Since asbestos is a known carcinogen, many countries have laws restricting the production and use of asbestos. However, despite these strict laws asbestos continues to be used in construction materials, both for its ability to insulate and fireproof structures, and its affordability. Additionally, because it is no longer considered a toxic substance, many companies that produce asbestos products do not require regular asbestos survey assessments. Surveys conducted on a regular basis are essential to ensure that workers and/or commercial facilities are not exposed to high levels of asbestos which may present a serious health risk.
For the purposes of an asbestos survey, samples are taken from a variety of locations inside a building to test for the presence of asbestos fibers. In most cases, samples are taken for indoor sampling, while some asbestos fibers will also be detected if they are airborne during a disturbance or demolition of a building. Sampling is typically done by a certified asbestos surveyor or laboratory. Either method will yield results useful in determining whether asbestos is present in a building or if it is present in a manner that poses a risk to individuals who occupy or work in the building. Prior to sampling however, it is important to note that asbestos should be noted as much as possible; this is so that further sampling can be done to find out how concentrated the asbestos is and to what extent it is present.
In many states, there are specific requirements that must be met before asbestos survey can be performed. Prior to initiating any renovation or remodeling project, homeowners or business owners should consult with an asbestos control bureau to make sure that their state has regulations that are adequate to protect them. This is so that if asbestos contamination occurs, asbestos control officials can immediately remedy the situation.
There are two main types of asbestos surveys that are typically done. One involves looking into old structures for any signs of asbestos. The other kind of asbestos survey looks specifically into the presence of asbestos in new construction or renovation of buildings. Both forms are necessary for determining whether renovation or remodeling of old buildings presents a significant health hazard to individuals living in the immediate vicinity of the area.
Many property owners are surprised to learn that asbestos is one of the most widely found building materials containing asbestos in the world. However, asbestos use came to a halt in the 1970s because of the health risks associated with asbestos use. Since then, the only known safe level of asbestos exposure is when fibers are not disturbed during demolition or installation. Otherwise, individuals living or working in areas where asbestos materials are present are exposed to asbestos fibers that can cause a variety of health problems, particularly lung cancer. A qualified asbestos surveyor will conduct both an interior and exterior survey of your business or home to determine the presence of asbestos materials inside and around your building.
When asbestos is detected during the interior or exterior inspection, it is usually the responsibility of the building owner or building contractor to find a qualified asbestos abatement expert who can safely remove the asbestos. If the building owner does not hire such an expert, he or she may be held liable for failing to hire one. For example, if a professional asbestos abatement company fails to find the asbestos before demolition, you may be held liable for injuries caused by the debris during the demolition process. It is essential to find an asbestos survey company that is qualified to find and remove all asbestos from your premises. It is also important to find a company that is both licensed and insured to ensure that the asbestos is removed safely and completely. If asbestos is not properly removed and tested upon demolition, airborne asbestos particles may become airborne and present a health threat to individuals nearby, after the demolition process is completed, or immediately after the demolition is finished.
Before the initiation of the structural integrity audit, a certified asbestos survey company will conduct a visual inspection of the area that is to be treated. The purpose of this inspection is to detect places where asbestos might be located, and also places where it might be disturbed if disturbed. This visual inspection is also known as pre-incident testing. It is important to note that asbestos does not just break down in open spaces: it breaks down into microscopic fibers that can enter the human body when small pieces are disturbed. It is therefore imperative to ensure that the asbestos survey company has conducted a visual inspection of the entire project site, including any pre-incident locations. In the case of inclement weather or other situations where asbestos might be damaged during construction, the company will again conduct the visual inspection.
A final type of asbestos surveying procedure that is frequently undertaken is referred to as fully invasive asbestos abatement. This process is conducted after the project has been completed and involves the removal of asbestos-containing products from the work site. In most instances, when complete invasive asbestos surveying is recommended, it is in connection with a refurbishment or demolishment project. In this instance, if a demolition or refurbishment project is commenced prior to the start of the survey, it may be possible for the surveying company to contact the relevant building control authority and obtain permission to carry out the survey. Once the surveying company has gained permission to commence their work, they must abide by whatever regulations apply to ‘site clearance’ and leave the area completely clear of any asbestos waste, debris containing the asbestos. The survey team must also make sure that any asbestos-containing products are also removed from the work site.