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It is important for property investors, property owners, and construction companies to be knowledgeable on the compliance, health, safety and liability risks before beginning a building demolition, or reuse or renovations of existing structures.  Based on a building type, age and geographic location  may require a Hazardous Building Materials Survey (HBMS) to survey for  and assess condition of any hazardous materials such as asbestos, lead, mold and PCBs and if the planned activity will disturb or demolish leaving waste any of these materials of concern. Hazardous materials can become airborne during construction, renovation or demolition of a building, posing a risk to occupants, workers and the community. Disturbance of hazardous materials without compliant construction practices is a liability for the constructor and building owner and will add clean-up, disposal and clearance costs, possibly fines, liability costs and as well as health-related concerns to workers or occupants.

A Hazardous Materials Survey

The purpose of a Hazardous Building Materials Survey (HBMS) is to identify and assess the condition of building materials and components at a property that may require special handling and/or disposal. When planning remodeling. Construction or demolition of an existing structure, based on the building type and age federal, state and local regulations require a hazardous materials survey for institutional, commercial or industrial projects. Generally, during a property transfer, valuation or acquisition, a HBMS is completed as part of the due diligence process alongside a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment. A pre-demolition survey (or a “universal waste” survey) is necessary before the complete or partial demolition of a building to avoid unnecessary exposure to hazardous materials.

The Value of Surveying Hazardous Building Materials

By taking the precautionary measures to have a comprehensive hazardous building materials survey, property owners can stay within regulatory compliance during renovations, demolition or major redesign of a building, meet regulations, receive the necessary building permits, and keep workers safe.

Federal and state oversight related to asbestos containing materials (ACMs) is the responsibility of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and state EPAs. Removal of ACMs and lead paint, which can pose health threats to construction employees, residents, public and future building occupants, fall under the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Each state has its own environmental oversight.

A Hazardous Materials Assessment Includes

RHP Risk Management’s  experienced safety and health professionals perform comprehensive Hazardous Building Materials Surveys that include a visual inspection of the interior and exterior of the building, of visible and covered hazardous building materials, collection and analysis of bulk samples of suspect building materials and site features that may contain harmful substances. An inspector may sample painted surfaces (lead), metal surfaces (lead, chromium VI and cadmium), building materials (thermal system insulation and miscellaneous material for asbestos), and inspect the interior and exterior building sealants for PCBs, mercury-containing fluorescent and high-intensity discharge (HID) light bulbs and thermostats, potential CFC-containing components and building occupant-derived waste (BODW), soil testing, and a visual inspection for mold and/or moisture-impacted building materials. A hazardous materials survey may also include a check for radon.

Following the inspection and laboratory analyzation of suspect materials, RHP will provide a written report detailing the findings and analytical results of the hazardous materials assessment and their recommendations for handling during demolition permits, real estate transactions, and real estate valuations. Materials identified as hazardous will need to be encapsulated, removed and or disposed of prior to demolition or renovation where these materials may be disturbed. RHP can further provide recommendations of disposal and estimated costs and prepare hazardous materials management programs to manage remaining hazardous materials.

Contact RHP Risk Management for Expert Survey and Assessment Services

Contact RHP for an initial phone consultation and learn more about our professional services.