When it comes time to rehab or renovate a house or other building, it’s best to prepare well. Certainly, budgeting, material purchasing, and hiring contractors are all part of the preparation process. But don’t forget to plan for the possibility of safety issues and health hazards. Older homes and structures run the risk of having hidden dangers that can suddenly spring up. This can lead to lost time and money through remediation and, heaven forbid, an accident. Here are four big hazards in building rehabbing and renovation to keep in mind. Make sure you add a little extra to your budget just in case you encounter these.

Lead Paint

Lead paint turns up most frequently in homes built before 1978 that have seen little to no renovation since then. Left alone, under layers of paint or wallpaper, lead paint is often “safe.” However, when you disrupt it and allow dust or chips to spread, you run the risk of inhaling or ingesting it, which can lead to several serious health issues. If you test for and discover lead paint, it’s best to have professionals remove it. This is a careful process of stripping, scraping, and safely removing the resulting debris before repainting. Talk to your contractor about the next steps.

Asbestos Issues

Asbestos is likely everywhere in your older property. Once thought of as a wonder material, before 1975, it was common in insulation, fire prevention applications, and more. Now, it lurks behind the walls, in the joints and joists, around piping, in ceiling and floor tiles, and elsewhere. Unfortunately, if breathed in, asbestos dust and particles can cause lung cancer and other health issues. There are several things you should do before starting a renovation project, and testing for asbestos is chief among them. If it’s present, the job may require asbestos abatement or remediation from an expert.

Electrical Issues

The older the building, the more likely it’ll be to have old wiring somewhere. Left undisturbed, most old wiring does its job with few problems, but it’s not completely safe until the system gets new and up-to-code wiring and a modern circuit breaker box. Flickering or dim lighting, burning smells, scorch marks on outlets and switches, buzzing, and other signs can indicate old and faulty wiring. Have an electrician inspect everything before you start renovating. They may suggest several upgrades. Don’t skimp! Electrical issues can cause fires and other problems.

Structural Issues

The last of our four big hazards in building rehabbing and renovation is a big one. Have a structural engineer inspect the building’s frame to ensure it’s still capable of offering support. An inspector or structural engineer will check the floors, beams, joists, lead-bearing walls, and other elements to ensure they’re strong enough. A lack of structural support during renovation, as workers and equipment come and go through the house, might lead to a collapse during or after the job. Stay on top of the structure’s integrity!