NYC Asbestos Testing for renovations

Asbestos Testing Regulations NYC

(Last Updated On: June 2, 2019)

Alterations in buildings built before April 1st 1987 in New York City require asbestos testing before you can get approval from the NYC DOB for a work permit application.


Asbestos Testing in NYC

Asbestos was a popular fire proofing material used in construction that can lead to serious and potentially deadly health problems when inhaled. When renovating an existing building one must test for asbestos to ensure the safety of the workers and anyone exposed. In New York City, you will test buildings built before April 1st 1987 for asbestos before any permits can be issued. Even minor alterations require asbestos testing.

Asbestos testing before building renovations or demolition saves lives and should always be taken seriously. If you are planning a renovation please check your local regulations; they may differ from the information in this post. The information provided here is based on New York City Asbestos regulations for Asbestos Testing and Management.


NYC Asbestos Regulations

Asbestos Testing for Renovations & Demolitions

As per NYC BUILDINGS BULLETIN 2009-031, buildings built after April 1, 1987 are exempt from asbestos testing. NYC buildings built before April 1, 1987 require asbestos testing, even if the renovations are minor. Asbestos is harmful when its fibers or asbestos dust is released into the air and inhaled, potentially leading to serious health problems. For example, when a construction worker hits a wall with a sledge hammer, asbestos particles will be released into the air. The asbestos testing company will file the test results with the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).

In NYC opening a wall or removing a partition wall is an example of work that can require asbestos testing.


Asbestos Testing NYC

Who Tests For Asbestos?

A licensed professional handles asbestos testing. Someone will visit the job site to take small samples from materials where asbestos can be found. An inspector will take samples from areas that will be disturbed during the proposed work. A laboratory test will determine if there is asbestos present.

If there is no asbestos, the agency who performed the sampling and testing will file an ACP5. An ACP5 is indicates that there is no asbestos present. As an architect I would then include the ACP5 in my application to the department of buildings in order to proceed with getting approvals and a permit. If you would like to read more about the process you can see another post we wrote on filing for a work permit with NYC DOB.

Asbestos Abatement 

If there is asbestos, the testing agency will file paperwork for asbestos abatement (removal of the asbestos). You will need to hire a contractor licensed in asbestos abatement. A third party air monitoring agency will then verify that the asbestos was removed properly and that the air is safe to breathe. When the asbestos abatement is completed, an application can be filed with the Department of Buildings in order to get a permit. Asbestos abatement will affect the cost of work so it is important to figure this out sooner rather than later.

Don’t Panic About Asbestos

Asbestos is very harmful but don’t panic about it. Always make sure to hire licensed professionals.  The presence of asbestos can only be determined through laboratory testing. Do not trust anyone who tells you that they know whether or not you have asbestos without performing a lab test.


NYC Asbestos Testing Regulations

As an architect I study the NYC codes and protocols closely. In this article we reviewed some of the basic issues with regards to Asbestos Regulations in NYC. This post does not assume to cover every possible issue or condition, but provide a general overview.


Thank You for reading our blog post on Requirements for Asbestos Testing in NYC.

Please feel free to leave questions or comments below. If you want to discuss a specific project with an architect you can Contact Fontan Architecture directly. We wish you the best of luck with your project.



  • Deb Pearl

    September 14, 2017 5:58 pm

    My husband and I recently bought an older home and we are planning on remodeling it. We didn’t think there could be any concerns, but someone mentioned we should probably have it checked for asbestos. That is good to know that there are licensed professionals who could test the house for us! We wouldn’t want to start unless we knew it was safe! Thanks for the tips!

  • Derek Dewitt

    March 20, 2018 12:39 pm

    My wife and I are wanting to remodel our bathroom soon, but we are worried there might be asbestos present. I like your point about hiring a licensed contractor to help remove the asbestos and make it safe to breathe. If we have any present in our house, we’ll definitely start looking for contractors once the sampling is done.

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