Asbestos and Lead Surveys and O&M Programs 2017-08-08T18:35:53+00:00

Your staff and report were fantastic.

Industrial Hygienist, major hospital in San Diego

Asbestos and Indoor Environmental Quality

Scientific evaluation of all the available human data provides no evidence for a “safe” level of asbestos exposure, thus any quantity should be considered potentially dangerous. However, a health risk exists solely when asbestos fibers are released into the air and when that contaminated air is inhaled into the lungs. Even then it appears that most people exposed to relatively small amounts of asbestos do not develop problems. The fact remains, however, that the chances of developing serious respiratory illnesses, including lung cancer, are greater in those exposed to airborne asbestos fibers.

Conversely, this correctly confers that many asbestos bearing materials or products are of no health risk whatsoever when used in the normal course of events. However, any level of asbestos containing materials inside a building constitutes a hazard. It should be noted that hazard is a potential for harm, whereas risk is the probability that this potential may become actual. With this distinction, it is self-evident that a simple identification and analysis of asbestos containing materials (ACMs) is insufficient to gauge the degree of risk. Since it is the airborne fraction of asbestos that is dangerous, a major factor in assessing risk conditions is to have a knowledge and understanding of the design of the building in general and its air handling system in particular. Thus, all Healthy Buildings building surveys include a review of the ventilation system layout and operation.

Asbestos Survey

Step 1 Review all existing building records and drawings to ascertain if asbestos was specified in the building’s original construction or subsequent renovation.

Step 2 Examination of the design and operating practices of the air handling system serving the building, checking the design of the air handlers and their supply and return air systems.

Step 3 Systematic investigation of the building preferably starting at roof top level (tiles, shingles, cooling towers, surface finish of walls, etc.). Progressively moving down through the ceiling voids, plant rooms, general offices, hallways, sub-floor voids, basements, garages, equipment rooms, etc. Photographs are taken of key inspected areas and of all substances sampled. Samples are taken of all insulation materials, suspect wall materials, tiles, surface finishes, gaskets, etc. Care is taken to differentiate between layers of materials. Surface coats, undercoats, or primers, core materials, etc. are all separately sampled. Large areas need several representative samples and all physically different materials (color, texture, size, etc. of tiles) are sampled as discrete materials.

Step 4 Building engineers are consulted to add their input. Voids, rooms, closets, garages, etc. are reviewed with the engineer and his knowledge used to locate or identify any other possible locations. Maintenance and supply stores are checked to identify ACM materials in spare tiles, adhesives, gaskets, jointing compounds, spackling, etc.

Analysis All the bulk samples are returned to the laboratory for analysis under EPA bulk asbestos proficiency guidelines by trained analysts using polarized light microscopy and dispersion staining analytical techniques. Whenever possible, the analysis identifies other materials present.

Report and Recommendations

The findings of our asbestos survey and risk assessment analyses are compiled into a bound report for each building. These reports are fully comprehensive identifying the location, nature and extent of asbestos containing materials. Whenever possible, they are fully illustrated with relevant photographs.

Specific recommendations are made for monitoring or abatement, whether enclosure, encapsulation or removal. Priorities are set and suggestions are given as to how diverse ACM materials can be tackled concurrently with other abatement projects.

These reports become the basis of the subsequent asbestos abatement bidder specifications enabling diverse removal companies to compete on an equal footing with each other since each is fully appraised of the extent of the job.

Monitoring Services

We offer experienced, third-party monitoring of any class of asbestos abatement project. If necessary, we draw up detailed removal specifications that can be integrated in the clients’ ACM abatement bid package.

Thereafter, we review the abatement contractors specifications and qualifications. Once the project starts up, we establish a program of inspections to checking the integrity of the containment areas; use of correct equipment, clothing and work practices; establishment of negative air areas; conformity with disposal permits and regular and monitoring outside the containment areas.

Prior to the removal of the containment structure, we make a visual inspection of the cleared area and take final air clearance samples. Once satisfied with the quality of the abatement contract, we direct the contractors to vacate the site. Our final report will then summarize the project providing documentation and records of compliance with recent specifications.


Because Healthy Buildings does not provide any asbestos abatement services and has no links with companies which do, Healthy Buildings maintains complete independence and believes that in acting as third part consultants any conflicts of interest are completely avoided. Thus, where specifications or procedures are identified and recommended, the client can be confident that there are no other commercial interests which might influence the recommendations.