AHERA-certified building inspector

Author: Pacific Northwest Inspections Group, LLC   Date: 25-Nov-2013.   Category: Asbestos   Add to Favorites 


Amendments to the act in 1994 mandated specific training and "accreditation" for all individuals doing inspection, project design, project supervision, and project work involving asbestos in schools, public and commercial buildings. An AHERA inspector is one who's obtained the AHERA Building Inspector accreditation.

AHERA stands for Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act.

In 1986, the Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act (AHERA; Asbestos Containing Materials in Schools, 40 CFR Part 763, Subpart E) was signed into law as Title II of TSCA. Amendments to the act in 1994 mandated specific training and "accreditation" for all individuals doing inspection, project design, project supervision, and project work involving asbestos in schools, public and commercial buildings. An AHERA inspector is one who's obtained the AHERA Building Inspector accreditation. With only minor exceptions, you must be an AHERA accredited inspector to take even one sample of an asbestos-containing product. Even renovations need to conduct an asbestos survey. With the exception of limited residential projects performed by the resident-owner, all surveys must be conducted by an AHERA-certified building inspector. AHERA stands for Asbestos Hazardous Emergency Response Act. If there are no suspect materials in the work area, this must be posted or communicated in writing to contractors working in the area.

Demolition Surveys must be conducted by an AHERA-certified building inspector. You will find these inspectors listed in the phone book yellow pages under Asbestos Consulting and Testing.?You must share the survey results with your demolition contractor and anyone else who may come in contact with the material, and keep a copy of the survey on site.


Asbestos NESHAP and WA Sate LNI / Puget Sound Clean Air

EPA's air toxics regulation for asbestos is intended to minimize the release of asbestos fibers during activities involving the handling of asbestos.

The air toxics provisions of the Clean Air Act (CAA) require EPA to develop and enforce regulations to protect the public from exposure to airborne contaminants that are known to be hazardous to human health. In accordance with Section 112 of the CAA, EPA establishes National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP). The list of hazardous air pollutants (HAP), or “air toxics”, includes specific compounds that are known or suspected to cause cancer or other serious health effects.

In addition to basic information about the property, the owner(s), the technical aspects of an AHERA inspection will include the following. Material classification There are three main kinds of material according to EPA sampling guidelines. They are Surfacing Material, Thermal system Insulation, and Miscellaneous material. The classification bears implications for number of samples to be taken.

Contractors who remove or handle asbestos must be certified by the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries (L&I). Before beginning any renovation project, you must check for asbestos and follow the procedures below. Failure to do so can result in life-threatening conditions and/or you receiving a notice of violations and monetary penalties.


Before you start, check for asbestos and then follow our requirements carefully – failure to do so can result in deadly health problems, or a notice of violation and monetary penalties. Also, check with your local building department as they may have additional requirements for demolishing your house.

Residents who live in and own the single family house to be remodeled (not demolished) may conduct their own survey to identify asbestos-containing materials. In all other situations, an AHERA-certified building inspector must conduct a survey. These inspectors are listed in the phone book yellow pages under “Asbestos Consulting and Testing.”

A summary of the survey results must be communicated to you, your workers, and anyone else who may come in contact with the material to be disturbed. Keep a copy of the survey at the project site.

Share the survey results with anyone who may come in contact with the material to be disturbed and keep a copy of the survey on site.

Asbestos survey Guidance

2. If asbestos is found, there are three options:

A. Leave it alone. Asbestos becomes a health risk if it is disturbed or deteriorating and fibers are released into the air. It may be possible to work around the asbestos during the renovation without disturbing it.

B. Repair or encapsulate. You may re-seal or encapsulate the asbestos in its location and without notifying our agency if it is not disturbed.

Sometimes, asbestos can be repaired rather than removed. This is basically a process of securely re-sealing asbestos in its location. For example, a few inches of torn, loose, or frayed asbestos tape wrap on heating ducts can be repaired with duct tape. Damaged hot water pipe insulation can be covered with a specially designed fabric available at safety equipment stores.

Some asbestos applications that are in good condition can be encapsulated to reduce the likelihood of asbestos fibers releasing into the air. Encapsulation is the best option when dealing with insulation on heating systems. There are two types of encapsulants:

Penetrating encapsulants are products that seep into asbestos-containing materials and bond with asbestos fibers securing them in place. They have little impact on the outward appearance of treated materials.

