Brian E. Nemetz Brian E. Nemetz

The extreme durability and fire and chemical resistance of asbestos made it a popular building material in the 1900s. While it is still used today in limited amounts, we now know that the microscopic fibers that made asbestos so durable can easily become airborne and pose a threat to public health and safety. Today, we recognize asbestos as a human carcinogen and, in addition, it is the culprit of a variety of other lung, chest and abdomen illnesses. Although the dangers of asbestos are widely known, it is still found in limited use in construction currently.

As a result, current Federal as well as sate and/or city regulations requires an asbestos survey to be conducted before renovation or demolition of any building, regardless of year of construction. This measure ensures that if asbestos is present it is not released into the environment where it can cause potential harm to humans. In fact, many building agencies will not even issues permits prior to conducting and receiving the results of the asbestos survey. An asbestos survey is an important, necessary measure for any real estate renovation. What type of survey will I need? Not all buildings are undergoing demolition or extreme renovation, so there are a variety of different asbestos surveys, depending on customer need. So how can one determine which Asbestos Survey is right for them? You must first consider what type of property you have and what work you will be undergoing on said property, and what Asbestos Containing Material (ACM) you are anticipating. Working from the least invasive, which is an asbestos screening, to a demolition asbestos survey, which is the most extensive, we will explain below which survey you will need for your project.

Asbestos Screening

If you have damaged material being repaired, which you believe may pose a health risk to the buildings occupants, an Asbestos Screening is most likely the best solution for your needs. As implied by the name, an Asbestos Screening screens questionable material by obtaining samples for analysis. It targets areas with damage and potentially friable suspect ACM. This process is generally used on HUD projects and is sometimes referred to as a transactional survey.

Limited Asbestos Survey

A Limited Asbestos Survey is a more comprehensive sampling of building materials and suspected ACM in a particular homogenous area and/or areas. It is a targeting sampling, based on customer need. In a commercial building, this could include the roof, certain walls, siding, and/or any area where ACM is suspected or probable.

Path of Construction/Pre-Renovation Asbestos Survey

Path of Construction / Pre-Renovation Asbestos Survey is a comprehensive survey of building material but is limited to the path of construction and/or the actual building materials. This test could be used if you were renovating a single storefront in a strip mall, for example. The Asbestos Survey in this instance would ensure that the renovation taking place would not impact the environment or release ACM.

Demo/Demolished Asbestos Survey

If demolition is to occur, a customer would likely need a Pre-Demolition Asbestos Survey, this is by far the most comprehensive ACM assessment. This survey looks at an entire building, surveying all facets of the building including interior and exterior building materials, utilizing destructive sampling protocols. In most cases a demolition survey leads to the destruction of small sections of the building in an effort to discovery ACM behind the walls, floors, etc. It should be noted that in many cases, additional ACM is discovered during the actual demolition as it nearly impossible to observe all hidden areas within a building.

What if asbestos containing material in found?

Should ACM be identified, there are many options for customers in addition to removal based on need: abatement oversight, air monitoring, development of an operations & maintenance plan (O&M) and/or clearance sampling to ensure asbestos fibers are not present in the air after removal. An asbestos survey is the first step to ensure that you receive your permits and are able to execute your renovation or demolition plans. An asbestos survey is a small price to pay to protect potential harm to human life and have a safe and successful project!