Before starting a demolition or renovation project, there is a good chance you need to get an asbestos inspection. It’s an often overlooked step that is necessary to keep you both safe and in compliance.
In this article, we are going to break down exactly when you need an asbestos inspection in the state of Georgia.
The Short Answer
Cutting to the chase, you need an asbestos inspection before you begin any demolition or renovation project. There. That was easy.
Seriously though, the State of Georgia and in some cases the US EPA require that any structure be inspected for asbestos prior to activities that may potentially disturb asbestos.
Renovation & demolition projects fall into the category of activities that would disturb asbestos containing material, so an inspection must be completed prior to starting.
This rule is enforced on the local level, with municipalities requiring the asbestos inspection prior to issuing a demolition or renovation permit.
Are New Properties Excluded?
No. Contrary to popular belief, it is still legal to manufacture and import goods that contain asbestos. While specific items are regulated, there is no blanket ban on asbestos in manufacturing. Georgia enforces asbestos regulations on properties of any age.
Are There Any Other Exclusions?
First, Georgia provides an exclusion when less than 10sf of material is being disturbed. This stipulation is provided to prevent an undue burden from being placed on workers completing routine maintenance activities such as patching drywall.
Next, an asbestos inspection is not required for renovation IF you presume all disturbed material does contain asbestos and treat it as such. This means that you don’t have to inspect 9×9 vinyl floor tiles or transite siding if you are going to go ahead and perform an abatement as if they are positive.
Who Can Perform The Asbestos Inspection?
The inspection must be performed by an accredited inspector and include a report that identifies all asbestos containing materials in the facility that might be disturbed by the demolition or renovation.
You can find accredited asbestos inspectors by searching online or, since we are already talking about it, you could just give us a call.
What Will The Inspector Check For?
Your asbestos inspector will start by discussing the project with you and determining the extent of demolition or renovation. From that conversation, they will identify any material that may be disturbed during the renovation that is suspect to contain asbestos.
Suspect materials include things like joint compound, plaster, ceiling texture, vinyl flooring, window glaze, cement siding, pipe insulation, felt duct tape and more.
Basically, if it is not wood, glass, metal, or ceramic we have to presume it contains asbestos until a negative test shows otherwise.
After identifying all the suspect materials, your inspector will collect samples to be analyzed by the laboratory.
It is important to know that asbestos sampling is invasive and requires cutting chunks of material from the building. It also requires exposing wall cavities and lifting finish flooring to find materials that may be hidden. Demolition inspections will require penetrating the roof so provision will need to be made for temporary patching.
While our inspectors are pretty good at keeping sampling locations discreet, if they can’t have full access for invasive sampling they may be limited in the completeness of survey they can perform.
How Long Will It Take To Get Results?
After collecting samples, they will be sent to an accredited laboratory for analysis. These laboratory results are interpreted by the inspector and a report is prepared that tells you what materials do or do not contain asbestos.
This process generally takes about a week. Results can be expedited as necessary.
What Will My Inspection Report Tell Me?
Your asbestos inspection report will show you all the areas of material that were found to contain asbestos.
Any material that contains more than 1% asbestos fibers is then considered a Regulated Asbestos Containing Material.
It is important to note that the samples collected are only representative of the larger area. For example, your inspector may have collected joint compound samples from the living room & kitchen but not the dining room. That does not mean that the dining room is negative. It just means that the inspector used samples from other areas to represent the larger space.
WHY Should I Get An Asbestos Inspection?
That’s a great question.
First, it’s required by law.
Second, it’s just a smart thing to do.
Asbestos is a serious threat to our health. It’s truly not just a bunch of hype and regulation. Around 15,000 deaths each year are attributed to asbestos related diseases.
Asbestos fibers pose a threat when they are inhaled. To be inhaled, the material must be pulverized and turn to dust.
That’s exactly what happens during demolition and renovation when you take a sledgehammer and crowbar to building materials.
Properly handling asbestos is essential to keeping both the workforce and building occupants safe.
What Happens If Asbestos Is Found?
Finding asbestos in your project is an entirely manageable situation. Buildings that contain asbestos are safely renovated every day. It just takes a little more time and a little more money.
If you have found asbestos in your project, start by calling a licensed asbestos contractor to discuss your next steps.