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NJDEP-Bureau of Environmental Radiation

 

Radon Preventative  Measures in New Construction


Introduction

If you are having a new home built and you are concerned about radon, you may want to include certain measures that will help minimize radon entry and/or make it easier to mitigate the home, if necessary. This could include having a plastic liner installed under the foundation slab to slow radon entry and having the piping for a radon mitigation system installed during construction. The US Environmental Protection Agency estimates that incorporating radon preventative features during construction will cost between $350-$500, while installing a radon mitigation system after construction is completed would cost an estimated $800-$2,500. Anyone may choose to include radon preventative measures in a new home, but, under Department of Community Affairs' regulations, builders are required to include these measures in new homes built in Tier 1 areas. If you have questions about the Department of Community Affairs' requirements you can contact them by E-mail .

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Including radon preventative measures in your new home

Although radon preventative measures are not required for new homes outside of Tier 1 areas, anyone who is concerned about the hazards of radon exposure can add these features during the construction. As of July 1, 2009, it is estimated that 6 million people in New Jersey live in moderate to high risk radon areas. Radon preventative measures can include putting a layer of gravel and a plastic liner under the foundation, installing piping for a radon mitigation system, sealing and caulking all openings and installing a roughout for an electrical junction box. The New Jersey Department of Community Affairs' Radon Hazard Subcode standards can be used in the construction of your new home. Homes built in Tier 1 areas must follow these standards, but homes built in other areas of New Jersey may use them voluntarily.

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New Construction in Tier 1 Areas

New homes built in Tier 1 areas must include radon preventative features. The standards are explained in detail in the regulations at N.J.A.C. 5:23-10.1 et seq., but they include putting a layer of gravel and a plastic liner under the foundation, installing piping for a radon mitigation system, sealing all openings with a non-cracking polyurethane caulk and installing a roughout for an electrical junction box. If the foundation walls are made of cinder block or other hollow masonry, the tops of the foundation walls must be capped or the voids of the blocks must be completely filled.

Most of these features reduce radon entry, while pre-installing the piping for a radon mitigation system, makes it easier to fix the home if it turns out that radon levels are high. The pipes themselves are not a radon mitigation system and will not reduce radon levels. In order to activate the system, a certified radon mitigation company must install and activate a fan. The fan will draw the radon out from under the slab and vent it to the outside, where it is diluted. Builders cannot install active radon systems, unless they are also certified radon mitigators. A certified mitigation company can install the fan, do post-mitigation testing to show that the system is working and offer a guarantee that the system will keep radon levels below 4.0 pCi/l.

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