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. In NYC asbestos testing companies file their results with DEP, Department of Environmental Protection. Architects must include a copy of these documents with their submission when filing with the Department of Buildings.
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 prior to 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 can 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 is an example of work that can require asbestos testing. We have another post if you want to read more about removing a partition wall in NYC.
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.
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. Only laboratory testing can determine the presence of asbestos. 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.
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This post was written by Jorge Fontan AIA a Registered Architect and owner of New York City architecture firm Fontan Architecture. Jorge Fontan has earned 3 degrees in the study of architecture including two degrees from the City University of New York and a Masters Degree in Advanced Architectural Design from Columbia University. Jorge has a background in construction and has been practicing architecture for 15 years where he has designed renovations and new developments of various building types.