Environmental Consulting Throughout New England
Asbestos • Lead • Indoor Air Quality • PCBs & Mercury • Mold

How Comprehensive Should An Inspection Be?

At a minimum, all friable materials should be assessed. Generally, most friable materials can be identified by reviewing building documentation and conducting a visual assessment. To assess fireproofing, a limited inspection above suspended ceilings is almost always necessary. Because friable materials are easily disturbed (crumbled or crushed), they are highly susceptible to fiber release, often by routine building maintenance operations or custodial cleaning. To confirm the presence of asbestos, bulk sampling and analysis is necessary following EPA protocols.

If renovation or demolition will occur, a comprehensive inspection of all affected areas that contain suspect building materials is required by federal and state regulations. According to OSHA, suspect materials installed before 1980 must be assumed to contain asbestos, unless they are sampled in accordance with approved protocols. Proper sampling of materials can save the building owner money in abatement costs by eliminating non-asbestos materials from their "assumed" status.

The inspection must address both friable and non-friable materials in areas that are both readily accessible and hidden. Thus, exploratory demolition is often required to access wall cavities, the spaces above fixed ceilings, and under floor finishes.