When you remodel or demo in San Francisco in a building built before 1981 you need preliminary asbestos testing.
Residential housing built after 1981 is usuallyexempt. After 1981, asbestos was illegal to add to building materials. But if it is a complete demo or includes a bearing wall, then an asbestos inspection with testing is usually required.
If asbestos-containing material like duct wrap is intact, you are not breathing asbestos fibers.
If a suspect asbestos material has been damaged or disturbance (renovation/remodel/demolition/etc.) is planned, then asbestos sample testing should be done. It’s “dose/duration”, so you don’t want to breathe asbestos fibers for a long time; instead, test first, contains the dust, clear the area and don’t worry about breathing asbestos fibers.
Is asbestos on my property?
Any structure or system built or constructed prior to 1981 is assumed to contain asbestos-containing materials unless proven otherwise through sampling. Buildings constructed after this date may also contain asbestos, and OSHA may require a survey prior to hiring contractors to perform work even if it is recent construction.
What materials might contain asbestos?
This list is long, but some of the most common building materials found in residential buildings that are suspect asbestos-containing material include:
- Roofing Materials
- Sheetrock Mud and Tape
- Flooring Tile
- Sheet vinyl flooring
- Ceiling Tile (popcorn ceiling asbestos)
- HVAC duct wrap
- Window putty
- Exterior (transit) shingles
- Mortar (between brick)
The list above is by no means a complete list. These are just some of the most common suspect asbestos-containing materials that we encounter in residential buildings.
Asbestos survey for planned work
Identification and sampling of suspect asbestos-containing building materials that may be disturbed by renovation/remodeling/repairs/etc. can be performed prior to commencing a project. The benefit of testing prior to work beginning is to establish what kind of contractor can perform the work. If no asbestos is present in the material(s) to be disturbed, then any contractor can perform the work. If asbestos is present in the material(s) to be disturbed, then a certified asbestos abatement contractor should be hired to properly remove and dispose of the asbestos-containing material.
Fire or planned demolition
If there has been a fire or if suspected asbestos-containing materials may be disturbed through demolition or fire reconstruction processes, sampling may be necessary. Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) requires a Job Number/J-Card, which we can provide, for any demolition of a structure throughout their jurisdiction.
Post asbestos abatement clearance
This type of inspection is performed after a professional asbestos abatement contractor has completed asbestos removal work. This inspection is always performed while containment remains in place, while HEPA air purification machines remain running to maintain negative pressure, and no onsite reconstruction work of any kind has yet begun.