What is an asbestos inspection and assessment?

An asbestos inspection is when an individual inspects a building or facility for the presence, location, and quantity of asbestos-containing material (ACM) or suspected ACM. ACM is defined as material that contains greater than 1% asbestos. Suspected ACM is material that is assumed to be ACM, but has not been sampled and analyzed for asbestos content. An asbestos inspection also includes re-examining a building or facility to identify the presence, location and quantity of additional or existing ACM or suspected ACM.

When is an asbestos inspection or assessment required?

According to Washington State Labor and Industries, disturbing asbestos materials during construction is a serious hazard that all contractors may encounter. Before bidding or starting any construction work, you are required to obtain a written asbestos report from the building owner or owner's agent. The report must be based on a survey by an EPA accredited AHERA building inspector unless the building owner assumes materials in the structure are asbestos or has other convincing documents showing asbestos is not present in the work area. A building owner may know asbestos has been removed during prior work or that a new building has been constructed using materials certified to be asbestos free.

How many samples are required to be taken and analyzed?

No sampling is required if the inspector suspects that the materials are ACM and treats them as ACM. However, for a suspect material to be classified as non-ACM, a minimum number of samples must be collected and analyzed. The following summarizes the minimum number of samples for collection and analysis. A homogeneous material is a material that appears to be uniform when properties such as age, color, and texture are compared.

Thermal System Insulation (TSI)

Thermal System Insulation includes materials such as boiler insulation, pipe insulation, duct work insulation, furnace gaskets and vermiculite.

  • At least three (3) samples from each homogeneous material of TSI.

  • At least one (1) sample from patched TSI that is less than six square feet.

  • For pipe fittings, in a manner sufficient to determine if the material is asbestos-containing.

Surfacing Material

Surfacing material includes materials such as spray-applied fireproofing, troweled-on plasters or ceiling textures.

  • At least three samples from homogeneous materials of 1000 square feet or less;

  • At least five samples from homogeneous materials of greater than 1000 square feet but less than 5000 square feet;

  • At least seven samples from homogeneous materials of greater than 5000 square feet.

Miscellaneous Material and Nonfriable Suspect ACM

Miscellaneous materials include all materials that are not TSI or Surfacing Materials, such as floor tile, ceiling tile and linoleum.

  • For each homogeneous material, a sufficient number of samples are required to be collected and analyzed to determine if the material is ACM.

  • The EPA recommends a minimum of 3 samples.

In addition, under the asbestos standard, thermal system insulation (pipe lagging, boiler insulation, etc.), surfacing materials (spray-on acoustical plasters, troweled on plaster coatings, etc.) and flooring materials (vinyl tile, sheet goods, etc.) are all presumed to contain asbestos in buildings built before 1981. The building owner must report these materials as asbestos unless an accredited inspector has shown them to be asbestos free.

Samples are not required to be collected from homogeneous materials that the certified inspector has determined to be non-asbestos containing material, such as glass, metal or wood.

What about assessment?

If the asbestos inspector performs an assessment of the condition of ACM or suspected ACM, the inspector must provide a written assessment to the person requesting the assessment using the following categories or equivalent categories:

  • Damaged or significantly damaged thermal system insulation

  • Damaged friable surfacing material

  • Significantly damaged friable surfacing material

  • Damaged or significantly damaged friable miscellaneous material

  • Asbestos-containing material with potential for damage

  • Asbestos-containing material with potential for significant damage

  • Any remaining friable or friable suspect asbestos-containing material

Where can an asbestos inspector have samples analyzed?

  • The asbestos inspector must submit samples for analysis to a laboratory which is accredited by the National Institute of Science and Technology (NIST) through the National Voluntary Laboratory Accreditation Program (NVLAP) or

  • A laboratory with successful participation in the asbestos bulk analysis program of the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA)

The asbestos inspector must request a report from the laboratory that contains at a minimum:

  • Sample analysis results;

  • The name and address of the laboratory performing the analysis;

  • The date of the analysis; and

  • The name and signature of the person who performed the analysis.

What must be included in an asbestos inspection and assessment report?

The written report must be provided to the person requesting the inspection. The asbestos inspection and assessment report must contain the following information:

  • The location of each homogeneous material known or assumed to contain asbestos;

  • If an assessment of homogeneous material is performed, the condition of each homogeneous material known or assumed to contain asbestos;

  • The inspector's signature and date signed;

  • The inspector's AHERA Building Inspector certification number; and

  • A photocopy of the current asbestos inspector certificate ("hard card") of each asbestos inspector who performed the inspection.

With the widespread use of asbestos in the past, the possible remaining amount still out there, and the continued use of asbestos in products today, asbestos inspections remain critically important. Schedule a certified asbestos inspection today to find out if the removal of regulated materials could delay your project or present a liability if disturbed.

Elite Environmental Services LLC commonly performs asbestos inspections prior to renovation and demolition projects where the potential for disturbance or release of asbestos-containing materials (ACM or ACMs) can occur. To avoid these unknown liabilities and stay in compliance with U.S. EPA, State, and other Federal laws, it is important to have a certified asbestos inspector determine, locate, quantify, and sample all possible asbestos prior to the commencement of renovation and demolition projects.

Contact Elite Environmental Services LLC team includes licensed and accredited lead-based paint (LBP) and asbestos-containing material (ACM) inspectors. Our qualified individuals can perform building surveys and material sampling in accordance with all applicable standards and guidelines. To learn more about our LBP and ACM surveys, please give us a call at 509-759-7480 to learn more about the services we offer.

Asbestos Regulations

Chapter 296-62 WAC, Part I-1—General requirements for handling asbestos.

Chapter 296-65 WAC—Asbestos certification and notification requirements.

Chapter 296-155 WAC, Part S—Construction demolition, prior removal of asbestos.

Asbestos is also regulated by the EPA and regional air pollution authorities in Washington.

ASBESTOS is the generic term for a group of naturally occuring fibrous materials with high tensile strength,

flexibility and resistance to thermal, chemical and electrical conditions. It is no wonder

that because of its terrific properties it was (in America) and still is (in China, Mexico and many

other parts of the world) a highly used component of building supplies. The use of ASBESTOS

has never been completely banned in the United States, though it has been severly restricted

due to the high risk it poses to the respiratory and digestive systems. Exposure to ASBESTOS

can cause diabling or fatal diseases such as asbestosis an emphysema-like condition;

lung cancer; mesothelioma, a cancerous tumor that spreads repaidly in the cells of

membranes covering the lungs and organs; and gastrointestinal cancer.

The symptoms of ASBESTOS related diseases do not usually appear for 20

years or more after exposure. ASBESTOS fibers enter the body by inhalation

or digestion of airborne particles that become embedded in the tissues of the

respiratory system or digestive system.

Regulations of this toxic mineral fall under one of two federal laws: the Clean

Air Act of 1970 (revised in 1990) and the Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976.

In the construction industry, exposure occurs when workers disturb ASBESTOS-

containing materials during the renovation or demolition of buildings. In addition,

custodial workers may be exposed through contact with deteriorating ASBESTOS-

contaning materals in buildings.

Our Asbestos survey includes:

  • Working with you to develop a clear scope of sampling.

  • Identification of building materials that contain asbestos.

  • Easy-to-understand reporting.