Asbestos Assessment & Management
Your Asbestos Assessment Is Completed By An AHERA Certified Inspector Who:
- Reviews available and existing building information;
- Surveys the building noting presence of ACM/ACBM;
- Provides classification regarding friability of potential Asbestos Containing Materials (ACM)/Asbestos Containing Building Materials (ACBM);
- Estimates area and/or volume of ACM/ACBM;
- Delineates potential ACM/ACBM;
- Inventories, spatially references, and labels ACM/ACBM;
- Collects and submits samples of ACM/ACBM for characterization;
- Provides recommendations for subsequent actions to manage or eliminate potential risks related to ACM/ACBM; and
- Summarizes results and recommendations of asbestos assessments in a report prepared and delivered to the client.
- Abatement project design, planning, management, and monitoring on behalf of clients;
- Monitors indoor air quality to determine:
- required level of respiratory protection during abatement
- background concentrations in air on-site to support clearance following abatement
What is asbestos?
Asbestos is a thin and fibrous crystalline mineral occurring as Chrysotile (white asbestos), Amosite (brown asbestos), and Crocidolite (blue asbestos). Due to its strong, durable, and non-combustible physical properties, asbestos was a common building material prior to the 1980s, at which point ACM became regulated in the U.S. and generally phased out in North America. The B.C. Occupational Health and Safety Regulation (OHSR) defines ACM as containing a composition of 0.5% asbestos determined from analytical instrumental techniques by an accredited asbestos laboratory.
Of particular concern are ACMs containing friable forms of asbestos. Friable ACMs are those materials that can be crumbled, pulverized, or powdered under application of hand pressure, resulting in an inhalation risk. Non-friable ACMs are those materials containing asbestos fibres that are bound or locked into a product matrix, readily releasable only when subject to significant abrasive action such as sanding or cutting with electric-powered tools.
Why is asbestos a material of human health concern?
Asbestos is the single highest occupational killer in the workplace not only in B.C., but overall in Canada, and is linked to the following diseases often many years after initial exposure:
- Asbestosis – chronic lung disease manifesting 10 to 20 years after initial exposure;
- Mesothelioma – fatal form of lung cancer manifesting 30 to 45 years after initial exposure; and
- Lung Cancer – often manifests 15 to 25 years following exposure.
Without prior knowledge of what building materials may potentially contain asbestos, the following persons may be at risk of exposure:
- Homeowners and family members;
- Demolition contractors;
- Restoration contractors;
- City/Municipal inspectors;
- Insurance adjusters;
- Recycling facility workers;
- Waste transfer facility workers; and
Who can do an asbestos assessment and management?
Part 6 (Substance Specific Requirements – Asbestos), and 20.112 of the B.C. Occupational Health and Safety Regulation requires a qualified person to complete asbestos risk assessment inventory/survey works at sites suspected of containing ACMs, including subsequent risk management and/or monitoring works. The OHSR classifies a qualified person as a:
- Certified Industrial Hygienist (CIH);
- Registered Occupational Hygienist (ROH);
- Certified Safety Professional (CSP);
- Canadian Registered Safety Professional (CRSP);
- Engineer Professional (P. Eng.); and
- Other acceptable combination of education, training, and experience including Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act (AHERA) Building Inspector Training.
Where are asbestos-containing materials often found?
Although ACMs were phased out by the 1980s, these hazardous materials continue to pose risks to human health in households and workplaces. Common ACMs found in Commercial, Industrial, and/or Residential buildings are outlined in the following table and selectively referenced in a diagram of a residence below.