Asbestos Project Design



Integral to abatement project design are considerations for removals, encapsulation, enclosure and continuing operations and maintenance. Operations and maintenance are a required part of any management plan that allows non-hazardous asbestos to remain in place.


If damaged or potentially hazardous asbestos cannot be restored to a completely safe condition, the project designer may be limited to planning removal of the asbestos material. Advance planning will aid in identifying other project activities or future modifications that may otherwise safely restore asbestos. Although some asbestos materials may be satisfactorily restored, initial removal may be an alternative to additional concern and expense if other project activities will disturb the asbestos.


AHERA sets forth a method for prioritizing abatement activities, wherein friable materials that are in “poor” condition are slated for immediate attention, and non-friable materials in “good” condition are placed in an O&M program. Often, materials in “fair” condition are grouped with poor materials for purposes of removal. This occurs most often in conjunction with renovation activities. The process of prioritizing abatement activities, based on the inspector’s information is assigned to the management planner. AHERA provides a “state of the art” standard for asbestos practices, including assessment of the condition of materials and prioritizing response actions. When such decisions need to be made in a non-school setting, the AHERA method is advisable.


Asbestos abatement is an integral part of renovation activities; especially since both State and Federal standards necessitate an asbestos survey when demolition or activities that disturb asbestos in renovation occur. The asbestos abatement process becomes a component of the renovation activity, and, as such, the asbestos contractor is one of several trades involved in the renovation project. Abatement typically occurs in advance of renovation activities, although there are many instances where abatement may be occurring in one portion of a building while renovations take place in another.


USOSHA and NYSDOL both require notification to other contractors when abatement occurs as part of renovation. NYSDOL requires advance notification, USOSHA requires disclosure of final sir sampling results to those who shall occupy a space after abatement has occurred.









Asbestos removal must be planned and conducted in rigorous detail.  Asbestos removal requires the complete and total removal of all asbestos material and control of all asbestos fibers that may be released as a result of the abatement work.  Asbestos removal is not considered complete until the surfaces from which the material was removed is inspected and sealed to prevent the movement of any stray fibers.  Asbestos materials in good condition or that have been restored to a safe condition may be encapsulated to prevent the potential release of fibers to the environment.  Encapsulation is intended to permanently seal asbestos materials that are in good condition.  Once asbestos material is sealed with encapsulant, the ongoing operation and maintenance schedule must be considered.  The O&M Plan must include scheduled visual inspections of sealed material and direction for appropriate repairs, if needed.  All repairs to encapsulated material must be performed by certified asbestos individuals.

Common encapsulants may include special (heavy duty) paint, sprayed plastics and foam, special fabrics, and fiberglass.  A particular type of encapsulant may be chosen for reasons relating to performance.  The type of encapsulant selected must be compatible with surrounding construction materials and at no time, offer less than required protection against asbestos fiber movement.

Objects such as pipes that are enveloped with asbestos may be encapsulated with greater assurance than objects with planar or discontinuous surfaces.  Pipes, in most cases, can be sealed with the encapsulant surrounding the entire surface.  An encapsulant can not surround the entire surface of wall-like structures.  In any case, the encapsulant must be soundly anchored, either by adhesion or by mechanical methods, to assure it remains in place.

An alternative to encapsulating asbestos in good condition is to enclose the space the asbestos is located in with an air-tight covering.  Construction materials used to construct the enclosure may be any material that seals the asbestos air tight.  The enclosure must also prevent disturbance or damage to the asbestos.  Enclosure is intended to perform the same function as encapsulation.  The difference between enclosure and encapsulation is that enclosure materials are not necessarily in contact with asbestos.  A common material for asbestos enclosure is drywall or gypsum board.  Wallboards of this type provide a durable air-tight enclosure.

Building and project site occupants must be made aware that asbestos enclosures may not be removed or modified in any way without specific authoritative direction.  Enclosures should never be constructed that would cover electrical or mechanical systems or interfere with emergency exits.







A.  Planning Process


    1. The process of planning an asbestos abatement project is one of the most crucial parts of the project. Careful planning will result in a safer and more efficient abatement project. It will be necessary to gather information from a variety of individuals who have knowledge of the building to be abated. The asbestos project team could also include the following individuals:


a.    Building Owner or Building Owner Representative

b.    LEA “designated person” (School Buildings)

c.     The original Building Architect

d.    Facilities Manager or Maintenance Director

e.    Architects/Engineers/Industrial Hygienists/CEH

f.     Air Monitoring Technicians

g.    Analytical Laboratories
h.    Abatement Workers

I.    Government/Regulatory Representatives/Inspectors


  1. Although the building have some similarities in building systems, every building and every project should be approached as a unique project.


  1. The purpose of the pre-planning process is to collect all relevant and available information about the building to be abated. The project designer should carefully review the contract specifications to determine the exact scope of the work. Review of all available drawings and specifications will provide valuable information in the planning process. It is also advisable to speak with the building owner and director of facilities and/or maintenance director to ask specific questions regarding the building to be abated.


  1. Review of the site plans will provide the contractor/supervisor-with an overall perspective of the building and adjoining properties, the location of the building, grading and drainage locations.


  1. The project designer will gather valuable information by carefully
    reviewing all available plans, specifications, addenda, change orders, “as built” drawings, renovation drawings and other building documents.


