The Importance of Asbestos Testing

Asbestos testing is one of the most important steps to take during a renovation project. Many contractors won’t even touch your property without first getting it tested for asbestos. However, not all homeowners know when they need to have their homes tested for asbestos.

As a popular building material in the past, asbestos was used to strengthen and fireproof construction materials like concrete, cement, pipes and insulation. Unfortunately, this once’miracle’ mineral was found to be incredibly deadly and has since been banned. Asbestos is dangerous when disturbed and can release airborne fibers into the atmosphere. The fibers are then inhaled by people and can lead to serious health effects, including lung cancer and mesothelioma.

Most older buildings will contain components made with asbestos, which is why a thorough asbestos testing survey is needed before starting any renovation work. The survey will identify all the materials that may contain asbestos and will provide a list of all the items that need to be tested for asbestos. The sampling process typically requires full access to the property and is done by a professional asbestos inspector.

The inspection can take anywhere from a couple of hours to days for large facilities. Samples are then taken from all identified materials that require testing for asbestos and sent to a lab for analysis. The laboratory analysis typically takes between three and ten days to complete. However, expedited turnaround times are available for an additional fee.

If you’re doing a DIY renovation, it’s important to know that you don’t need a professional to take your samples for you. While it isn’t recommended to do so, if you have the necessary equipment and are familiar with the proper precautions, you can perform your own sampling. Just be sure to follow the EPA’s guidelines on taking a safe sample and be sure to use a respirator when collecting the material.

Before starting any demolition or renovation work, it is required by law to have the facility inspected for asbestos. This is usually done during the planning stage and will produce a comprehensive survey report. The report can be used for several purposes, such as hazard communication and coordinating with contractors during the renovation phase.

Demolition and renovation work can be done on facilities of any age, but must be preceded by a thorough asbestos survey. The NESHAP regulations state that “no demolition work may commence until the building or individual building components are inspected for asbestos in accordance with a written plan prepared and agreed to by the owner or operator and the AHERA-certified surveyor.”