Bridging encapsulants are products, such as paint, that coat asbestos-containing materials. They are most commonly used to encapsulate popcorn ceiling and furnace and heat duct insulation.

Be aware, however, that while encapsulation may seem like an attractive option, especially for furnace ducts or popcorn ceilings, there may be less obvious costs and risks involved. For example, painting to encapsulate may make future removal much more difficult and expensive. Also, popcorn applications that become too heavy with added encapsulant product, or through water da mange, may fall off the ceiling in clumps, possibly releasing asbestos fibers.

C. Remove it.

Friable asbestos must be removed by a certified asbestos abatement contractor, unless the project is at a single-family house that the owner occupies. This is the only exception where the owner/resident may legally remove asbestos-containing materials. When removing friable asbestos-containing materials, follow Regulation III, Section 4.05 (b) Friable Asbestos Removal Work Practices and 4.07 Disposal of Asbestos Containing Waste Material.

An Asbestos/Demolition Notification and filing fee must be submitted to this agency before friable asbestos-containing material is removed. Depending on the size of the asbestos project, a 10 day waiting period may be required. Remember to make a copy of the Notification you submit available for inspection

  • Asbestos/Demolition Notification.
  • Please refer to Regulation III, Section 4.03 for full details about notification and fees.
  • Exception: Notification is not required for friable asbestos projects involving less than 10 linear feet of pipe or 48 square feet of surface area (per structure and calendar year).

    Nonfriable asbestos must be removed and disposed of in accordance with Regulation III, Section 4.05 (c) Method of Removal for Non-friable Asbestos-Containing Material and does not require an Asbestos/Demolition Notification.

    3. Properly dispose of any removed asbestos. Take friable asbestos-containing waste to Asbestos Disposal Waste Facility authorized to receive the waste. Complete and bring an Asbestos waste material shipment record to dispose of the friable asbestos waste at the disposal site. Nonfriable asbestos-containing waste must be promptly transferred to a disposal container labeled "nonfriable asbestos waste. Please contact your local disposal company for further instructions.

    For more information:

    E-mail: asbestos@pscleanair.org

    Phone: 206-689-4058

    For Surfacing material, there's the 3-5-7 rule, meaning 3 samples from less than 1,000 square feet area, 5 samples from 1,000 to 5,000 square feet area, and 7 samples from greater than 5,000 square feet area. For Thermal system material, with some exceptions, 3 samples should be taken for each homogeneous area.

    For Miscellaneous material, at least TWO samples should be taken from each homogeneous material and are REQUIRED by State and Federal Law. Recognition of Homogeneous Areas Homogeneous material means an area of surfacing material, thermal system insulation material or miscellaneous material that is uniform in color and texture. It should be pointed out that materials appear to be homogeneous and adjacent to each other may in fact have different contents in terms of asbestos, and only laboratory testing will decide whether they are really the same homogeneous area. Differentiation of Friable vs. Non friable A material that contains asbestos is friable if the material, when dry, may be crumbled, pulverized, or reduced to powder by hand pressure, and includes previously non-friable material after such previous nonfriable material becomes damaged to the extent that it meets the criteria as a friable material. THE BENEFITS OF HIRING AN INSPECTOR FROM PACIFIC NORTHWEST INSPECTIONS GROUP,LLC Our inspectors follows strict rules as required BY current regulations, so that there's no short-cut to the Standard AHERA Inspection Procedures. We will take enough samples depending on the type and size of the material as required by law, so your liablity to LNI meets all requirements.

    We have the quickest response among our inspectors, and they provide the homeowner / contractors hiring them the prompt testing results and reports. It's possible for us to provide our clients with the fast results, because our samples are analyzed in in a local laboratory, unlike in many cases the samples have to be sent out by the inspector to a outside lab such as ours for the sample testing. Many regulatory bodies required the samples to be analyzed by an accredited laboratory, so that the results are trust-worthy. Our lab carries the highest form of accreditation, the EPA approved NVLAP Accreditation's and is local for fast response time. Call us 425.608.9553 - Testing for Asbestos for Residential and Commercial buildings. Testing Asbestos requires State Certification in the State of Washington.