Asbestos exposure can cause numerous health problems if people breathe in the fibers. If your home or building is suspected of containing asbestos, it must be dealt with immediately. Before the removal process can begin, an asbestos assessment should be performed. The inspection determines what areas need to be treated.
Asbestos assessment is often not optional. It is a federal requirement of OSHA and the EPA. Certain states or cities also require the assessment. The asbestos assessment should be done by a company with plenty of experience, proper licensing, and liability insurance for environmental services. If the company doesn’t have the proper liability insurance, the owner won’t have any recourse if the contractor makes any errors or damages anything.
The asbestos assessment process includes the following:
- Visual inspection of the area
- Inventory of problem materials
- Extracting a sample
- Sample assessment by laboratory
- Course of action developed based on lab results
- Reporting of the overall findings
Multiple samples are taken during an asbestos assessment, with the total number based on the area’s specific regulations and the material type. Multiple samples are taken because asbestos can be present in one section of the home but not in a nearby area.
An asbestos assessment can vary in length of time, depending on the size of the project. A large building can take a couple of days, while a smaller space will only take a couple of hours. The inspector will need to get into every room, closet, and area of the site and may need to return to gather additional samples. After all the samples are taken, the laboratory analysis will take three to ten days.