardous substances.
     
  • After the asbestos has been removed, an expert must be appointed to check the work and measure the asbestos fibres in the air before the confinement can be lifted
     
  • If this is not the case, return to the "Before opening the worksite" stage".
Before opening the worksite
When do the parts of the building affected by the works date from?
Removing the substances
What to do if the diagnosis reveals the presence of hazardous substances.
Opening the worksite
When can you start the work?
  • Work can begin as soon as the area to be renovated, transformed or demolished no longer contains any hazardous substances.
     
  • After the asbestos has been removed, an expert must be appointed to check the work and measure the asbestos fibres in the air before the confinement can be lifted
     
  • If this is not the case, return to the "Before opening the worksite" stage".
Before opening the worksite
When do the parts of the building affected by the works date from?
Removing the substances
What to do if the diagnosis reveals the presence of hazardous substances.
Opening the worksite
When can you start the work?
  • Après que l'entreprise spécialisée ait terminé le désamiantage, retiré le confinement  confirmé qu'il n'y avait plus d'amiante dans la zone de travaux.
     
  • Si ce n'est pas le cas, je retourne à l'étape "Avant de démarrer un chantier".
Before opening the worksite
When do the parts of the building affected by the works date from?
  • If the parts of the building on which you must work date from before 1991, ask the owner or their representative for the asbestos and PCB diagnosis to check that the materials you will be working on do not contain asbestos or PCB. If there is no diagnosis, inform the owner that this stage is mandatory before starting work.  
  • If the parts of the building on which you will be working date from after1991, you can consider that they do not contain asbestos or PCB.  
  • Before carrying out any work on paintwork dating from before 2006, check with the owner that they do not contain any lead. In case of doubt, apply the necessary precautions for working on paint containing lead.  
  • Check the directive from the Built Environment Toxicology Department regarding detecting lead prior to works..
Removing the substances
What to do if the diagnosis reveals the presence of hazardous substances.
Opening the worksite
When can you start the work?
  • Work can begin as soon as the area to be renovated, transformed or demolished no longer contains any hazardous substances.
     
  • After the asbestos has been removed, an expert must be appointed to check the work and measure the asbestos fibres in the air before the confinement can be lifted
     
  • If this is not the case, return to the "Before opening the worksite" stage".
Before opening the worksite
De quand datent les parties du bâtiment sur lesquelles je vais devoir intervenir ?
  • If the parts of the building on which you must work date from before 1991, ask your company manager, the architect or the owner for the results of the asbestos and PCB diagnosis.  
  • If the parts of the building on which you will be working date from after 1991, you can carry out the work.  
  • Before any works (sanding, matting, scraping, etc.) on paint dating from before 2006, ask your company manager, the architect or the owner for the results of the lead diagnosis. In case of doubt, apply the necessary precautions for working on paint containing lead.  
  • Check the directive from the Built Environment Toxicology Department regarding detecting lead prior to works.In case of doubt, ask your site manager for information.
Removing the substances
Des substances dangereuses sont présentes, que faire?
Opening the worksite
When can you start the work?
  • Work can begin as soon as the area to be renovated, transformed or demolished no longer contains any hazardous substances.
     
  • After the asbestos has been removed, an expert must be appointed to check the work and measure the asbestos fibres in the air before the confinement can be lifted
     
  • If this is not the case, return to the "Before opening the worksite" stage".

N.b.

INFORMATION OUT THERE

Professionals are available to assist you and answer any questions you may have so that you can carry out renovations safely. They move around the Canton free of charge in a special mobile unit that they will adapt to your subject:

  • examples of materials
  • case studies
  • general procedures

The "Pour des travaux sans danger" (Work safely) mobile unit is available on request (by reservation) or during public events:

Options available:

  • Customised sessions (1 hr. 15 approx.) with a professional presenter
  • Public exhibition
     

Information sessions by reservation on 022 546 76 00. . 

Listen to interviews with specialists:

1. A summary of the issue
2. Where to look for the substances
3. The dangers
4. The pre-works diagnosis (audio audio)
5. Making worksites safe and inspecting them