Which are the Buildings that Require Asbestos Testing Prior to Renovation?


One of the misconceptions most of the consultants have is that buildings constructed after 1980 do not contain asbestos. This means that certain situations are subject to asbestos testing, inspection, and sampling scrutiny. Going by the statement of EPA’s National Emission Standards For Hazardous Air Pollutants, the owner of the removal/renovation party needs to make a proper inspection of the asbestos removal or detection.

Contrary to different opinions, few of the products having asbestos have not been banned completely for use in parts of the US. In fact, the banned products are limited to only ten types of products. Thus it is clear that several building products still have potential threat being a carrier of asbestos and therefore require asbestos testing.

Presumed Asbestos Containing Material(PACM)

There remains still a skeptical overview regarding the difference of presumed asbestos and suspect asbestos containing material, and how these terms are associated with OSHA Asbestos Standards and asbestos testing.

Going by the General Industry Asbestos along with the OSHA Construction Asbestos standard, PACM(Presumed Asbestos Containing Material) reflects the thermal system insulation(TSI) on the surfacing material that can be applied on fitting pipes, breechings as well as other structural components. On the other hand surface material is the material sprayed or applied on the surfaces for fireproofing, acoustical or several other purposes.

Examples of surface materials include acoustical plasters, fireproofing along with decorative finishes on walls. OSHA requires that several building owners mostly identify PACM in their building structures and are ready to treat and test it as asbestos-containing material(ACM) until it is proven that it doesn’t contain asbestos anymore.

Even though there is no particular definition of PACM, according to OSHA standard, vinyl flooring and asphalt material installed later than 1980 need to be considered as treated asbestos material until the owner proves that the flooring contains no ACM. This will not only include the flooring material but also the associated backings and mastics.

Suspect ACM

This term has no mention in either of the OSHA standards. However, the term has been used by the asbestos industry for a long time. Basically, it’s the building material suspected of containing asbestos based on its usage, age of building, or appearance. For OSHA’s purposes, any suspect material will include material like TSI, flooring and surfacing.

Also, another suspect building material will include asbestos cement products, ceiling tiles, etc. The exercise of diligence will require a building owner to know about the materials other than the PACM, and the materials need to be treated until proven safe.

Courses of Action for PACM

Building owners should identify PACM having two courses of action under the OSHA measures for protecting safety and health workers. OSHA allows building owners for asbestos texting and has them the outlines of EPA AHERA(Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act).

Rebutting PACM

OSHA regulations can go well with the rebuttal of the designation, preferably the PACM ones through the AHERA protocol. Sampling and adhering to the inspections performed that do not come under the AHERA rules used to go for rebutting PACM designation.

In some cases, OSHA allows for an industrial hygienist for collecting samples to rebut flooring or PACM. ASHARA regulation is also applicable to different regulatory bodies enforcing the state to go for asbestos regulations. It also specifies that only AHERA accredited consultants will be able to collect samples of the material from the building sites. An accredited officer needs to attend a three-day inspection regarding asbestos and present it to the approved training provider. Additionally, several states are required to purchase a state license before disbursing the duties of the inspector in the state.

Courses of Action for ACM

Similar to PACM, the building owners need to suspect and monitor ACM in their buildings. The two categorical options will include determining whether the material is ACM and then start them accordingly. Another option is to go with the guidelines of the OSHA requirements for protecting the health of the building occupants.

As the course of the new building renovation or construction is pacing up slowly, it is important to realise the importance of asbestos testing. If required one can go for the asbestos professionals to ensure that the project is maintained under proper safety and regulations.