What to Expect during Asbestos Inspection?


Asbestos exposure poses a serious health and safety risk that must be addressed as soon as possible. An industrial hygiene consulting company will inspect your building to identify asbestos. The inspection may reveal that the asbestos needs to be removed or managed. Any abatement contractors that are contracted to do asbestos removal work should be able to stand apart from the inspection firm.

The Asbestos Testing Process

The certified asbestos testing services must inspect the site before any activity, including demolition or renovations, may impact suspect material. OSHA, the US EPA, many state regulations, and some local codes require this inspection. An asbestos inspection company should have sufficient experience and licensing. The owner cannot claim damages for errors in judgment or professional opinions if the company does not have professional liability insurance.

Asbestos testing involves:

  • An in-depth visual inspection of the affected space
  • Suspected material in stock
  • Bulk sample extraction
  • Labor analysis
  • Recommendations
  • Survey reporting

Different regulations specify the number of samples to be taken from each material. It might be challenging to understand why one selection is required from each type. One simple analogy is the “chocolate chip cookie theory.” You may eat a cookie but not get a chocolate chip. This is due to the manufacturing process of asbestos-containing materials and limitations in analytical methods. Having a qualified, independent, and experienced inspection company is crucial.

What is the Average Time Taken to Conduct an Asbestos Survey?

On-site inspections can take several hours for many projects. More significant buildings may require multiple days. An inspector will need full access to all rooms and spaces in the building. Return visits may also be required. Standard laboratory analysis usually takes 3-10 days after the site work is complete. Rush or emergency turnaround times are available for significant premium fees.

There is always the possibility of hidden suspect material in the wall, floor, or ceiling. When planning for demolition or abatement, this should be taken into account.

A repair to sample areas is an area often overlooked in inspection plans. Small pieces of material need to be removed from buildings as part of the inspection. The sample usually contains 1/2 to 1-inch squares of fabric. Exterior sealants and roofing products can have aesthetic problems.

Which Building Materials Are Suspected and Require Asbestos Samples?

There were many different types of building materials that asbestos was used, including:

  • Floor tile
  • Adhesives
  • Ceiling tile
  • Plaster
  • Felt papers
  • Gypsum board, joint compound
  • Grout
  • Caulking and glazing
  • Fireproofing
  • Thermo insulation
  • Siding
  • Roofing
  • Many other products

While asbestos was banned from building materials in some cases, you can still purchase products today that contain asbestos.

What to do if an Asbestos Survey report comes back positive

After the inspection, a thorough professional report must be prepared. Sometimes, asbestos removal may be necessary. However, it is possible to manage the material in its current condition safely. We will discuss the various options available for asbestos removal and how to get proposals from qualified contractors.