Asbestos Testing Required For All Demolition Projects in California

As an environmental consulting company, a common misconception we encounter is that newer buildings, specifically those built after 1980, cannot contain asbestos. However, did you know that products containing asbestos have not been completely banned for import and use in the United States?

Asbestos can be found in many building products such as vinyl-asbestos floor tile, roofing felt and coatings, cement products, pipe wraps, and gaskets, just to name a few.

That is why, regardless of age, a comprehensive asbestos survey is required under federal law. The Clean Air Act, the National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP), requires that asbestos testing be conducted prior to all demolition and renovation projects, without exception due to age or any other factor.  This includes any institutional, commercial, public, industrial, or residential structure, installation, or building. Residential buildings with four or fewer dwelling units are excluded from the Asbestos NESHAP regulation.

A Pre-Demolition Asbestos Survey is a comprehensive survey that inspects all components of a building, both interior and exterior building materials.

The inspection includes:

  • Being provided access to as much of the property as possible. This includes all rooms, attic spaces, basements, roofs, etc
  • A certified and experience sampling technician will then establish homogeneous areas of the suspect materials. The building materials will be placed into groups based on their uniform appearances, such as color and texture, in addition to installation dates.
  • The homogeneous areas will be given estimated quantities in linear feet, square feet, or cubic feet, as appropriate.
  • The technician would then begin to sample, providing unique identification numbers for each sample taken.
  • A proper demolition survey is considered invasive, meaning that building materials may be damaged as necessary in order to view behind some wall cavities and to ensure that all layers of specific materials are tested.
  • Despite being invasive, the technician would sample in a manner designed to minimize exposure to themselves and any other building occupants.
  • The sampled materials will then be taken to an NVLAP (National Voluntary Laboratory Accreditation Program) approved laboratory for analysis.
  • Once laboratory results are received, a comprehensive asbestos report would be prepared in order to establish a demolition work plan which now may or may not need to incorporate specific asbestos requirements.

Are you planning to perform renovations or demolition?

Anyone thinking about performing renovations or demolition will want to contact Essel Environmental Consulting, a Cal/OSHA-Certified Asbestos Consultant. Only a Cal/OSHA-Certified Asbestos Consultant (CAC) can provide asbestos consulting. These services include building inspection, abatement project design, contract administration, supervision of site surveillance technicians, sample collection, preparation of asbestos management plans, and clearance air monitoring.