Asbestos Demolition & Removal

What is Asbestos?

Asbestos is a group of six naturally-occurring silicate minerals, including serpentine (or chrysotile), riebeckite (crocidolite), cummingtonite-gunerite (amosite), anthophyllite, actinolite or tremolite. These minerals have been actively mined for their physical properties such as their resistance to heat, electrical and chemical damage, sound absorption and tensile strength; thereby making their applicability widespread throughout various industries such as manufacturing and primarily in building construction for its flame retardant and insulating properties.

Health Hazards

The inhalation of asbestos fibers can cause serious illnesses that are strongly associated with exposure to asbestos.  Airborne asbestos fibers are a significant health threat because asbestos fibers are microscopic and invisible to the unaided eye. In addition, they have the physical characteristics to bypass the ability of the human lung to filter air contaminants. As a result, exposure to asbestos allow the fibers to reach deep within the lungs, and may irritate and scar lung tissues. Long-term chronic and acute exposure to asbestos fibers may cause respiratory diseases such as lung cancer, asbestosis and mesothelioma.

Asbestos containing materials become a health hazard once they are disturbed.  Intact, asbestos fibers imbedded within construction materials and components are inert and do not pose a health hazard; however, once they are disturbed, through physical contact or building renovation and demolition activities, asbestos fibers may be rendered airborne.

AQMD Rule 1403

AQMD Rule 1403 (PDF), adopted by the SCAQMD on October 6, 1989, establishes Survey Requirements (PDF, 30kb), notification (PDF, 809kb) and work practice requirements to prevent asbestos emissions from emanating during building renovation and demolition activities. 

Asbestos is a carcinogen and is categorized as a hazardous air pollutant by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  As such, SCAQMD Rule 1403 incorporates the requirements of the federal asbestos requirements found in National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP)Link to external website. found in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Title 40, Part 61, Subpart M.

The EPA delegated to SCAQMD the authority to enforce the federal asbestos NESHAP and the SCAQMD is the local enforcement authority for asbestos.

Regulations:

Useful Links:

Home-Owner

Per SCAQMD Rule 1403 (PDF)(j)(9): "The provisions of this rule shall not apply to an owner-occupant of a residential single-unit dwelling who personally conducts a renovation activity at that dwelling."

The above exemption applies only to a home owner that personally resides in his house or single family home.  Apartment buildings, townhouses, condominiums, houses that are used for as a rental or lease business/offices are not “residential single-unit dwellings.” An “owner-occupant” is a house-owner that personally resides in the house that is being renovated.

A home-owner qualifies for this exemption if:

  1. The house is not used as rental property or business
  2. The house is not vacant
  3. The home-owner currently resides in the house
  4. The home-owner's name is on the house deed of trust, and
  5. The home-owner personally performs the renovation - not laborers, friends or family members.

AQMD does not recommend a home-owner to perform an asbestos removal due to potential asbestos exposure and/or cross contamination.

However, any and all asbestos containing waste materials (ACWMs) deposited outside of a home-owner's house as a direct result of any renovation and/or demolition activity performed at this house is subject to all the applicable Rule 1403 (PDF) requirements for handling, storing and disposing asbestos waste.

Filing an Asbestos-Related Complaint

If you are concerned with possible asbestos-related hazards as a result of a renovation, remodeling, asbestos removal or demolition activity of a building or structure, you can file a complaint using SCAQMD’s online Complaints system or by contacting SCAQMD at:

800-CUT-SMOG (288-7664)

All complaints are considered confidential and are assigned and promptly investigated by field inspectors within 24-hours.  Follow-up contact is made by the investigating inspector upon completion of the complaint investigation.

If you are concerned about possible asbestos-related hazards related to your job-site or workplace, you can file a complaint with Cal/OSHALink to external website..

 

Asbestos Survey Report Requirements

To prevent the disturbance of asbestos containing materials (ACM) during building demolition and renovation activities, the SCAQMD asbestos Rule 1403 (PDF)(d)(1)(A) and the asbestos federal regulation 40 CFR Part 763 - AsbestosLink to external website. require a PRIOR Asbestos Survey of a facility and its components performed by a Cal/OSHA Certified Asbestos ConsultantsLink to external website. (CAC).

For building demolition it is required that the CAC perform a thorough and comprehensive site inspection and survey of all the construction materials, including the building site foundations, underground utilities, and potentially inaccessible and hidden materials; and to document the inspection findings and results in a formal Asbestos Survey Report.  For building demolition a limited Asbestos Survey Report DOES NOT satisfy the Rule 1403 (PDF)(d)(1)(A) requirements.

For building renovation, the inspection and Asbestos Survey Report is limited to the affected construction materials that may be disturbed by the renovation.

The purpose of the Asbestos Survey Report is to document and certify which building construction materials DO NOTcontain asbestos.  At the same time the survey report is used to identify and quantify the ACM required to be removed prior to a facility demolition or renovation activity that may disturb the ACM, so that neither of these activities release asbestos fibers to the ambient air.

The Asbestos Survey Report requirements in Rule 1403 (PDF)(d)(1)(A) also apply to asbestos inspections and surveys performed at asbestos storage facilities, asbestos waste disposal sites, and at any site affected by an associated disturbance of asbestos containing material(s).  An Asbestos Survey Report for an associated disturbance of asbestos must include:

  • A site asbestos contamination assessment that documents the methods for determining the nature, extent and levels of existing asbestos contamination
  • Include the CAC recommendations based on the extent and levels of the site contamination, and
  • Provide adequate and appropriate remedial actions.

