Asbestos / Mold / Lead
Asbestos is perhaps the best known hazardous material in the U.S. It is a known human carcinogen and cause of diseases directly related to excessive exposure. More than 10,000 people in the U.S. die from asbestos related diseases per year.
Though human exposure to mold has been documented throughout human history, it has become an increasing concern over the last decade. The ubiquitous use of cellulose containing materials (i.e., drywall, wood baseboards wood studs, etc.) in buildings over the last few decades has led to our buildings becoming what might be called mold sandwiches. Just add water and the mold flourishes. Though many of the reports of adverse symptoms from elevated mold exposure have likely been sensationalized by the media it is commonly accepted that individuals who are allergic or otherwise sensitive to mold will likely have adverse reactions to overexposure.
Lead is commonly found in old paint and other products. It is known to cause developmental heath impacts to children and has other health concerns to adults. As a result, it is important that building owners and employers handle it appropriately to prevent occupant and employee exposure.
When present in occupied buildings or buildings to be demolished or renovated these hazardous materials may result in hazardous exposures to occupants, neighbors, and/or the environment. Converse assists in reducing or preventing these exposures through services that include initial assessments, management in-place, abatement project design, abatement oversight, and abatement effectiveness assurance (clearance).
Converse has numerous licensed asbestos inspectors and lead based paint risk assessors / inspectors. Having this background has also been very valuable in developing methods for mold assessments which is an issue not yet regulated. The assessment includes visual evaluations by trained personnel who identify the presence of these materials as well as their condition. If necessary as in the case of suspect asbestos and lead containing paint, samples are collected using appropriate regulatory and guideline methods. Upon completion of the assessment phase the risks posed by the hazardous materials are evaluated and appropriate recommendations are made.
Property transactions - during the assessment of properties for potential environmental, health and safety liabilities for the buyer or lender Converse provides evaluation services using ASTM standard practices for asbestos and mold. Lead assessments typically follow HUD guidelines.
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If management in-place is determined to be the best option for controlling the hazards of asbestos lead or even mold, then Converse can provide plans and methods for the prevention of exposure to the hazards associated with these materials including employee training, regular inspections, emergency spill procedures, preventative maintenance, etc.
Abatement Project Design
Converse has various licensed asbestos project designers who can prepare plans and specifications for the abatement of asbestos. These skills can be used for the design of lead and mold abatement projects as well. Proper project design can help assure cost effective abatement with a significant reduction of problems which usually accompanies proper planning of construction projects.
As the owners representative, Converse can evaluate and document that abatement procedures for asbestos, lead and mold are completed per the design specifications and in general compliance with industry and regulatory standards. Monitoring the contractors work practices and tracking the project schedule and scope of work leads to better adherence to the project specifications, less likelihood for change orders and lower overall liability for the project owner.
At the conclusion of the asbestos, mold or lead abatement project it is important (required for asbestos by regulations) to have a third party assess the abatement area for abatement effectiveness. This is done first of all by a visual assessment. If visible contamination remains, Converse requires further abatement or cleaning before continuing with the clearance. Converse utilizes the ASTM standard for visible assessment for asbestos which we adapt for mold and lead. After visible clearance is achieved the abatement areas are typically sampled. The air is sampled in the case of asbestos and mold under aggressive air movement conditions. Lead projects are typically cleared by wipe sampling or surfaces. When the abated area meets clearance criteria, whether regulatory or guidance driven, the area is designated as being acceptable for re-occupancy and a report documenting the service is provided. This document can be very useful especially for mold abatement when the seller of the property discloses past mold problems and allay the
buyer's concerns by producing a report documenting the proper abatement of the hazards.