Welcome to the Northwest Hazmat Asbestos/Mold testing laboratory’s official blog. My name is Aaron Speck and I am the one and only lab tech/building inspector for our company. During my time inspecting and testing building materials I get asked a lot of questions about various things such as rules/regulations, which materials to look for in the house, how to take samples, etc. As a lab tech and building inspector, my job puts me in a unique position in that I not only inspect structures and take samples, but analyze them as well. Being in control of the entire process affords me a better understanding of not only which materials are potential ACM’s (asbestos containing materials) but how I arrived at the conclusion that they are or are not ACM’s. This allows me to better explain any part of the process to people. This blog will be used to discuss the FAQ’s as well as things that I feel are important for people to know about.
This blog entry will focus on an often overlooked regulation that many contractors may not be aware of. We often have contractors drop off samples for asbestos testing for projects that they will be working on. Usually, these projects are being done at private residences but sometimes they are pulling samples from public or commercial buildings. Many contractors might not be aware of the regulations regarding asbestos sampling from public/commercial buildings and are putting themselves at risk for a fine. Oregon DEQ rules state that for any demolition or extensive renovation project (commercial, public or residential), an asbestos survey must be conducted by an accredited AHERA building inspector. Renovations at private residences with less than 4 dwelling units are exempt from this rule. Therefore, according to the DEQ rules, contractors working on a commercial or public building should NOT take the samples themselves. They need to have an AHERA inspector conduct a survey to ensure that they are acting within the current regulations. One important distinction that needs to be understood is the DEQ’s definition of what constitutes a demolition. According to the DEQ, a demolition is defined as ANY project that involves the wrecking of a load supported member or intentional burning. So even if the bulk of the project is a renovation, if any load bearing member is knocked down, the project would then be considered a demolition.
These are the rules at they currently stand. Staying updated to the current regulations in order to better do my job as well as assist any professional and homeowner who may have questions about sampling and testing building materials is very important. As I tell everyone who drops off samples for asbestos analysis, feel free to contact me here at the lab with any questions.
For a more thorough recap of the pre demo/renovation rules, go to the Oregon DEQ website. Below is a link to the page discussing the regulations in greater detail. http://www.deq.state.or.us/aq/factsheets/SurveyFS.pdf