357 North Main Street
Memphis, TN 38103

By Maggie Strom, QEP, CHMM, founder and president

Think you don’t need to worry about doing an asbestos survey before your renovation? Think again. 

Locally, the Shelby County Health Department’s Air Pollution Control section regulates demolition and renovation activities, and according to their regulations, an asbestos survey must be performed prior to the start of any demolition or renovation activity. These requirements come straight from the federal regulation called the National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutant (NESHAP) regulations. What most people don’t understand is that these regulations do not specify a build date after which an asbestos survey is not required. An asbestos survey is always required because even in newer buildings (post 1980) or buildings that have been renovated, asbestos-containing building materials may still be in use.

Contrary to popular belief, products containing asbestos have not been completely banned for use or import into the U.S. In fact, materials such as vinyl-asbestos floor tile, roofing felt and coatings, asbestos-cement products (shingles, pipe), clothing, pipeline wrap, millboard, gaskets, non-roofing coatings and automotive products are all still allowed to contain asbestos. During our inspections, we still regularly find asbestos containing materials like floor tile and drywall joint compound, even in newer buildings.

It’s important for your project that you understand these regulations. Unless the renovation or demolition project is a residential structure of four or fewer dwelling units, an asbestos inspection is always required by NESHAP, regardless of the structure’s age. Prior to performing any renovation or demolition activity, the owner must conduct an asbestos inspection to include bulk sample collection and analysis of all areas of the building that will be impacted by the demolition or renovation activity. Additionally, this inspection must be performed by a state certified asbestos inspector.

Don’t get caught in a situation where your design has been approved and all the funding allocated, and unexpectedly your renovation contractor says they have stopped work because they have found what they believe may be asbestos in the way of your project. This avoidable setback causes delays, cost overruns and headaches for everyone involved. Contact Tioga before your next project and our team of certified asbestos inspectors will assist you.