A site Asbestos Survey Report must meet all the requirements of Rule 1403 (PDF)(d)(1)(A) and the federal requirements of 40 CFR Part 763 - AsbestosLink to external website..  See the Survey Requirements (PDF, 30kb) checklist.  An adequate Asbestos Survey Report should include the following information:

  • Scope of the survey,
  • Who requested the survey,
  • Provides a description of the facility, building or site being surveyed,
  • The date and time of the inspection(s),
  • The person’s name and qualifications performing the inspection and sampling,
  • The inspection(s) results,
  • The assessment results, and
  • The CAC’s findings and response action recommendations.

The Asbestos Survey Report must identify all the suspect building materials containing asbestos that were confirmed NOT to contain asbestos, and also include a separate results table summarizing and listing all the suspect materials that tested positive for asbestos.  The results table that lists the materials that tested positive for asbestos must include the following assessments of the materials containing asbestos:

  • Description,
  • Location,
  • Quantities (amounts) in square feet,
  • Condition,
  • Percent asbestos content, and a
  • Statement whether each material is friable or non-friable.

The Asbestos Survey Report must include CAC’s statements that confirm in writing that the sampling method, lab qualifications, lab analytical procedures, and lab method of analysis were performed in compliance with Rule 1403 (PDF)(d)(1)(A) and 40 CFR Part 763 - AsbestosLink to external website. requirements.  Also the Asbestos Survey Report must include the following attachments to substantiate the report:

  • A sample chain of custody that provides a traceable origin and handling of all the samples,
  • A copy of the laboratory analysis sample results,
  • A diagram identifying the sampling locations,
  • Photographs as needed, and
  • Any other relevant data.

Cal/OSHA Certified Asbestos ConsultantsLink to external website. wet signature is required to certify that the content and information in the Asbestos Survey Report is true and correct.

Asbestos Survey Reports are required to be prepared by trained certified professionals without a conflict of interest in the demolition(s) or renovation project(s).  See the Business and Professions CodeLink to external website. 7180 (BP7180).  In California only Cal/OSHA Certified Asbestos ConsultantsLink to external website. are allowed to perform building asbestos surveys and sign Asbestos Survey Reports.  CACs performing asbestos surveys in the SCAQMD air basin are subject to Rule 1403 requirements as site operators.  As part of the Cal-OSHA certification CACs are also authorized to prepare plan design, Rule 1403 Procedure 4 plans for dry removals, and Procedure-5 Clean-Up Plan(s) (PDF, 99kb) for remediating associated disturbances of ACM.

Useful CAC Links:

Contractor

Per AQMD Rule 1403 (PDF)(a) "The purpose of this rule is to specify work practice requirements to limit asbestos emissions from building demolition and renovation activities, including the removal and associated disturbance of asbestos-containing materials (ACM)."

Whether you are a general contractor, subcontractor or asbestos abatement contractor, AQMD Rule 1403 (PDF) is applicable to you if you perform any renovation and/or demolition activity, any clean-up of associated disturbance of asbestos containing materials, own/operate any asbestos storage facility, or own/operate any asbestos waste disposal site.  As the site operator, you are subject to Rule 1403 requirements for the survey, notification, asbestos removal procedures, the handling and the disposal of ACM.

Prior to performing any building renovation and/or demolition activities within the South Coast basin, all contractors are required by Rule 1403 to have the following:

Useful Contractor Links:

 


 

Fire, Earthquakes, Emergencies and Asbestos

After a major fire or earthquake, many buildings will require debris removal or demolition.  Be aware that buildings constructed prior to 1984 may have asbestos-containing materials (ACM).  Even buildings constructed after 1984 can contain some asbestos.  Materials that may contain asbestos include roofs, floor tiles, acoustic ceilings, insulation, sound proofing, cement pipes, heating ducts, pipe coverings and others. After a sudden unexpected event where houses, buildings and structures have collapsed and a site clean-up is required, house-owners and contractors must adhere to the requirements of Rule 1403 (PDF) for Emergency Renovations and Demolitions.

Per Rule 1403 (PDF)(c)(14):
"EMERGENCY DEMOLITION is a demolition ordered by a governmental agency for the purpose of eliminating peril to the safety of persons, property or the environment resulting from hazards such as collapse, fire, crime, disease, or toxic contamination or other hazard as determined by the Executive Officer".

Also per Rule 1403 (PDF)(c)(15):
"EMERGENCY RENOVATION is any renovation that was not planned and results from a sudden unexpected event that results in unsafe conditions. Such events include, but are not limited to, renovations necessitated by non-routine failures of equipment, earthquake or fire damage. An economic burden alone, without a sudden, unexpected event, does not give rise to conditions that meet this definition."

As the owner or operator of any demolition or renovation activity at a house, building or structure that has been damaged due to a sudden unexpected event, you are still required to perform a prior asbestos survey and submit the Emergency Demolition and/or Renovation notifications (PDF, 641kb) in accordance to paragraphs (d)(1)(B)(iii) & (iv) of Rule 1403 (PDF) as soon as possible.

Submit a Procedure-5 Clean-Up Plan (PDF, 181kb) for any clean-up of disturbed asbestos containing materials at sites that can’t be surveyed due to safety concerns, or any Demolition or Renovation activity where the asbestos containing materials can’t be removed prior to the Demolition or Renovation activity.

  • State Declared Emergencies (fires, earthquakes,...) (DOC, 33kb)
  • Updated SCAQMD Executive Orders: Suspension of selected SCAQMD rules for activities related to August - September, 2009 wildfires (asbestos notification and fees, portable internal combustion engines and mobile refuelers)