GSE provides expert consulting services on all aspects of asbestos-related issues. Our expertise is especially useful for these issues since asbestos is highly regulated by both federal, state and in some cases local agencies.
Inspections, Testing and Consulting for Asbestos
Why Still Worry About Asbestos?
To many, asbestos may seem like “old news.” After all, it made the headlines in the 1970’s through the 1990’s as schools, property managers, corporations, construction companies, homeowners and public health officials struggled to deal with this pervasive “man-made” health threat. While many millions of pounds of asbestos (the “miracle fiber”) have been removed, in many cases removal costs were prohibitive, or not necessary at that time. For example, as allowed by federal and state law, many school districts chose to leave known or suspected asbestos containing building materials (ACBM) in place and implement long term surveillance through “Operations and Maintenance” programs. This requires periodic inspections by qualified personnel to ensure that the ACBMs have not deteriorated or become a threat to release asbestos fibers into the air.
So, with that background, you may still wonder why you should be concerned.
The answers lie in a few important facts:
- Conditions change – Buildings get older, leaks, accidents and maintenance events occur; increasing the chance that ACBMs, which were previously in good condition, will become a risk to building occupants as they deteriorate and release invisible but dangerous asbestos fibers into the air.
- Renovations or demolition – As building improvements or replacements are planned, known or suspected ACBM must be confirmed and properly abated in advance in accordance with federal and state regulations.
Sale of property – Buyers do not want to purchase an asbestos contaminated building and often conduct a Phase I environmental site assessment (ESA) as part of their due diligence. Identification and abatement of asbestos (and other environmental hazards such as lead paint, PCBs and radon) is more cost effectively handled in advance before the pressure of deadlines emerges.
Occupant concerns – Whether it is school children’s parents, tenants, building or unit owners, employees, unions or other interested parties, fear of hazardous exposures to asbestos can become emotional, time consuming and expensive. Understanding the true risks can avert major confrontations and allow the issues to be dealt with in an organized manner.
What products contain asbestos?
It has been estimated that over 3,000 different types of commercial and building products contain asbestos. In homes and other buildings built prior to 1978, asbestos is most commonly found as thermal insulation on boilers and pipes and in vinyl floor tiles (usually 9” x 9” tiles). Unfortunately, it can also be found in many other building materials, which include:
Blown-in attic insulation
Glue that attaches floor tiles to concrete or wood (also called "mastic")
- Some forms of linoleum
- Window caulking or glazing
- Roofing and siding materials
- HVAC duct insulation (usually found in corrugated or flat paper form)
- Plaster and wallboard compound
- Fiber cement siding (usually 1/8” thick and 8’ x 4’, brittle)
How can I find out if I have asbestos in my building or home?
It is recommended that you hire a professional asbestos inspector accredited by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to conduct an inspection and take samples of any suspect asbestos-containing material.
GSE currently provides asbestos consulting services to:
- Public buildings
- Child care facilities
- Commercial and industrial facilities
- Multi-family, condominiums and private homes
- Buildings planned for demolition
- Among others…
Common asbestos services provided by GSE include:
- Asbestos survey inspections and sampling
- Pre-demolition, pre-renovation or pre-sale surveys
- AHERA (schools) and OSHA (general and construction industries) mandated inspections, testing, consulting and project management
- Designated Person services and technical support
- Operations and Maintenance (O & M) program support
- Identifying and selecting qualified licensed abatement contractors
- Abatement project design and management
- Abatement monitoring and clearance services (including NJDCA Subchapter 8)
- Asbestos awareness training