Asbestos Survey Report

The objective of an asbestos survey report is to determine whether an existing building contains any asbestos-containing materials (or ACMs) prior to demolition. This process includes a field inspection, sampling, and laboratory testing of the building materials planned for tear down. And the project also comprises a report to the local building departments and environmental agencies. Asbestos is a proven carcinogen that is commonly found in building materials used across the nation. In 1989 the USEPA banned the use of most asbestos-containing products. However, ACMs still exist in modern buildings. And when asbestos-containing materials undergo demolition, fibers of the carcinogen are released into the breathing environment. Thus, regulations require an asbestos survey report for buildings undergoing renovation or demolition, to safeguard personnel and occupants. Updated July 30, 2022.

What is Asbestos?

Asbestos is a silicate mineral that is mined and engineered for a variety of uses. Frequently, the silicate is woven into a fabric structure. Asbestos typically applies to a variety of building materials for its heat and fire-resisting properties and highly functional insulation capabilities. The siliceous mineral is fibrous by nature. And it’s particles can exist at microscopic levels. Thus, when introduced into breathing zones, particles are not observable to the human eye.  And exposure can create a health risk to construction workers on-site, as well as future occupants of buildings with ACMs.

Asbestos Containing Materials

Asbestos generally exists within sound insulation, floor tiles, ceiling tiles, pipe insulation, fire-proofing material, thermal insulation, and more. In fact, if manufacturing specifications are available for review, one may be able to determine the material’s asbestos content. However, the presence of asbestos is best discerned by directly testing the select materials before demolition.

Asbestos Test for Real Estate Due Diligence

During real estate due diligence periods, prudent buyers and sellers order asbestos survey reports and lead surveys. Information about the asbestos content of on-site structures can be helpful for those planning to buy and re-build. For instance, a buyer with plans to renovate an older building may face unforeseeable costs and delays without prior knowledge of asbestos-containing materials. These costs and delays might even alter the feasibility of the project overall.

If the ACMs in a building are in good condition, the building materials can be manageable as is, without inhalation hazards. Asbestos-containing materials in good or average condition, are also coverable by seals, to mitigate any carcinogen inhalation hazard. On the other hand, asbestos-containing building materials in poor condition are considered hazardous. Thus, requiring proper removal and disposal.

Asbestos Survey Report

Federal regulations require asbestos survey reports for applicable buildings undergoing renovation or demolition. The objective of this requirement is to safeguard construction workers and occupiers of the building from inhaling asbestos fibers. In most jurisdictions across California, building and safety departments will not approve permits without an asbestos survey report and asbestos abatement plan.

Field Inspection

Field inspections are part of the asbestos survey and comprise a visual and physical assessment of each homogeneous area of suspect ACM. For example, an asbestos survey company will assess the friability and condition of the materials at hand. Additionally, the inspection includes the sampling of concrete flooring, doors, block walls, and other components. In general, destructive sampling, such as removal of coverings, knocking holes into walls, and dismantling equipment is not part of a baseline survey. However, in some cases, these methods of sampling are a requirement. Per the results of the visual inspection, bulk samples of the suspect materials undergo analysis, from each homogeneous area. And the work is performed under the Asbestos Testing Certification, per the  California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH).

Sampling & Laboratory Work

Samples undergo analysis for asbestos by polarized-light-microscopy. Similarly, the analysis can be performed by point-count and transmission-electron-microscopy. And where applicable, the asbestos content of a material may also be visually estimated. Nonetheless, a laboratory with state certification and accreditation by the National Volunteer Laboratory Accreditation Program (NVLAP) must perform sampling and analysis.

Final ACM Survey Report

Upon receipt of the analytical results, an asbestos survey company will prepare a report documenting the ACMs. At a minimum, the report notes the ACM locations and estimated quantities, where feasible. Furthermore, the report classifies the types of ACMs, and identifiers the sample locations using figures and site maps. Moreover, all laboratory analytical data becomes part of the report, upon authorization by a professional with asbestos consultant certification (ACC). And lastly, the ACM Survey Report discusses the physical condition of each ACM, as well as the recommendations for abatement.

Asbestos Abatement

An asbestos survey report includes an approximate measurement of the identified ACMs. However, it is the abatement contractor’s responsibility to confirm the actual volume and locations of ACMs.

Geo Forward ACM Surveys

Geo Forward provides asbestos surveys for residential, commercial, and industrial buildings. The following asbestos testing packages are available to meet the building department and State regulations:

  • Due Diligence Asbestos Screening: This type of asbestos screening is for real estate due diligence purposes, and focuses on the existing friable materials in existing buildings. This is a limiting survey, which confines only to the materials with apparent damage, which also suspect asbestos materials.
  • Asbestos Survey for Minor Renovation: This limiting asbestos survey gears towards smaller renovation projects on existing buildings without structural modification. This package includes sampling and testing within the specific portions of the building undergoing renovation.
  • Asbestos Survey for Major Renovation and Demolition: An asbestos test for major renovation projects takes place prior to any major construction. This includes comprehensive testing of the entire structure, including structural and non-structural components. The results of this survey allow the onsite crew to take the proper health and safety measures against asbestos while working.

Other Services Typically Performed During an Asbestos Survey

Oftentimes, when Clients request that an asbestos survey occur on-site, they additionally require other environmental due diligence services. For instance, a Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessment or a Phase 2 Subsurface Investigation. Additionally, purchasers typically request a Property Condition Assessment report as well. And consultants can coordinate the fieldwork process for each of these tasks to optimizing the project and price.