What does testing for asbestos involve when renovating? Most remodeling jobs need a permit. For NYC, you get this at the Department of Buildings. An asbestos survey comes after. The local law would require a survey done to verify the absence of asbestos in materials intended for demolition.

Asbestos was used in construction because it was so light, resistant to fire, and easy to use. It seemed like a good material until the hazards were discovered. Many old buildings may have asbestos in the roofing, floor tile, insulation, caulking, plaster, and/or exterior windowsills. Gradually the carcinogenic properties became known and its use stopped.

There are two varieties of A.C.M. (asbestos-containing material). It’s any type of material that has over 1% content asbestos.

A.C.M. is either friable or non-friable. Friable is brittle and goes into the air when crushed, crumbling easily. Non-friable material usually makes up roofing and tile materials and is tougher and thicker, not going into the air as much.

When disturbed, friable materials can be dangerous. The non-friable ACM is not as much risk as this type. However, demolition and renovating can create dust and possible inhalation of asbestos. In NYC, Local Law 76/85 was put forth as a measure in precaution for demolition projects regarding airborne asbestos.

NYC investigators are certified by city and state. They must conduct an asbestos report and use demolition plans from the architect/designer. They take samples from material in areas that will be demolished/disturbed.

How many samples will be taken can change, depending on material and surface area intended for disturbance. Guidelines set by the EPA in the U.S. and the Asbestos Hazard Act say that there should be one sample taken for each type of material and three or more taken for other materials.

Samples will be sent to a certified lab for analyzing. They’ll determine what types of asbestos and how much of it is in the materials, sending results over to the investigator to look at. In an absence of friable ACM is found, the investigator will complete an Asbestos Control Program-5 form that says that this or the friable area is less than 10 sq. feet/less than 25 linear feet. It will not is non-friable ACM is there as well.

The form will be filed with the D.O.B. and the D.E.P. of the city after. It will verify the work being done is not involving friable ACM. It was be a non-friable ACM project. This means that no friable A.C.M. was discovered but there may be non-friable materials that demolition will disturb. If materials with asbestos are in the samples, an abatement project must be done before renovation begins. This requires a contractor licensed in asbestos removal.

This may involve having an independent air monitor of asbestos there. They’ll make sure airborne materials are kept under the allowed limit. If friable material’s found, an ACP-7 form should be filed with the D.E.P. that says that it’s a project with friable asbestos. Anyone can file the ACP-7 form, including the inspector. When ACM is abated and removed, the investigator confirms, and files an ACP-5.

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