  1. A review of any previous environmental or asbestos inspection reports

will provide a guideline for planning the asbestos project. However, the

project designer should not rely solely on the previous inspection reports.

All results from the previous inspection or previous abatement should be

verified prior to commencing abatement.

  1. The floor plans will provide the project designer with an organized method for locating and documenting suspect materials and miscellaneous materials.  This information can assist in the calculation of time, materials and staffing needs.


  1. Previous abatement records can provide information to assist the project designer in identifying suspect materials and planning the abatement project.  All information from previous abatement projects should be verified.


  1. The following information should be gathered prior to accepting a bid and/or beginning of asbestos abatement projects:


  1. Overall scope of the project
  2. The number of areas to be abated (Project size)
  3. Square footage by area and total square footage
  4. Dates of construction
  5. Review of drawing, specification, as-built, change orders, contract documents, floor plans, etc.
  6. Details on any additions or renovations since the original construction
  7. Building use and occupancy
  8. Details on the building systems
  9. Information regarding any previous asbestos abatement projects, including prior removal, encapsulation, enclosure or patch and repair projects
  10. Building access points
  11. Any known environmental hazards
  12. Review of any previous asbestos inspections or environmental audit reports
  13. Availability of equipment and personnel for execution of the abatement project
  14. Review of the insurance coverage
  15. Electrical and water supplies


  1. The importance of careful planning and development of a systematic approach to the asbestos abatement project cannot be overemphasized.  A well organized and pre-planned asbestos abatement project will result in a more accurate and efficient project completion.



  1. After all available documents and plans have been reviewed and other supporting data has been gathered, the project designer should arrange to walk through the entire abatement area and other relevant parts of the building and take detailed notes on the type of material, access points, building systems, mechanical areas, possible hazards and location of crawl space, pipe chases and tunnels.  In addition, the project designer should identify types of suspect materials and location for air monitoring and negative filtration systems and appropriate respiratory protection.


  1. A homogeneous area is an area which contains material that is uniform in texture and appearance.  It is possible for several types of homogeneous areas to be found in a single functional space.  A homogeneous area for a particular type of ACM can be a portion of a room, a room, multiple rooms, a floor or an entire building. The homogeneous areas are generally used to design abatement projects.


  1. The pre-abatement planning process will proceed smoothly if the project designer has carefully gathered all available data on the building and has taken careful notes during the building walkthrough.  At this point the contractor/supervisor can begin to assimilate the information and design the actual abatement project.  The first step is to delineate and identify the spaces within the building to be abated and begin designing the work enclosure.


  1. The project designer should identify and organize the spaces within the building to be abated.  There are a variety of methods for organizing and documenting the abatement areas within a building or the work area(s) to determine the size of the project and determine if any variances may be used.  A diagram approximately to scale should be developed, or obtained from the building owner or architect.


  1. After the diagram is prepared and project specifications have been determined, a concise summary of each area should be developed.  This summary should include a description of the project, project size, equipment, supplies, personnel and other items for the actual asbestos project.


  1. The project designer must consider all issues when planning the project and deciding on the most appropriate response action (eg, removal, encapsulation, enclosure).  Determination of the frequency of contact, influence of vibration or potential for air erosion must be considered.  Additional issues to be assessed in the pre-planning stage are:


  1. Friable ACBM in an area regularly used by building occupants, including maintenance personnel in the course of normal activities.  Determination of the approach for informing building occupants must be developed.


  1. There are indications that there is a reasonable likelihood that the materials or its covering will become damaged, deteriorated, or delaminated due to factors such as changes in building use, alterations in the operations and maintenance program or recurrent appropriate abatement approach and subsequent operations and maintenance programs.


  1. Additional factors to consider during the pre-planning  stage are:


  1. Air plenum and air flow/return
  2. Friability of the asbestos and location of ACM
  3. Type of activity and amount of movement within the area of ACM
  4. General condition of the material
  5. Water damage or potential for water damage
  6. Accessibility of ACM to the building occupants
  7. Present or planned operations and maintenance programs


  1. Planning the actual physical asbestos abatement is an integral part of the project designer responsibilities.  The following is a quick checklist of issues the project designer should address prior to beginning an asbestos abatement project.










  1. Building walk through
  2. Review of building plans, architectural drawings etc.
  3. Meetings with building owner, LEA, maintenance personnel, etc.
  4. Check analytical results of bulk sampling
  5. Review previous building inspection and environmental audits
  6. Inspect the condition of the asbestos containing product to be abated
  7. Check the accessibility of the building systems for electrical power, water, etc.
  8. Check the proposed worksite for any barriers to isolating the work area
  9. Determine the accessibility of the building occupants to the work area
  10. Determine the volume and air movements within the work area
    1. Determine which objects will be removed and how stationary objects will be
    2. Review of job specification and contract specification
    3. Determine the chain of custody for disposal of asbestos containing waste


  1. Documentation of all pre-existing damage to the work area
    1. Determine the anticipated temperature of the worksite and plan alternative approached to deal with these factors
    2. Discuss site security and storage of equipment and vehicles
    3. Develop time and materials budget
    4. Design of work enclosures and decontamination units
    5. Identification of “hot surfaces” or other hazards within the worksite
    6. Determination of replacement materials as needed
      1. Determination of respiratory protection and protective clothing for workers and visitors
      2. Identification of air monitoring firm, laboratories for area and personal sampling and analysis
      3. Documentation of insurance policies from all parties involved in the asbestos abatement project